A Day in the Life of Kim Jong-un; or, the Situation in North Korea
Imagine being sent to prison by your country, with no trial, certainly tortured, starved, and eventually killed (or just dying from all that torture). You didn’t really do anything wrong, you were just like, yourself, with your own opinions and personal morals and beliefs. Sounds like the Holocaust, right? Maybe Stalin’s Gulag? Nope, it’s modern day North Korea.
We all know that North Korea and their “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-un, are totally bonkers-town crazy, and not just because he’s besties with Dennis Rodman. Last week the U.N. released their year long report on North Korean human rights violations, while the South and the North held family reunions for separated families (the first communication for most families since 1953). Oh yeah, and this Australian dude got arrested for basically saying he’s Christian while visiting the country.
How did this all start? What the eff is going on? And why are people starving when their leader is super chunky?
Where It All Went Wrong
Before World War II, Korea was a Japanese-occupied territory. After the war and the Japanese defeat, Korea was split in two, the North siding with Communist China and the South siding with democracy. Between 1945 and 1950, relations between the two countries deteriorated badly, leading to the Korean War. Thousands of anti-Communist northerners fled south, fearing persecution by the Communist government. When the war ended, so did all communication between the two countries and its people. The Kim family dictatorship took hold in the North, while a democratic system was set up in the South, aided by the United States.
A Current Holocaust
While the South flourished, the North sank deeper into despair. The Kim family held their rule over the country, creating a totalitarian state, sending people to prison camps (basically concentration camps) for the smallest of reasons—saying something against the Kim family, being accused by anyone of pretty much anything, or even being related to somebody that “breaks the law” will send you to prison. So like, breathing basically. As reported at the U.N. last week, former prisoners, who somehow managed to escape, reported senseless deaths; eating grass, snakes, and rats just to survive; and even dogs feeding off the recently dead. These sketches by a former prisoner pretty much say it all (warning: they are a little shocking). But life outside of the prison camps isn’t that much better. A famine killed thousands, and most people have no means of providing for their family since the state controls everything in your life, down to the food you can eat.
A Day in the Life of Kim Jong-un
The new “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-un, took after his father, Kim Jong-il, and grandfather, Kim Il-sung, both former dictators of North Korea, in both appearance and “governing” style (more like dictating style). Below is what a day in the life of Kim Jong-un is almost certainly like….
10 a.m.: Wake up. Have female housemaids slowly bathe the Dear Leader.
11 a.m.: Get a report on the number of deaths in the prison camps. Stress to the Generals that they need to get their numbers up if they’re going to get that gold watch as a holiday bonus.
12 p.m.: Play Wii Fit while eating a hoagie.
1:30 p.m.: Kill a member of the Kim family.
3 p.m.: Nap with the royal blankie.
5 p.m.: Instruct Generals to claim more insurance money so that the country can build up its economy.
5:30 p.m.: Say this about the family member just killed, “As our Party detected and purged the anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalists at an opportune time and with a correct decision, the Party and revolutionary ranks were further consolidated and our single-hearted unity solidified to the maximum.”
6 p.m.: Threaten nuclear war with South Korea or the United States, just for fun.
7 p.m.: Be fed.
8 p.m.: AIM with Dennis Rodman.
9 p.m.: Force Generals to play Dungeons & Dragons.
10 p.m.: Play North Korea’s version of “Hot or Not” called, “Live or Die.”
11 p.m.: Watch a little Netflix and go to sleep.
Zero communication has been allowed between separated families in the North and South since 1953. In 1985, the two countries agreed to hold sporadic reunions for families, pretty much whenever the North needed to soften its image or financial assistance. Some 22,000 people have taken part, with 71,000 South Koreans on the waiting list. Because reunions happen so sporadically (the first in 1985, the second in 2000, a couple in 2008, etc.), 3,800 people on the list die every year without ever seeing their families in the North again.
Why Doesn’t Someone Do Something?
Great question! It pretty much comes down to China. They refuse to take any action against North Korea, from imposing sanctions to a direct military response. In fact, they fuel 80% of North Korea’s imports. You see, if Communist North Korea falls, then Communism is tarnished, thus hurting the image of Communist China. Not to mention that China wants to avoid any form of liberation for the North Korean people because of the almost certain massive influx of refugees that would flood through the 800-mile border the two countries share. So what about the United States? Even though relations with China have been murky, the U.S. is going to do anything it can to avoid messing with China considering how much money they’ve loaned to the United States.
So there you have it, it all comes down to image and money. Which, in this modern global economy, isn’t too surprising. But try telling that to the mother that was just forced by a guard to drown her newborn baby in a prison camp that the only reason why her baby is dead is because China wants to save face and the U.S. is in debt.
Are you following the human rights situation in North Korea?