From Cradle to Grave, So Goes the Expression

There is no food emergency in the country now and things can only get better. — Alejandro Cao de Benos

Theresa forwards confirmation, via the Daily NK, of my worst fears for a 23 year-old woman who all but recited her own obituary for the guerrilla cameras of Rimjingang:

“It was discovered that, without a home, she had been wandering in the market and on the streets, before dying in a corn field,” the Asia Press spokesperson explained, “Since then was harvest time, she went there to eat corn but seems to have died of starvation.

Her body was apparently already decomposing by the time it was found, but the local People’s Safety Ministry agents were in no hurry to deal with it because she did not have any family, so it was left for a long time.

What might she have become if she had the good fortune of being born in a sane place? What potential was within her that will never be realized or propagated? Do you suppose she even has a grave? Who still defends the sovereign right of a regime to squander fortunes on yachts while this woman, this woman, and these children die and decompose in fields, in riverbeds, or next to railroad tracks? A state that will not allow its subjects to provide for themselves has a duty to provide for them. This was not a case of tragic happenstance. It was a consequence of deliberate government policy, a crime against humanity. Do not even think of telling me that U.S. or U.N. sanctions are to blame for this:

AN AUSTRIAN ”shopper” for the ”Dear Leader” of North Korea has been given a $A4.8 million fine and a suspended jail sentence for breaking an international embargo to sell goods to the volatile despot. The unnamed businessman has been hawking Western luxury products to Kim Jong-il for more than two decades.

A North Korean defector, Kim Jong-ryul, revealed in a book published earlier this year how his boss fell in love with the cuisine of Austria in particular and Western products in general. Kim Jong-ryul, who acted as bagman for many of the deals, painted a world of shell companies, fake freight bills and suitcases full of cash to buy up whatever the Dear Leader desired.

Now at least one individual has been held to account. The unnamed entrepreneur admitted selling at least eight S-Class Mercedes stretch limousines and two yachts worth collectively $A13 million. [….]

Mr Yon used Chinese middlemen and bank accounts to handle the transfers.

There is nothing North Korea needs so desperately — not even food aid — as it needs a revolution. And if this report is accurate, it’s going to get one:

“Amidst freezing temperatures fluctuating between 20 and 30 degrees, soldiers taking part in a joint air force – special operations forces training exercise at a military airbase in Samjiyeon weren’t even provided with food,” reported a source in Yanggangdo on the 6th December.

In North Korea’s current wartime conditions, an article on the 9th December reported that the North’s low altitude AN-2 fighter planes were taking part in counter invasion exercises with members of the of the 43rd brigade 10th corps special forces.

“Cold and hungry soldiers raiding villages for dogs and even roasting the rats and cats they find during winter exercises is not entirely new but the number of soldiers deserting because of their senior officers physical and verbal abuse is growing,” said the source.

This is stunning, if true. For years, I’ve read reports of hunger and indiscipline in North Korean military units, but without knowing more, I’d assumed that those were second-line or shock units. This is the first such report I’ve read about North Korea’s 200,000-strong special forces, which are the units Kim Jong Il is depending on to die facing the enemy at the very entrance to his suryongbunker.

In the end, Kim Jong Il’s greed will be his undoing. It’s just tragic that so many North Koreans will have suffered and died before his misrule is finally brought to an end.