22 January 2013

North Korea

A couple of years ago, I watched the Vice Guide to North Korea  It was absolutely....fascinating in the most disturbing way.  At the time I really didn't know much about North Korea or understand the history or really just anything.  I was clueless.  And these videos were just culture shocking and completely jaw-dropping.  I really had no idea.  They are totally worth your time to watch.  There are three parts.  Make sure you watch them all.

This past weekend, JJ had me pick up a book he needed to read at school.  I read the back of it and it sounded interesting.  I started it yesterday and finished it today.  It's called "Escape from Camp 14" and it's the story of a young man's escape from a labor camp in North Korea.

First of all, I did not even know that there were such things.  How is it that these camps that rival anything Nazi Germany came up with have been around for more than 50 years without me knowing this?  Without a lot of people knowing it?!?!  It was eye-opening and startling and sad and disgusting and heart breaking.  Truly heartbreaking.

One of the big differences between the Nazi concentration camps and the North Korean labor camps is that the labor camps are imprisoning their own people and breeding them for a life of slave labor and early death--most prisoners die by age 40.  So this young man who escaped was actually born in the camp.  So the Jews were taken from a normal life of love and happiness and stuck in these horrifying camps for several years.  But these North Koreans don't know what a normal family life is like.  They have no clue about any life outside the camp.  They are kept in an animalistic state of starvation for their entire lives.

I don't typically like non-fiction, but this was absolutely riveting.  You should totally read it.  And after JJ reads it, I'm going to have him watch the Vice Guide videos above, too.  Here's just a google search link for the book.  Some of the search results are videos of interviews with the author and the man who escaped (I haven't watched them yet).


  1. I read that book a few months ago - wow. I am horrified all over again how easy it seems to be to be cruel and oppressive. I know things will work out for them in the next life, but I want things to change for them here, too!

  2. I'm glad you mentioned this again (NK, I mean), because when we were at BYU last November I noticed that a particular author was going to be guest-lecturing about North Korea. Her book's title caught my attention and reminded me of when I watched those videos the first time you mentioned them. . . it's called "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea." Very interesting stuff!

  3. My mom was obsessed with the Holocaust for awhile when I was a very young teen. And it was Roots when I was even younger. There are some very disturbing things in this world. And I agree, if you never knew what regular family life was like, growing up in a prison camp like that . . . who knows? Many slaves had families of some kind or another, but I can't even imagine . . . I'll have to watch, once I'm in a better place myself.

  4. Michelle beat me to it--I was going to suggest you read Nothing to Envy. It's really good!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin