They Will Say They Did Not Know

Germany, 1945.

Again, the Korean government will abstain from a U.N. Resolution “expressing concern about “human rights abuses in the Stalinist country [of North Korea] such as concentration camps for political prisoners. It calls on Pyongyang to ratify the Convention Against Torture and guarantee that the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea is allowed to operate freely. The special rapporteur was created by last year’s resolution.”

Just consider the sheer dumfounding illogic of it. Half of this country and a third of its population (it was half, once) are enslaved by an murderous, overarmed Caligula who–as best as we can learn from the tales of the survivors–orders the murder of babies, the imprisonment of children, the gassing of whole families, and the starvation of millions . . . and South Korea tolerates it in culpably acquiescent silence. That very same country severs a 60-year alliance with the world’s greatest power over a traffic accident and severs fingers and declares “diplomatic war” against Japan over two Godforsaken, guano-encrusted islands where nobody even lives! To call it madness would be to excuse it.

This is a betrayal. The forgiveness of the North Korean people is neither warranted nor forthcoming. Their anger at this betrayal–this refusal to acknowledge their suffering with one intangible gesture–will exacerbate the formidable psychological barriers to reunification. Generations of Koreans will ask themselves how they elected men who could be so ruthlessly cowardly, but the question will not be asked while it is still possible to save some of those who will be dead by next spring.

They know. May shame be upon on them for a hundred generations.

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UPDATE: The Marmot (MUST READ!) reminds us of this quote from former Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun:

The official refusal to speak out about the human-rights abuses of Kim Jong Il’s regime was on full display last week during an interview with the South’s minister of unification, whom I met on the day the gulag report was released. For North Koreans, Minister Jeong Se Hyun said, “political freedom is a luxury, like pearls for a pig. The improvement of economic conditions for the North Korean people is the most important issue right now.

This is supposed to make us all rich! Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who. . . .

Meanwhile, South Korea thinks it has found a higher priority for the U.N. Human Rights Commission . . . Japanese textbooks. “If we don’t learn the lessons from the mistakes of history, we are doomed to repeat them.” Is he freaking kidding us? Could there be a better illustration of what’s wrong with the UNHRC, and on the same day even Kofi Annan is admitting it?

UPDATE: When we protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington on the 28th of this month, I hope some of you will keep in mind that the South Korean Embassy is just a few blocks away. I’m going to make a detour to carry this picture to their front gate. Who is with me? Anyone for the Anti-Unification Ministry?