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North Korean 3G Mobile Subscriptions Hit Half a Million

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  • Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gustgr (695173) <{rondina} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday May 21, 2011 @02:14AM (#36199870) Homepage

    Great news, almost three times the number of people they have in slave camps [singularityhub.com]!

  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @04:44AM (#36200408) Journal

    And if you think the US treats its guilty badly, you'll be reassured to know that it treats those not found guilty no better [bbc.co.uk].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21, 2011 @06:47AM (#36200844)

    One could argue that conditions in slave camps are worse then prisons?

    There is no argument.

    NK - they dont arrest you, they arrest you, your children, and your parents. (3 generations is the standard approach to dissenters)
    NK - there is only one punishment for breaking the labor camp rules, you are shot.

    I'm not disagreeing that the US justice and penal systems have significant problems. However there is absolutely no comparison to the horror of north korea.

    For fun - check out: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Kimjongilia/70113934

  • by thaig (415462) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @07:30AM (#36200982) Homepage

    And a quarter of the number of people that the US has in jail.

    These are political prisoners, not ordinary every day thieves or drug dealers.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/images-reveal-scale-north-korean-political-prison-camps-2011-05-03 [amnesty.org]

    Interesting how ready people are to rush to the defence of anything to bash the US. I'm a Zimbabwean in the UK, BTW and I regularly hear people defending Mugabe, presumably because they think he's left wing and anti American. There is some incredible loss of perspective, unfortunately but also demonstrates how little anyone really cares about "the poor people in X" when compared to making some political point at home.

  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @08:25AM (#36201136) Journal

    Many thieves and drug dealers are political prisoners. "Political prisoner" is just a euphemism for "does something which I think should be permissible but they don't". To a libertarian, anyone jailed for not paying taxes may be a political prisoner; to a militant Irish republican, The Maze was full of political prisoners; to a communist, anyone jailed for taking enough bread to eat is a political prisoner. AI has tried to use the alternative term "prisoner of conscience", but even that definition is dangerous, excepting those who condone "violence" but not really explaining what counts as violence and what counts as condoning it.

    As for "I'm a Zimbabwean in the UK", that's how you self-identify. To another Zimbabwean, you might be an exiled ex-occupier. The "incredible loss of perspective" is by the international Western media condemning Mugabe as if he were operating alone, controlling a whole country, while forgetting that every regime can only exist thanks to the support of a significant number of local residents. Some people would rather suffer extreme hardship than live in a country dominated by a few colonial landowners. Similarly, some people would rather live isolated under a military or religious dictatorship than under a US puppet government. Maybe you don't feel this. Maybe you prefer the security of living in the West. Maybe long lifespan, good nutrition and a warm house are to you of primary importance. Maybe you put yourself before some perceived need of your "people", whoever your people may be. But the first mistake anyone in the West makes in this sort of debate is to assume that everyone wants this too.

    So, recognising the nastiness Mugabe's men get up to, how about asking yourself: why is it that conditions were so bad in Zimbabwe that Mugabe ended up in power? What could those with power/money/influence have done to compromise? Consider how Britain handled the IRA: in the end, it had to mean listening to their grievances rather than continually dismissing their opinions and their belief in a right to some of your power.

  • by thaig (415462) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @09:44AM (#36201428) Homepage

    Hi,

    You're letting your politics choose bad friends for you and it's not a good idea because it means that without thought or consideration you choose to be on the side of some very bad people. Everyone has choices including the people in charge of the DPRK and my home too and if we wound back the problems of life far enough we'd find that the DPRK helped Mugabe, for example, or that Henry Kissenger helped Mugabe or that his mum wasn't nice to him or whatever. But I don't blame Mugabes behaviour on them.

    The way you are trying to compare two very different things to try and bash the US or mitigate the DPRK is a loss of perspective and it's usually the stuff one reads in government controlled newspapers in the kind of place I'm from. It relies on people not really knowing what immense freedoms there are in the civilised world and on people from the civilised world not having the tiniest inkling what it's really like to live in a police state. I wonder if you have ever felt that you can't say what you think at a party of friends because you're not sure whether some of them have relatives in the secret police? I have.

    This is why it makes me feel ill to see such, frankly and to be kind, silly comparisons. I

    Unfortunately, I have now put you in a position where you have to argue on the side of even more horrible people in order to try and win the argument. But if you do then you're just making the same mistake even more thoroughly. Meanwhile people who have courage or morals or a sense of decency that got them into trouble are getting beaten and starved quietly far beyond the reach of the BBC to exclaim on their woes and you just tried to make it sound ok.

    Regards,

    Tim

  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @10:23AM (#36201608) Journal

    (1) Mugabe and Kim are not my friends - just because I don't cheerlead for the West it doesn't mean I think that DPRK or Zimbabwe are suitable alternatives;

    (2) If you take the time to read my post you'll note that I'm concentrating on the supporters of Mugabe and Kim and suggesting that you study what they want rather than what you, Mugabe and Kim want. The fact that you put it in terms of "winning the argument" between A and B suggests that you're here to promote your interests rather than to increase understanding;

    (3) One half of my family was brought up in a "police state" - the idea that you get a free ride to express yourself in the West but the slightest peep elsewhere will get you lifetime in a labour camp is jingoistic fantasising. The West is great at hiding to Westerners how it treats its underclass, just as DPRK propaganda hides the full extent of its own behaviour, but it is as bad as anywhere [bbc.co.uk] - and recall that US prison population is similar to DPRK;

    (4) Free speech is overrated anyway - all your opponent has to do is shout louder, as is the case in the US. I'd rather have the freedom of health than the freedom to shout "Jewish conspiracy!"

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