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North Korean concentration camps: This time we know... North Korean concentration camps: This time we know...
by Joseph Gatt
2008-02-02 09:39:57
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No one knows for sure how many North Koreans are in concentration camps. Some say that there are around 100,000 people, mostly Christians.

Witnesses have claimed that North Korea has been conducting experiments with gas chambers, but no one knows whether they are using them to exterminate people. Other witnesses claim that there are concentration camps where political opponents and Christians are detained. Their only crime was to “oppose” North Korean policies or to be a Christian. Families of defectors are also reportedly sent to concentration camps.

News of these concentration camps have spread around the world but has not caused the impact it should have caused. After the Holocaust, people said “never again”, but then again there was Cambodia, Rwanda and there is Darfur and North Korea. And each time, the international community did very little to stop those genocides from occurring.

Indeed, the international community was more worried about North Korea getting rid of its nuclear weapons than of its concentration camps. Had it put as much pressure on the country to close concentration camps as it had to close its nuclear facilities, how many innocent North Korean lives would have been saved?

Stories from concentration camps have reached a worldwide audience that seems to react to that by being indifferent. New-born babies' heads are crushed by officers working in concentration camps, families are sent to gas chambers to experiment how they would react, and apparently they react by sticking together and with parents trying desperately to save their children’s lives through mouth to mouth breathing. Summary executions are not uncommon.

One other fact that seems to have eluded people is that many of the detainees are Christians. Two-thirds of the Korean Christian population, around 25% of the total population, used to live in North Korea. Persecutions started in North Korea, which led to many fleeing to the South before the Korean War. People are sent to concentration camps just because of their religious beliefs. Just like the Holocaust.

There are several associations worldwide that denounce atrocities and human rights violations in North Korea, but it seems as though nothing can be done to stop the genocide. How many years will it take for concentration camp survivors to have people understand what they had been through? 30? 40 years? Never? The problem does not lie in understanding the horrors of concentration camps. It lies in the fact that there is a genocide that is happening, and something can be done about it.

I guess the reason concentration camp survivors write about their experiences is that they don’t want people to be put in concentration camps anymore. Now that we know that there still are people who are locked up in concentration camps, is there anything we can do about it? People can make their voices heard, and if governments managed to strip away the nuclear weapon from North Korea, I’m sure they can get them to free political and religious prisoners. Because this time, governments and people cannot say, “We didn’t know”.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-02-02 10:48:49

Surely the sociopath dictator of North Korea Kim Jung-il has it all rationalized in his deranged mind as to why Christians ought to be bashed, persecuted and locked in concentration camps for the crime of being Christians and believing in God and not a Spaghetti Monster of some kind. But then again, so did Stalin and Hitler, and so did Nero some two thousand years ago. In fact we have read about such advocacy in this very forum parading in the costume of cutting-edge progressive thinking. The emperors remain naked however.

Sand2008-02-02 12:57:44
Although it seems a stretch to believe that Hitler (who had pretty good relationships with German Catholics) and Stalin could have condemned The Spaghetti Monster, that Nero did is prime indication that whatever history you subscribe to is wildly inaccurate. I had heard that Cretan women had the delightful habit of leaving their breasts exposed but never that the emperors went unclothed, at least in public.

A.P.2008-02-02 15:28:17
Hadid: I'm afraid this can be the sign of another horrifying truth, which is: to the international community and those who demand nuclear facilities' end in particular, an asian life may be worth less than an european life.

by2008-02-02 21:05:37
The parable of the naked emperor by Hans Christian Anderson:


Sand2008-02-02 21:56:09
No, that was called "The Emperor's New Clothes" and had nothing to do with The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-02 23:41:59
Obviously Neromania is alive and well. A perceptive reader will immediately notice how the focus has been adroitly shifted form considerations of monsters of history such as Nero, Hitler, Stalin, King Jung-li persecuting Christians for the crime of being Christians to the Flying Spaghetti Monster of the FSM church to which Mr. Sand seems to belong. In the process there is an innuendo implied: that these unjustified persecutions by these sociopaths either did not take place at all, or that they were richly deserved. Also the scurrilous nexus between Nazism and Catholicism, one of the most nasty wmd with which juveniles bashing religion like to play.

Indeed, with old or new clothes, the emperor remains naked. See the link below for a proper historical account of emperor Nero’s egregious and criminal persecution of Christians. Indeed Akli, this time we know, but it is perhaps wiser to begin with identifying the bashers of Christians those among us.


Sand2008-02-03 05:31:00
The only Christian being bashed here is Hans Christian Anderson who's naked emperor seems to be stumbling hopelessly through the confused wreckage of history stubbing his toe on neglected facts evoked by Paparella's grotesque imagination, a form shifting monster that denies the realities of the many, if not friendly, at least generously tolerant gestures between Hitler and his thugs with the Catholic church. These relationships are well established in many respected accounts of the era and the Hitler technique of the big lie in denying them is totally ineffective.
Insofar as Nero is concerned, to get emotional over events two millenniums ago is in the same category as the Shiites and the Sunnis chopping each other up over centuries old disagreements. There are current horrors much more worthy of our attention.

Sand2008-02-03 05:40:19
Paparella, his nose in the past
Assumes his words have a blast.
But, though he won't stop,
They just feebly pop,
Leaving him hopeless, aghast.

Sand2008-02-03 06:24:30
The Catholic Church, like a cat,
Indulges in its requiescat.
It covers its dung
That its sins be unsung
And the hope that that will be that.

Akli Hadid2008-02-03 15:39:38
Whether it's Christians or political prisoners, after the horrors of Genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda or Europe in the 20th century, and all the coverage and research that has been done about those topics, humanity has failed to prevent industrial massacres from occurring. Something should be done about NK and Darfur. Otherwise we will wait for those massacres to take an end, and end up being accused of being Nazis because we did nothing while knowing that a genocide was being perpetrated.

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