Skip to comments.Korean defectors tell of brutality, mind control
Posted on 12/25/2002 5:55:18 PM PST by Ranger
SEOUL, South Korea -- The first time he heard the name of North Korea's dictator without the reverential term "Dear Leader" in front of it, Lee Young-chul was stunned. He thinks he may have gone temporarily insane.
The teenage North Korean soldier had been transferred to a base near the border, within range of propaganda broadcasts from South Korean loudspeakers, and it was the first time he had heard a word of criticism about his leader, the boss of the world's last Stalinist state.
"It was unthinkable," he said. "We were outraged. We went crazy. We took our rifles, and we were ready to shoot."
From the day he was born, the young soldier had been taught that Kim Il-sung (the "Great Leader") and his son, the "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-il, were immortal gods from heaven.
Lee Young-chul gladly would have sacrificed his life for this monarch from heaven.
"I would have felt it was an honor to bring a nuclear weapon somewhere and blow it up," he said. "It would be an honor to die for your country. It would bring glory to your family. We were always taught that North Korea is the most powerful country in the world."
Not until a few months before his defection to South Korea this year, when he became embroiled in a dispute with his superiors and decided to cross the most heavily armed border on the planet, did the soldier finally question his blind loyalty.
While the world's attention is focused on Iraq, a much more desperate and brutal regime continues to produce a terrifying society of cult-like fanaticism and mind control. Interviews with the latest defectors from North Korea confirm that its totalitarian system of mass mobilization and thought control is as active as ever.
One told the chilling story of a relative who willingly gave up her life in a doomed bid to rescue a burning portrait of the "Dear Leader."
The relative was a 21-year-old soldier, and a fire had erupted at a propaganda center that contained portraits of the Dear Leader and Great Leader. She was one of nine people who rushed into the inferno to try to rescue the portraits. They all died. "All of them knew they would die if they went in, but they went in anyway," said the defector, who spoke on condition she not be named.
The former soldier and defector, Mr. Lee, who also did not want his real name used, said the regime is so paranoid that about half of the soldiers near the border are secret police.
"Nobody trusted each other," he said.
Chang Mi-ryung, a 29-year-old defector who arrived in South Korea this summer, said the regime forces everyone to attend a weekly 90-minute self-criticism session.
All are expected to explain their activities of the entire week, admit their mistakes, confess how they could have done better and snitch on the errors of others. All confessions are to be introduced with long quotations from the writings of the Great Leader and the Dear Leader.
In addition, twice a week, there are "ideological sessions" and lectures on the leaders' thoughts.
To ensure the weekly brainwashing sessions worked, the government operates random patrols and spot checks to monitor thinking. Students stop people in the streets to make sure they are wearing badges of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Police officers and postal workers burst into apartments unannounced to make sure nobody is watching Chinese television instead of North Korea's state television.
The mind-control techniques are backed by arrest, prison, torture and execution. Choi Miwha, the 30-year-old daughter of another recent defector, 62-year-old Kim Myung-ju, said she still suffers dizziness, headaches and memory loss from her imprisonment and torture in 1996, when she was suspected of helping Christian missionaries distribute food.
She said she was repeatedly kicked, beaten with chairs, deprived of food and grabbed by the head and banged against a wall. When finally she was released from prison, she was so weak she collapsed.
In the worst of the famine years, millions of North Koreans survived by eating grass, leaves, bark and whatever they could scrounge. The food shortages today are not much better. Rations are supposed to last three months, but they are enough for only 10 days, Kim said.
Isn't time for Patti Murray to regale her local students with a glowing assessment of the North Korea's wonderful infrastructure?
meanwhile, they want less american influences.
but they still expect us to buy their electronics and hyundai's and daiwoo-woo's.
I don't think anybody says that.
What "they" say is that you can't have a brutal absolute totalitarian regime with a modern economy.
Which is true.
#1 illustration: North Korea.
During the last cross border family reunion, some time back, the northerners were afraid to see their relatives in the south, lost to them since the war. When they did finally meet, they expressed shock that they in fact did not have HORNS and TAILS. The NK line is that all foriegners are demons, and the Koreans that fell under their sway were turned into demons by the 'evil imperialst agressors'.
50 years, folks. A mere fifty years, and their lives, history, and future are the product of an insane fairy tale. Portrait of a modern dictatorship.
Here's an interesting fact: At every North Korean grammar school, there is a stuffed man near the playground. He is dressed as an American soldier, and has a sign or is painted with the words 'U.S. soldier' in Korean. Whenever they enter or leave the school, they are required to strike the effigy, and curse it. This is allegedly so that the North Koreans never forget that America is to be hated above all else, for the suffering they caused in the war, and the evil they will do if they invade again.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, propaganda wise.
Well, if Hillary is ever elected president she will probably propose something similar for all Freepers. Of course, we won't submit.
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