Kim Jung Il’s Kakistocracy

June 3, 2009

[first published May 17, 2005] Kakistocracy is government by the worst, most unprincipled citizens of a state. It’s from the Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad.

Some frequent visitors may have noticed that I seem to be obsessed by Kim and his North Korea. Yes, and if you’re not, you should be also. It is the deadliest, most repressive, worst ruled of all countries, and since Kim Jung Il is the absolute dictator of the totalitarian state, he is the one to focus on, as we do on Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

I received from Colleague the three links below, to which I responded:

Read them and I say, as I wrote in my blogs, assassinate Kim as we would have a SWAT Team sniper do to a bank robber holed up with his hostages.

I can’t believe we live in the same world and at the same time with Kim, and he is allowed to continue his evil.

Colleague responded:

As I teach my international relations students, this is a legacy of Westphalia, which was a “good thing” in that it protected princes from the interventions of others — and since no one was reliably democratic, it brought some sense of order — if not justice — to the world. And I remind them that International Law privileges sovereignty, as most cases involve one country violating the sovereignty of another — of course the reasons are not important (as in the case of Nicaragua taking the US to the World Court for mining its harbors, even though there was war stuff coming into the harbors). But then I introduce the idea that democracy is emerging as a universal right and even a basic human entitlement — thereby warranting violation of sovereignty to protect humans — just like your analogy of the SWAT team and the bank robbery. The neat thing is that most of the students see no problems with this idea of humanitarian intervention for democracy. Is there hope????

The next step is to start holding accountable those who claim moral authority in international matters (especially the UN, but certainly the Euro-moralists and the church). I’m not sure HOW you hold them accountable, but a first step is plain and simple condemnation for not having done their jobs (misfeasance — improper execution of laws), and more stringent condemnation (with calls for firings and changes) for having not done their job because they were protecting their personal interests, and outright wrongdoing (malfeasance)… Unleash the lawyers!

So far, what are the solutions offered: Cozy up to Kim, provide food and material aid, meet with his henchmen one-to-one, then maybe he’ll compromise on his development of nukes. Yes, but tell me, how does this help the poor North Koreans suffering this enslavement, and that is what it is, pure and simple slavery under the worst of masters.


Links of Note

“The Hidden Gulag” (5/15/05) By Young Howard

Howard says:

Grandsons are condemned to life-long terms as slave laborers alongside their grandfathers, both equally helpless in the brutal surroundings. Prisoners are arbitrarily murdered by security guards. Women suffer from forced abortions at the hands of unlicensed doctors. Newborn babies are beaten to death. And sons and daughters are publicly executed in front of their mothers.

“Horrific conditions and suffering make it the last worst place on Earth” (5/15/05) By Jack Rendler

Rendler says:

There are 23 million people living in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), and all of them – men, women and children – suffer every day under the heel of the most repressive regime on Earth. Their plight has been abandoned and ignored by most of the world for nearly 50 years. But there is now new hope and opportunity to restore their freedom and dignity. . . . First, we must accept the fact that there will be no reform in North Korea until the new leadership in China makes it happen. . . . Second, it is not productive or humane to contribute to the starvation of the North Korean people. . . . Third, we must not be distracted from our human rights objectives while Pyongyang threatens to develop nuclear weapons. . . . Fourth, we must find ways to bring outside information into North Korea. . . . Fifth, educators, students and health-care workers should be actively seeking exchange opportunities with their North Korean fellows. . . . Finally, each of us can simply communicate to our elected congressional representatives that we cannot in good conscience tolerate the suffering of so many North Korean men, women and children . . . .

“World must act” (5/15/05) The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial

The editorial says:

When Europe’s Jews were being murdered by the millions during World War II, the world paid too little attention until it was too late. When 2 million Cambodians were dying in their country’s auto-genocide in the mid to late 1970s, hardly anyone deigned to notice. When 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutus were being slaughtered in Rwanda in 1994, the world knew but did nothing.

A repeat of this shameful neglect must not be permitted as North Korea’s slave state brutally suppresses all dissenters, real and imagined, and millions remain at risk of starvation.

So, what can the world do?

First, the cause of human rights in North Korea should be put prominently on the international agenda. . . . Second, a more aggressive effort must be mounted to assist North Korea’s people. . . . Third, pressure must be brought on Kim Jong-Il’s government to improve its ghastly record of abusing, indeed denying, all basic human rights of its citizenry. . . . Above all, don’t let it be said that the world knew of North Korea’s horrors, and did nothing.

Strange, isn’t it? Kim’s beastly enslavement and murder of his people, and their abject pain and suffering is recognized, but no one suggests the equivalent of secretly sending in a SWAT Team sniper.



War/peace docudramas
War/democide Docudramas


The Commonplace Horror Of It All.

March 9, 2009

20th Century Democide

I find it more revealing to read the reports or biographies of escaped refugees and political dissidents from an evil dictatorship than what the country-experts write about it. This way I get a sense of the commonplace horror of it all. I just finished reading Kang Chol-Hwan’s The Aquariums of Pyongyang. Kang, you may recall, spent about 45 minutes with President Bush giving him a briefing on his experience. Taken in by North Korean propaganda, his whole extended Korean family emigrated from Japan to the “paradise of North Korea.” Of course, coming from a highly developed and free country to the bankrupt, rigidly control North Korea, his family was loose lipped. Eventually they were all arrested and sent to a forced labor camp when Kang was ten-years old. He and those of his family who survived spent ten awful years there.

This book as mainly about Kang’s experience in the camp, but enough about North Korea itself is described to show that life inside and outside the camps is a matter of degree. Trying to escape the camps means execution if caught; similarly, trying to escape the country means a fast death by execution or a slow one in the camps. A returned escapee is then one of the so-called irredeemables who along with those who spoke out against the regime, or the “revered Great Leader,” are purposely worked to death. And their children with them.

Some things that stick in my mind:

One is that it seems so easy for people’s minds to be so swayed by propaganda as to give up their freedom and wealth in a democracy to enter . . . hell.

Also, as in South Vietnam when it was taken over by the North, everything is a matter of bribes. They are not the lubricant, but the basis of order. Whatever one needs or wants to be done in North Korea was possible if one had enough money or precious goods to barter. Up and down the communist hierarchy, the currency was Omega watches, color TV sets, Japanese Yen, food, and anything else of material value.

Third, are the deaths. Deaths from malnutrition, deaths from lack of medical treatment, deaths from accidents, deaths from everyday beatings, deaths from overwork, deaths from the cold in winter, and deaths from executions. One vignette that sticks in my mind is of three boys that were put to work in a gold mine setting off explosives without adult supervision. They would light the fuses and run. Once they were not fast enough, and two were killed in the explosion and one had half his face blown off.

Fourth is the food, always inadequate, such that painful hunger would cause people to lose their decency, and even take food from their children’s mouths. The ever-present hunger stimulated creativity in catching and nurturing rats for food, catching insects, or finding something to eat in the woods around the camp.

Finally, is the ease with which people were sent to these gulags. No trial, no hearing, no interrogation. Perhaps word from friends or insiders that one was under surveillance would be a first clue of what was to come. But one day, the security police would arrive and haul a whole family, even babies and children, off to one of the camps with virtually no time for preparation or explanation. Or, one might be arrested at work without any chance of one’s family finding out what happened, even when it was separately arrested.

Is this gulag worse than Stalin’s? It’s like asking which is worse, torture with a burning hot iron, or with a knife.

Quite understandably, Kang condemns the South Korean government’s refusal to make human rights in the North an issue, and reluctance to help North Korean refugees, who when caught in China are returned to Kim Jung Il’s loving arms to be executed or worked to death in one of the camps.

His book should be widely read. But, it won’t be by those who need to be educated by it the most.

Link of Note

“N. Korea defector seeks help from Bush” (7/19/05) By Bill Gertz. In The Washington Times

Gertz says:

A North Korean defector who survived 10 years in a prison labor camp said he told President Bush last month that the United States should do more to help those who flee the communist regime. 
    “The people who are at the camps, the [North Korean] government wants to kill them all,” Kang Chol-hwan said in an interview with The Washington Times. “Instead of executing them, they kill them slowly, making them work in forced labor. That was the hardest part.”

What gets me the most about this horror is that it is happening now. Not 60-years ago under the Nazis, or Stalin, or 50-years ago under Mao, or 30-years ago under Pol Pot, but now.
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM