Today in North Korea there are at least 12 concentration camps for political prisoners, which imprison between 150,000 to 200,000 detainees, their spouses, children, and in some cases, their parents. The existence of a slight suspicion that a person either publicly or privately expressed criticism of governmental policies or leaders is at times sufficient for him or her and family members to be arrested and imprisoned, without any chance for judicial review. Some of the political prisoners have been detained for merely espousing religious views that are contrary to the state’s hardcore communist ideology.
The political prisoners in North Korea are completely isolated from the outside world, work day and night in strenuous manual labor, and endure severe conditions. It is estimated that approximately 40% of the prisoners die each year from malnutrition, starvation or torture. In addition to these camps, there are another 20 “education camps” in North Korea to which non-political criminals are sent. These prisoners are subjected to similar conditions, with the additional requirement of memorizing speeches of communist leaders, and participating in daily self-criticism ceremonies. The experts believe that the death rates from torture are even higher in these camps.
In light of the recent nuclear tests, sanctioned by Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s young leader, many journalists have compared him to the President of Iran. This comparison is appropriate. It is true that North Korean-type concentration camps do not exist in Iran, but that is because the Iranian government considers it more expedient to simply execute criminals, rather than imprisoning them for long periods of time.
Under Iranian law, a person can be executed for a variety of crimes including rape, burglary, apostasy, heresy, narcotic trafficking, adultery, prostitution and homosexuality. The preferred method of execution is hanging, although stoning is also used occasionally, particularly in cases of adultery or incest. A substantial number of criminals executed over the last few years in Iran were minors under the age of 18.
In addition to brutally trampling the human rights of their own citizens, these regimes and their leaders employ nuclear armament as a means of intimidating the Western world. This tactic creates a psychological suspense that causes Western powers to continually question and anticipate their next move.
The most prevalent question asked is whether or not we are dealing with rational leaders. If they are rational, then all of their saber rattling is an empty threat. In other words, they would not really “press the button” because they value themselves and their nations, and thus would not risk a holocaustic destruction of everything they hold dear. In light of their day to day actions toward their own people. I believe that the question of their rationality and humanity is superfluous. These leaders are no less sadistic or callous than Adolf Hitler. We cannot try to understand them through a humanistic liberal perspective.
In the worst case scenario, they actually intend to carry out an apocalyptic nuclear war. In the best case scenario, they are creating a cold war and using the nuclear threat to allow them to continue abusing millions of people under their administration, without fear of intervention by the international community.
Those who believe that the government of Israel needs to focus solely on socioeconomic issues, while procrastinating over the Iranian threat, have chosen to bury their heads in sand. While the international community is wasting time with investigations, committees, research, condemnations and economic sanctions, Iran’s rogue leaders are laughing on their way to joining the club of nuclearly-armed nations.
The recent North Korean nuclear test has taught us an important lesson. President Obama and his advisors were naively surprised, and observed with mouths wide open, as Eastern leaders declared one thing and proceeded to do the exact opposite. American diplomacy has proven to be an ineffective deterrent against this type of shameless duplicity. Our government needs to take full responsibility for the security of our nation, and to take every measure necessary to prevent Iranian nuclear armament, without counting on our American allies.