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The Ghastly Hellhole of Camp 14 ^ | May 10, 2012 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 05/10/2012 4:49:39 AM PDT by Kaslin

SHIN DONG-HYUK grew up in North Korea's Camp 14, one of the monstrous slave-labor prison complexes in which the world's most tyrannical regime has crushed hundreds of thousands of its citizens, working them to death in conditions of excruciating brutality and degradation. Though the North Korean concentration camps have lasted far longer than their Soviet or Nazi counterparts did, Shin is the first person born and raised in one of them to have successfully escaped abroad. His story is told in journalist Blaine Harden's Escape from Camp 14, a heart-crushing reminder that man's inhumanity to man has no limit.

It is a book filled with harrowing passages. At the age of six, Shin was forced to watch as one of his classmates -- a short, slight, pretty girl -- was beaten to death by their teacher when he discovered five kernels of corn in her pocket. When Shin accidentally dropped a sewing machine while working at the camp's garment factory, half of his middle finger was chopped off as punishment. Time and again he sees other inmates maimed or killed when they are forced to work under appallingly dangerous conditions. And time and again he joins in collective punishment, unhesitatingly obeying when ordered to slap and beat a classmate or some other prisoner singled out for abuse and discipline.

When Shin was 14, he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother for attempting to escape. His dominant emotion as he watched them die was not sorrow, but anger: He was furious at what they had caused him to be put through. Because of their infraction, he had been savagely tortured, suspended in mid-air over a charcoal fire as interrogators demanded information about where his mother and brother were planning to flee after their escape.

"Shin, crazed with pain, smelling his burning flesh, twisted away from the heat," Harden writes. "One of the guards grabbed a gaff hook from the wall and pierced the boy in the lower abdomen, holding him over the fire until he lost consciousness."

North Korea's slave-labor gulag would be horrific even if its inmates were guilty of actual crimes. But most prisoners are guilty of nothing except being related to the wrong family.

Under a demented doctrine laid down by Kim Il Sung, the communist tyrant who founded North Korea, "enemies of class … must be eliminated through three generations." The regime therefore fills these unspeakable camps not only with "enemies" who dared to practice Christianity or failed to keep a picture of Kim properly dusted, but with their entire families, often including grandparents and grandchildren. Shin's father ended up in Camp 14 because two of his brothers had fled south during the Korean War. He and Shin's mother were assigned to each other by camp guards years later as prizes in a "reward" marriage. They were allowed to sleep together just five nights a year. Shin was thus conceived -- and spent the first 23 years of his life -- behind the electrified barbed wire of Kim's ghastly hellhole.

Harden's book is gripping and enlightening. Yet not even the most gifted writer can fully convey what it means to grow up in a Camp 14 -- a realm in which "love and mercy and family were words without meaning," in which betrayal was routine and compassion unknown. How does a human being overcome such damage? Grisly physical scars mark Shin's body, Harden writes, but there are severe psychological scars too. He struggles to show affection and to trust other people; to be capable of sympathy and sadness.

How could it be otherwise? After a lifetime of dehumanization and institutionalized cruelty, Shin can hardly be blamed if he wrestles with emotional paralysis.

But what excuse do we have? We who know what freedom and civilization mean, who live with law and justice and decency, who intone "Never Again" after accounts of genocide and holocaust -- how do we justify our emotional paralysis?

There is no cruelty so depraved that people cannot be induced to do it, or to look the other way while it is being done. Escape from Camp 14 reconfirms what we have known for years: North Korea's rulers brutalize their people with unparalleled and bloody barbarity. Why do we find it so easy to look the other way?

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: northkorea
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To: Kaslin

Never forget this type of evil lays just beneath the surface of every hard left progressive...

Remove the rule of law and replace with the rule of a single madman...

Depravity has no limits

Obama and his fellow travelers are well capabale of lowering themselves to this level to acheive their goals

51 posted on 05/10/2012 7:35:07 AM PDT by Popman (America is squandering its wealth on riotous living, war, and welfare.)
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To: Fiji Hill
MacArthur would have done the job had Truman allowed him to.

Yup. It's all explained here. (warning: language)

52 posted on 05/10/2012 7:38:19 AM PDT by whd23 (Every time a link is de-blogged an angel gets its wings.)
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To: Kaslin

[[ Under a demented doctrine laid down by Kim Il Sung, the communist tyrant who founded North Korea, “enemies of class … must be eliminated through three generations.” ]]

The left would do the same right -here-, if they could.

53 posted on 05/10/2012 7:49:02 AM PDT by Road Glide
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To: Popman

Obama and his fellow travelers are well capabale of lowering themselves to this level to acheive their goals

Anyone not believing this, google Bill Ayers and his solution for the American conservatives who wont bow down to communism.

54 posted on 05/10/2012 7:56:26 AM PDT by W. W. SMITH (Maybe the horse will learn to sing)
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To: X-spurt
Is it just me or do Asians seem to have a special penchant for brutality?

It's just you. The Germans, Russians, Turks, Romanians, Serbs, Croats, and dozens of other ethnicities are just as susceptible to it. We all are.

55 posted on 05/10/2012 8:03:58 AM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Kaslin
At the age of six, Shin was forced to watch as one of his classmates -- a short, slight, pretty girl -- was beaten to death by their teacher when he discovered five kernels of corn in her pocket.

I'm reminded of Chelsea Clinton's idiotic remark when visiting Africa that "we have poor people too." No, we don't have poor people like this.

56 posted on 05/10/2012 9:03:17 AM PDT by denydenydeny (Admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt one has for others.-Tocqueville)
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57 posted on 05/10/2012 9:20:36 AM PDT by RedMDer (
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To: Publius Valerius

We don’t do anything. Enable the people to overthrow the regime, then let SK give them aid and assistance to rebuild.

58 posted on 05/10/2012 9:34:30 AM PDT by majormaturity
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To: majormaturity

At any time NK can shell Seoul into oblivion. There’s no obvious solution.

59 posted on 05/10/2012 10:03:04 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas; Godzilla
There’s no obvious solution.

Godzilla has one!

60 posted on 05/10/2012 10:59:43 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Kaslin; All
C'mon now, this article can't be true, it must all be lies, after all would the Great Liberator George W. Bush have taken such a savage regime like North Korea OFF the list of terrorist supporting nations unless they had mended their ways?

[Fact: GWB did exactly that in late 2008]

We all know that after GWB essentially legitimized Kim Jong Il with that action, that North Korea returned to the (ahem, har har) 'Six Party Talks', we reached a negotiated settlement regarding Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, and Kim Jong Un is now our new 'Partner for Peace' in the Pacific.

Didn't anybody get the memo?
61 posted on 05/10/2012 11:43:01 AM PDT by mkjessup (Romney is to conservatism what Helen Thomas is to a high fashion model walkway.)
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To: capt B
62 posted on 05/10/2012 2:44:12 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: majormaturity
That which you've mentioned have much been on the record already. What needs to also be understood in that equation is:

1. The people will fight against any nation intervening...they are fully brainwashed to do so. I do not see enough numbers willing to take that stand...and surely were it so the people would have done so long mass.

2. China will oppose any intervention....they see N.Korea as a puffer Zone for their nation...they could care less about the people. And they certainly don't want to see a mass immigration into their country were war to ensue.

3. You have a population which has the mindset of the 50’s. all respects. Very few work skills if any which can adapt to todays technology. Nation building would be a monumental task to update the nation even to sustain itself with the basics...their entire infrastructure is completely shot....and you'd have to bring in skilled workers to even get it off the ground...and the people will revolt against that as well.

4. The S, Korean "people" are not desiring of a grand exodus into their country by people who willl immediately crash their welfare system. Take their jobs and the like. They know the changes must happen IN N.Korea...and not by war.

The obstacles are horrendous in helping a people who, for the most part, do not want help. The shock itself of seeing how they've been mis-lead and abused for well over 50 years would create un imaginable sorrow and a host of other emotional outrages...especially on why the nations didn't come to assist sooner. .....All the stories of those coming out have the same ring...mental adjustments are enormous, and often mental illnesses must be addressed.

Now I'm not saying it can't be done....but tell me in the economic climate of the world today what nations are going to come together to undertake such an endeavor? Well they just aren't going to do so. At least any time best N.Korea will be “contained” as much as possible until all the people are willing to rise....and they aren't there ....Yet.

BTW They've been dropping videos, cameras, leaflets, balloons, monies etc. for years order to inform the people....but be assured their is opposition and propaganda against that as well..and heavily so.

63 posted on 05/10/2012 8:58:35 PM PDT by caww
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To: majormaturity

One added thing....what would you do with these people who have lived, been born in, and known only torterous living for generations...the “norm” for them. Who haven’t a clus what normal day to day life requires....meaning they’ve not made decisions for themsleves....they don’t know how to. And this is a consistant problem just with those who come into S.Korea who have not been in the prisons. This is no small number of followes:

The number of prisoners held in the North Korean gulag is not known:..... one estimate is 200,000, held in 12 or more centres. ....Camp 22 is thought to hold 50,000.

Who is going to see to these people and the extensive reorientation that will take years for individuals to rehabilitate?

I’ve been watching N.Korea for several years now and more times than not been heartbroken for what they must endure.....nobody has a solution that can ‘rescue” them....they must find within themsleves the desire to be free.....and only God can move the hearts who will to rise up and take their country back to the people.

Look what we’re doing in our own country, and how many people are more than willing to let it slip away.....just for persepctive....and we are “free”.

64 posted on 05/10/2012 9:28:53 PM PDT by caww
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