Op-Ed: North Korea—It Might Not Be a Joke

Beatrix Rowland December 17, 2013 1
Op-Ed: North Korea—It Might Not Be a Joke

North Korea has been a growing threat to United States, and while many seem to find it to merely be a joke, it is a threat to the world as a growing nuclear power and as a huge violator of human rights.

In December Kim Jong Un executed his uncle, formally seen as the real power behind him after sending him to a reeducation camp. He also executed two of his personal aides for treason.

According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, North Korea launched a missile on Dec. 11, 2012, and again on Jan. 24, 2013.  North Korea declared further plans to launch more nuclear tests. North Korea is a growing nuclear threat and despite claiming that he would freeze all nuclear tests, since coming into power Kim Jong Un has not followed through on this promise.

Kim Jong Un. Should we start to take him seriously?

Yes. Ever since his father, Kim Jong Il’s death and Un’s ascension into power, he has been the butt of many jokes. Instead of appearing as a dictator with a couple of loose screws like his father, the world seems to view him as a spoiled child.

And while making fun of North Korea’s insane leaders seems to be all fun and games, the country has some of the highest human rights violations in the world. The U.N. estimates  that 150,000-200,000 political prisoners are held in concentration camps where they are forced into labor and risk beatings, torture, and execution. Despite all the urging to stop, North Korea continues abusing its people.

North Korea itself uses massive propaganda trying to disillusion their citizens; their official website even has a FAQ. One of the questions that they include is, ”Is North Korea poor?”

They respond by saying,“By international standards, DPRK citizens enjoy a very high standard of living.”  And what seems like a hilarious and ridiculous answer is a propaganda attempt to hide the horrible human treatment that happens in North Korea.

The people cannot leave—are forcibly separated from their families in South Korea. Are ruled by laws that seem silly and outdated but are oppressive, with the cost of breaking the laws deadly.

Yes, North Korea seems to act like a toddler attempting to convince the world of its greatness while just looking like it is throwing a tantrum. For example, Wikipedia suggests that North Korea once tried to invade South Korea by tunneling below a forest filled with land mines, trying to avoid the deadly jungle. But when caught with a banner inside the tunnel reading “Down with American Imperialists” they tried to convince everyone it was a coal mine. Despite finding upon inspection that there was no trace of coal in the tunnel just walls painted black in an attempt to fool people.

Yes. The thoroughly ridiculous and bumbling way in which North Korea handles conflict can be hilarious. But in all honesty, it is incredibly dangerous to deal with a toddler. A toddler with nuclear weapons no less. A toddler that has power over the lives and treatment of people.

Reasoning with a toddler when people’s lives are on the line isn’t actually all that funny.

Featured image source: 5newsonline.com

One Comment »

  1. Mr. In January 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Great article and loved how it ended. As a Korean, I appreciate the coverage on this – it’s a real set of issues in the global humanitarian economy and it’s more than a painful memory to Korean families everywhere – South Korea, the US, China, Russia, Germany, etc.

    There’s not a Korean out there that isn’t still affected by the Korean War (and ultimately, the split b/w North & South) – the pain still resides in all of us – especially when it comes to family.

    Thanks for putting this out there. =)

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