Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: December, 2011

POSTED: Monday, December 19, 2011, 1:33 PM
Kim Jong Il

The obits for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il are filled with details about his weird personal habits and his country’s nukes, but the history books will reveal him as one of the great mass murderers of our times.

One of my most chilling journalistic experiences – in 2004 in South Korea - was interviewing a handful of North Koreans who had managed to escape to Seoul, and listening to the horrors they’d endured in their home country. Only a few thousand North Koreans have made it out, and they bear witness to the terrible suffering that Kim, and his father Kim Il Sung, inflicted on the North Korean population. Their crimes are on a par with the autogenocide conducted by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.

Much of the world knows that more than one million North Koreans perished of starvation in the last decade due to the regime’s bizarre economic policies. But, because the  North Korean regime seals its own people off from the outside world, and permits only a few carefully controlled visitors in,  Americans are less aware of North Korea’s death camps. They still reputedly hold 200,000 political prisoners, including many Christians.

About this blog

Trudy Rubin’s Worldview column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. In 2009-2011 she has made four lengthy trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past seven years, she visited Iraq eleven times, and also wrote from Iran, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, China, and South Korea.

She is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004. In 2001 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary and in 2008 she was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for international reporting. In 2010 she won the Arthur Ross award for international commentary from the Academy of American Diplomacy.

Reach Trudy at trubin@phillynews.com.

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
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