The Tragedy Of North Korea Essay

1508 words - 6 pages

Rogue states under dictatorial rule threaten the fragile peace, which exists in our modern world. Constantly as a society Americans have always fought against these said foes. However all too often we pass a blind eye to the humanity of the enemies’ civilian populations. For more often than not, those who live within these systems are chronically oppressed. The nation of North Korea is no exception, with “Bing-brother always watching.” The government in North Korea pervades all aspects of life.
Hunger is a problem worldwide. However with a quarter of North Korea’s population (six million people) starving or malnourished, with nearly one million of those cases being children under the age of five years old, the situation is especially dire (Cullinane 3). Throughout history the term “famine” has referred to a shortage of food caused by uncontrollable circumstances. Modern famines are relatively nonexistent because international aid, globalization, and modern domestic responses are all able to provide a safety net for those in need of assistance. In reality, mass-starvations today are caused by government decisions and improper food distribution. The North Korean government controls food delivery through a Public Distribution System (PDS), on which 62 percent of the population is entirely reliant upon for monthly or biweekly rations (Haggard et al. 17). To put this dependency in perspective, by the end of the 1990’s the PDS could barely support six percent of the population (Haggard et al. 28). In the 1990’s those who lived in the Northeastern Hamgyong provinces, a region historically rebellious due to mountain ranges and proximity to China, were cut off from the PDS (Nastios 109). With regime control of food distribution, creating food shortages became an effective and horrifying way in which the North Korean regime consolidates its power. The North Korean government targets entire regions and provinces thought to hold dissenting citizens, closes them off from the rest of the world and diverts food distribution elsewhere. Together hunger and the prospect of food enslave the weak and malnourished masses. The cognitive and physical effect of starvation and severe malnourishment literally subdue the North Korean people. If the people fight back they are sent into the deranged prison system of the country.
The prison system of North Korea consists of labor (concentration) camps (Roth 355), “re-educational centers” (Roth 356), and forced labor brigades (Roth 356). 200,000 North Koreans are imprisoned within the labor camps situated in remote valleys in the nation’s northern provinces (Roth 355). The camps operate under a “guilt by association system”, which incarcerates family members extending three generations from an alleged defector because of their ancestral background (Hawk 23). The motives of the North Korean government are clear from the operation of labor camps, the meticulous and rigorous state surveillance through a massive network...

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