Today's Wall Street Journal has an op-ed piece by a former prisoner in North Korea's "Political Prison Camp No. 14." Unfortunately, the link is for subscribers only. An excerpt:
I was a slave under club and fist. It was a world where love, happiness, joy or resistance found no meaning. This was the situation I found myself in until I escaped to China, and then South Korea. There, I was told why I was imprisoned by my distant relatives, who had escaped to the South during the Korean War.
In the midst of that conflict, two of my father's brothers fled to freedom. Because of this "traitorous" crime, my grandparents, father and uncle back in the North were found guilty of treason and crimes against the state, and were arrested. My father and uncle were separated from each other and my grandparents, and were stripped of all identification and property.
I am still not sure why my mother was incarcerated. While serving their sentences in Kaechon, my parents were allowed to marry. (Sometimes, inmates are given permission to marry if they work very hard and find favor in the eyes of the State Security agents). This was how both my brother and I were born as political prisoners.
Although we were a family by fiat, there was nothing familial about us. We showed no affection for one another, nor was that even possible.
Shin Dong-Hyok today is in South Korea. He escaped via China. His mother and brother were executed when their escape attempt failed.
When North Korea finally implodes -- as it must -- the horrors we discover there will make Stalin, Mao and maybe even Hitler pale in comparison.