I’ve heard about the political prisoner camps in North Korea, and I have the novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, on my always expanding reading wishlist. However, today Nick sent me a tweet from the journalist, John Dickerson, that has taken my concern about these camps to a whole new level. In many ways we are all helpless to do much for these people, but we CAN educate ourselves and we CAN demand that our politicians put this on our country’s foreign affairs agenda.
The following are links to more news and information, and after that, the text from the emails I just sent my Senators and Congressman.
"News of North Korea’s third testing of a nuclear weapon this week has brought increased attention to other ways that country is violating international human rights laws through its maintenance of horrific prison camps. Just today I saw drawings from one of the few inmates to have escaped from these camps, and I have been shaken to the core by what I have seen.
Seventy years ago when word began to spread of what the Nazis were doing to Jews and other prisoners in their concentration camps, the United States and other European nations were largely silent despite the accumulating evidence that these concentration camps were in actuality death camps. Unfortunately, too many chose to ignore the truth for too long. It was only after the fact, when our own strategic interests were directly implicated, that we took seriously the plight of the Nazi concentration camp prisoners. We continue to bear the guilt of our inaction. If today’s allegations about the human rights situation in North Korea are true, then the crimes being committed there are as horrific as any committed by the Nazis, and require immediate action to end them by any and all who have the means to do so.
I request that you immediately call upon the United States government to investigate these allegations, and if they are found credible, I ask that you demand for our government to take immediate steps to end these camps including re-listing North Korea a terrorist nation, and more importantly, pressuring the Chinese government to do anything and everything to close the camps and free the prisoners.
I understand these matters are complicated. I am not naive about the enormity of this request, however the continued existence of the North Korean prison camps and our unwillingness to yield whatever power we have to free these people is a stain on our collective conscious that soils whatever hopes we have as civilization, and turns our solemn promise to “never again” idly witness the monstrosity of another Auschwitz into nothing but a pretty lie.”