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Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Two Views of North Korea and one of the South

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary, as quoted in Rumsfeld brands NKorea 'evil' for starving its people:

...[P]eople in the North, repressed people to be sure, watch their children waste away, eat (tree) bark, as that evil regime spends huge sums on weapons.... One nation below the Demilitarized Zone emerged into the light (after the Korean War) and went on to develop institutions and freedom and infrastructure needed for the information age. The other nation has dwelt in poverty and darkness for five decades.

Dae Sik Yoo, the student body president of Kyung Hee University, as quoted in Uncle Sam Is Losing the War for Students in South: Fine Young Communists:

Kim Jong Il is an outstanding leader. No other country can stand up to the U.S. Only North Korea can.... Kim is just another leader and not a despot or a dictator. If he really is a dictator, the North Koreans wouldn't have tolerated that and overthrown him. They're not that brainwashed. They must see something in the system that's right.

German Human rights activist Norbert Vollertsen, who spent 18 months in Pyongyang working for Doctors Without Borders and once famously demoted his own skin for a North Korean burn victim, as quoted in the article immediately above:

The [South Korean] youth are quite interested in human rights issues in Iraq, racism in America. They're eager to do something and make changes. But when it comes to North Korea, they are so ignorant and uninformed of human rights violations. When I do college tours, it's quite shocking because first of all they don't want to believe my stories. When I showed them pictures of children starving, they thought the pictures were from Dachau or Auschwitz. They didn't want to believe it was in North Korea. They kept challenging me and saying, 'Are you sure they're starving and dying? Are you sure you're a doctor?