Had The United States not liberated South Korea from the North’s aggression 60 years ago during the Korean War, I would never have had the opportunity to sit here, contemplate about promoting freedom for others, and write this essay.
In the early summer morning of mid June 1950, North Koreans, under the command of Kim-II- Sung, struck south of their border. South Korea was taken by surprise and because of weak defenses was helpless. Thousands of lives already were lost on both sides when the armistice was initiated in 1953. Ever since then, North Korea has fallen into utter isolationism while the South has become a free republic. Today, North Korea is decades behind the technology, when on the other hand, South Korea stands as world’s 12th strongest power.
Most of us take our democratic society for granted because we never had to experience living in a polar opposite society, where we are deprived of our first amendment rights and freedom of choice to believe in what we want. When we watch news about countries that are ruled by dictatorship and through fear, it seems so distant from us because we can’t really relate it to our lives.
In North Korea, there are 24 million people, approximately 3 times the population of New York City, suffering under a communist regime. Of those 24 million, there are over 200,000 people imprisoned in gulags. It is unbearable to picture how so many people, whether male or female, whether a child or an elder, would suffer from malnutrition, poor sanitation, hard labor and abuses and die without remorse.
Unfortunately, most people do not have any idea what a life is like behind the tightly closed doors of North Korea. The North Koreans have no political rights whatsoever; there is no presidential election every 4 years. The Kim family, now down to the third generation, has been ruling for last 60 years. Human Rights have been extirpated and overshadowed by the totalitarian government. Something must be done to promote political rights and civil liberties for people in North Korea. There are things that we and the government can and should do to bring about even just a little change for North Koreans because every big change starts out small.
There are parts of the solution that we, the people can undertake to advocate political rights and civil liberties for North Korea. First, we need to change our perception. North Korea was referred to as one of the “Axis of Evil” in President Bush’s State of Union address. The people of North Korea are often viewed as one big mass of evil. However, they are the ultimate victims of a terribly corrupt government. Therefore, we need to shift our focus to the civilians who are starving to death.
Second, we need to bring awareness of what has been going on in North Korea to as many people as possible. In the 21st century where the technology has advanced beyond our belief, the internet has become a powerful tool that connects everyone from all over the world. Aside from looking at the debate about the true intention of the campaign, Kony 2012 was unrivaled in getting the message about a human rights problem out into the public. The group of individuals – not politicians, not scientists, celebrities, or billionaires – brought awareness to the world by the use of the internet. We can learn from this and exploit the internet to illuminate the truths and spread the news about the people of North Korea.
The next step the U.S should take is to provide genuine truths and information to the people of North Korea. North Korea has been heavily guarded with massive propaganda for last 60 years. The people are fed lies and are totally oblivious to what is going on outside their borders. However, if we come into North Korea to distribute food, the Koreans will see that the U.S, a democratic and a capitalist society, is more prosperous and in fact, helping them out. This truth will be eventually understood by the people. On the flip side, there is no way North Korea will just let U.S. spread its capitalist and democratic ideals. This is why we need to be very subtle in planning things out so that we will do just enough to ignite the enlightenment in the people’s subconscious. If we do it right the people will realize that something is wrong with their society and their leader. Their hearts will be kindled with desire to gain freedom in their corrupted world.
Even though I am sure that bringing about civil liberty and political rights will be impossibly hard and frustrating, I know that something must be done to solve the situation. Everyone can contribute to bring change by spreading the words about the situations in North Korea. The United States should put efforts and make subtle plans to encourage the people of North Korea to eventually beginning a revolution to overthrow evil and corruption.