Tuesday, July 17

"They could not be that brutal."

I read a lot of stuff on the Net, but a post today by Richard Fernandez is the most gripping I've read in years. It's the story of a man born in South Korea who in 1986 decided to defect to North Korea.

That's crazy enough, but to make matters far, far worse, the goofy sonofabitch insisted on dragging his loving wife and daughters along, even after his wife warned him it was a really dumb move.

You may wonder why any rational person would willingly defect from the free, prosperous South to the ghastly, totalitarian North. And the answer is that the man had just received a PhD (in Germany) in Marxist studies. At the university all his professors assured him daily that Marxism was far, far superior to capitalism and that individual freedom was overrated. When North Korean officials promised him free health care and a government job (sound like a certain U.S. political party you know?), that sealed his decision.

His poor wife--lacking the benefit of her husband's degree in Marxist studies--was aghast and distraught.

“Do you know what kind of place it is?” she asked. “You have not been there even once. How can you make such a reckless decision?”

But Oh replied that the northerners were Koreans too, so "they cannot be that brutal."

It is the classic line before the nightmare begins.

Being a dutiful wife, she and their two daughters stayed with husband/father as he defected. But as soon as he arrived in Pyongyang, Oh realized something was terribly wrong: They were met by party officials and children carrying flowers, but in the bitter cold of a North Korean December Oh noticed that the children weren't wearing socks, and their traditional clothes were so thin that they shivered. He began to suspect that they didn’t have any warm clothes.

“When I saw this I was really surprised and my wife even started to cry.”

Ignoring his questions about the promised job and free health care, Oh and family were taken to a guarded camp where he was drilled in the sayings of Kim Il-Sung. Living conditions were harsh, the better to make them fear losing what little they had.

Soon Oh was told that if he and his family wanted to keep eating he must take an assignment to Europe, where his job would be to lure more South Koreans to come to the worker’s paradise, and to convince Europeans what a great place it was. He was ready to cooperate, but was stopped by the selfless courage of his wife.

She was furious. “I remember the two of us talking about it softly under the blanket. I told my wife that by fulfilling this mission, we would preserve our livelihood in North Korea. But she slapped me in the face.” His wife said they would have to pay the price for his mistakes – he could not help entrap others.

Condemned herself, his wife did not want to have any part in luring others to the same hell. So when Oh arrived in Copenhagen, he defected to the West. For Oh it meant going back to South Korea--whose freedom and plenty he had renounced just months before. But for his wife and daughters it was a death sentence.

They were taken to Yodok concentration camp, and Oh has not seen them in 25 years.

Now 70 years old, Oh sounds like a man haunted by the knowledge that his stubbornness, ignorance and ego wrenched his loving wife and daughters from a free and prosperous country and condemned them to a living hell.

What must it be like to hear your broken daughter ask, “Why, daddy? Why?”

Why indeed, citizen.

Mr. Oh took 3 innocents to their doom. But the intellectuals who molded Oh's thinking--and that of much of our nation's so-called elite--are dragging along a whole nation. In fact a man like Bill Ayers is worse than Oh, since the latter at least had the courage of his misguided convictions, and volunteered to live in the Marxist society he believed was so superior.

Ayers and his comrades lack that courage, choosing to live here while denigrating our country at every turn, and convincing millions of Americans that it is indeed possible to get something for nothing.

How many Americans are convinced that everyone can have "free" health care and a great government job if only they vote for Obama again? How many are excited at the prospect of “fundamentally transforming this country?”

And surely the promises must be true. It couldn’t possibly be a lie--a cheap trick to win votes--because no one could be that dishonest. After all, as Oh noted when contemplating the tales about the north: the people pushing these stories are Americans too.

"They could not be that brutal."

May all so-called "progressives" find their way to North Korea.


Postscript: This story was broadcast by the BBC, and published on its website. This is significant because historically, the BBC has always loved the Left. Thus posting this story is, in effect, an "admission against interest" and therefore much more credible than if it had been published by some other organization.

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