Less than a year ago, I stood at the Military Demarcation Line and stared at North Korea. It was the second time in my life that I have done so. The first time, I was 22 and the year was 1988.
Nothing has changed on the other side of that line since then. Nor has anything changed since the line was established on July 27, 1953. The country is frozen in time. A cold war forever below zero.
North Korea is, without a doubt, one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever seen. Human rights organizations classify North Korea’s abuses as unparalleled. The country occupies a league of its own in the realm of very bad places.
When someone breaks the law in North Korea– perhaps by trying to flee — three generations of the culprit’s family are punished, which means that everyone from the generation before and the generation after is sent to a labor camp. Even worse, a former survivor/escapee of a camp tells the story of seeing a six-year-old girl being beaten to death for hoarding 5 kernels of corn.
Meanwhile, pseudo-criminals are OFTEN executed in public, sometimes in huge stadiums, for minor infractions — like picking up a piece of South Korean propaganda that was actually placed in their path by their own dear leader. The Hunger Games is alive and well above the 38th Parallel.
Wait a second, you are probably saying by now. What’s this got to do with Christmas or Chanukah? Nancy, why are you writing about this secular place on this occasion?
I want you to know that no one in North Korea is allowed to own a Bible or a Torah. There is only the teachings of “We Three Kims,” who all got to leave the country to study other cultures before heading back to Pyongyang to declare their ways the best. The only person in the entire world who agrees with them is Dennis Rodman.
Today, THE INTERVIEW movie was released in North America. Beleaguered Sony will make a tidy profit from the turmoil surrounding the film. Americans will feel victorious simply by walking in screening rooms. Take that lil’ Kim! Some ‘idol’ threats won’t keep us from seeing this film! Let freedom ring. They can’t use THE INTERNET to sabotage THE INTERVIEW!
But they did. The North Koreans changed the conversation. They shifted the focus from their sins to ours. Everyone is talking about what the Sony emails said, AND NOT what the Kims have said and done.
For 61 years, North and South Korea have been at a stalemate. The Forgotten War still unwaged.
So, on this giving and forgiving occasion, instead of paying $10 to see THE INTERVIEW movie, plus spending $5 for popcorn and another $5 for a bottle of water — how about donating $20 to Amnesty International? Here’s that website: click here
Let’s cross the line together.