A sad reality


Luke Todd Hammett, Senior Staff Writer

As most of us have heard, North Korea isn’t exactly the Utopian society that they want us to believe that it is. Crazed leader Kim Jong Un denies existence of problems within his borders, aying its propaganda used to slander the state of North Korea.

Amongst the famine and widespread fear propagation there is one thing that sticks out; the use of labor camps as punishments for crimes all kinds.

In North Korea over a hundred thousand people are interned in labor camps all over North Korea and hidden away in Northern Russia.

People who commit even the most tiny infraction against the Korean government are found guilty and sent away. For example, if someone is caught gossiping or slandering the government or governmental leaders, they can be found guilty and sent to a camp for over a decade.

Not only do citizens and people in general in North Korea have to worry about getting themselves in trouble, the government can also ban multiple generations of a family to forced hard labor for a lifetime.

In North Korea it doesn’t take much to be sent to a camp. Things like stealing and murder are sure-fire ways to be sent. But at the same time, simply talking bad about the government or even not showing enough cheer to the leader is a criminal offense.

Of course North Korean government officials deny all of this and say there’s no need for camps in a perfect society like theirs. Using satellite imagery and hearing hundreds of accounts, it is confirmed that there are, in fact, camps.

Accounts from camp survivors say that their families were enslaved alongside them and were forced to work. Young children and babies not useful or fit to work were often killed in gruesome ways such as being thrown into fires while alive or fed to guard dogs.

Reading over the re-telling of experiences and seeing videos of people who survived was heartbreaking. The horrible, chilling things done in these camps is absolutely horrendous. It feels like the world has digressed altogether.

Thinking back in history, the Nazi party was the last group to do something like this. As terrible and nasty as it wa,s it is in the past. The 1930s feels a lot further away than it really is. To see these same exact behaviors still happening in 2017 is disheartening.

In watching interviews and researching I learned about a lot of the terrible things that happen in these camps. Extreme malnutrition and constant beatings interrupted the forced work the labor workers had to do. Many survivors said they had to catch and eat rats without cooking them to survive. At best, the workers would receive thin soups and rotten lettuce and corn.

Going along with the terrible conditions and horrible things done to the prisoners, there are many accounts of mass graves all throughout the camps. Thousands and thousands of bodies being buried there to save space. Workers are forced to carry the bodies to the grave to bury their friends and even their own family.

Obviously many organizations and people want to bring justice to Kim Jong Un for the twisted things he has done. The charges for crimes against humanity are building up against him.

It is sad to know that these things still happen around the world, that we haven’t moved forward as a complete collective. It seems high time to gather and try and make a difference, even if we can’t stop these things across the world doesn’t mean we can’t make a change.

It is time to band together and learn to love not hate.