Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | June 9, 2009

North Korean Gulags

So, two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, have been sentenced to 12 years hard labor in a North Korean Labor Camp, or gulag. We all hope that diplomacy will get them out. It is perhaps the most terrifying crime against humanity, the existence of these places, where you are not only punished physically but mentally and emotionally as well. The tactics of the totalitarian regime, the fascist regime, is total control, and that includes your mind. This is the most horrible thing to me. I read today that they make you memorize speeches by “dear leader,” to brainwash you and keep your mind occupied with stupidity and unfree to think of anything else. What a torture.

I wonder why people live under these conditions. Well, for the most part, people want a simple life, a home, food, a job, a family, and everything else they don’t pay attention to. But have an artist, or writer, or person who values freedom crop up, and they are taken and destroyed. Oh, and the threat of death and gulag is a powerful incentive too.  I understand people have been sentenced to the gulag for accidentally sitting on a newspaper that happened to have a phot of  “dear leader” in it. The surveillance is everywhere, the propoganda is ubiquitous, the spies are lurking and ready to rat you out. They know every move, and don’t even think about thinking for yourself. And that’s just at one of the places where I used to work here in America, so imagine what it’s like in North Korea.

More seriously, though, I do think the dangers of totalitarian control lurk in our own society, although we do have some protections in a democracy, but don’t go too far or you’ll end up on the unemployment line with the threat of loosing your home and means of sustenance. The idyllic, utopian, disney-esque, everybody smile and happy of North Korea is not that far off from some of the nonsense we have to put up with here if we want to work and make a living. Also, in general, totalitarianism is especially reviled by tai chi and taoism because we hold dear, most of all, our freedom and independence.

Most people are content to be sheep and follow along and go along–not the kind of go along acceptance of Taoism, but the go along blindness of the unenlightened. Even something as stupid as switching the entire country to digital tv is an affront to every american. American cars, american tv, all going by the waste side. Remember when…

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