Sunday, April 25, 2010

Last Dordt Diamond Column – North Korea: The Impossible Problem

Imagine this scenario: the government announces that in order to increase its control over the economy, it is revaluing your country’s currency. You have one week to trade in all your old cash savings for new bills. The maximum amount you will be allowed to trade in? $40 worth. Anything else you saved is now worthless.

If you object, you, your siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins will be sent to a prison camp for life. If you obey, you face the possibility of starvation.

Kind of puts the healthcare debate in perspective, eh?

This is exactly what the North Korean government did last November. This is life for the average North Korean – forever subject to the whim and paranoia of a party whose ideological convictions allowed a million people to starve in the 1990s, and a dictator, Kim Jong Il, whose sanity is open to question.

Cut off from the rest of the world for sixty years now, the North Koreans have become a voiceless people, largely forgotten in international politics, where the major players are far more interested in containing Kim Jong Il’s craziness than helping the people who live in his world.

And really, can we blame those players? In a world full of troubles, the North Korea problem seems almost impossible to solve. How do you help a people whose leader will not allow them to even speak with foreigners? How do you convince a possibly-delusional tyrant armed with nuclear weapons and over a million soldiers to reform?

There are no easy answers, but the church in America cannot be apathetic about this problem. We must, at the very least, bear witness to the suffering of our brothers and sisters in North Korea, so that the world will not forget.

An organization called Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is working to spread awareness about the continuing oppression in North Korea, and to help North Korean refugees living underground in China escape to free countries, one at a time. Next Thursday, April 22, LiNK will come to campus to show a documentary and talk about their work. I’d encourage all interested Dordt students to attend and learn more.

In the meantime, let us pray that the injustices in North Korea will soon come to an end. Even when everything seems hopeless, we can put our trust in a God who David says “does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.”


This column came out a week and a half ago. Since then, the LiNK group did come and visit. The documentary they showed was incredible. Take a look. (I'd recommend starting at 2:55 into the video):

1 comment:

  1. This is the scariest thing I have ever seen!