What Secrets Does ESCAPING NORTH KOREA Reveal About Life Under Kim Jong-il?

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In summary, the conversation discusses a book titled "Escaping North Korea" written by Mike Kim, who worked with refugees on the Chinese border for four years. The book provides an inside look into the hidden world of ordinary North Koreans and their experiences of famine, sex-trafficking, and torture under the repressive regime. Kim also shares his experiences leading North Koreans to asylum through a modern-day underground railway. The conversation also touches on the brainwashing tactics used by the government to instill hatred towards Americans in its citizens, and the possibility of understanding North Korean culture without understanding this aspect. However, there are concerns about the author's potential bias and focus on politics throughout the book.
  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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This caught my attention tonight on the Daily Show.

The first of its kind, this book provides a rare and unique inside look into the hidden world of ordinary North Koreans. Mike Kim, who worked with refugees on the Chinese border for four years, recounts their experiences of enduring famine, sex-trafficking, and torture, as well as the inspirational stories of those who overcame tremendous adversity to escape the repressive regime of their homeland and make new lives.

In ESCAPING NORTH KOREA, One of the few Americans granted entry into the secretive “Hermit Kingdom,” Kim came to know the isolated country and its people intimately. His North Korean friends entrusted their secrets to him as they revealed the government’s brainwashing tactics and confessed their true thoughts about the repressive regime that so rigidly controls their lives. Civilians and soldiers alike spoke of what North Koreans think of Americans and war with America. Children remembered the suffering they endured through the famine. Women and girls recalled their horrific sex-trafficking experiences. Former political prisoners shared their memories of beatings, torture, and executions in the gulags.

With the permission of these courageous individuals, Kim now shares their stories and recounts his dramatic experiences leading North Koreans to asylum through the 6,000-mile modern-day underground railway through Asia. His unflinching narrative exposes the truth about North Korea, stripping away the last veils that still shroud this brutal dictatorship...
http://www.escapingnorthkorea.com/

According to Mr. Kim, from early childhood, North Korean children are taught to hate Americans. He even gave an example of math problem that a NK child might be given: If I kill 2 Americans with one hand grenade, and I kill 3 more Americans with another hand grenade, how many Americans have I killed?

Luckily, according to Mike Kim, people inside of NK are beginning to get the message that Kim Jong-il is not a God, and that much of what they have been taught is propoganda. Nonetheless, it seems that we have an entire nation of people who have been brainwashed to hate us.
 
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  • #2
The other takeaway from that Daily Show piece for me was that the people are asked to get along on fewer meals a day and have no idea how relatively extravagantly the ruling class is living.

I found looking about North Korea in Google Earth was a definite eye opener. I was struck by how few cars there seems to be in the cities. It's as though they don't need parking lots and traffic lights. Tehran look downright prosperous compared.

If the people in North Korea could see the estates set aside for the elite on Google Earth, they might not be happy ... if happy is a word with any currency there in the first place.
 
  • #3
IMHO, it would have been much better if he had kept politics out of this book. What negative attitude towards US has to do with "Children remembered the suffering they endured through the famine. Women and girls recalled their horrific sex-trafficking experiences". I want to buy this book but I hope he don't try to put politics in everything.

I have been trying to find a book about North Korea people itself free from politics.
 
  • #4
May be, but it is certainly something that I want to know about. I think it is an imperative to know if an entire nation has been brainwashed to hate us. Of course, you're not an American.

Also, it seems that it may not be possible to understand the NK culture without understanding how hatred of the US has been used as a crutch for a corrupt if not insane dictator.
 
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  • #5
Does he mention brainwashing against the Japanese as well, or just against the Americans?
 
  • #6
Luckily, according to Mike Kim, people inside of NK are beginning to get the message that Kim Jong-il is not a God, and that much of what they have been taught is propoganda

Wow, that must be a grim story indeed. North Korea is the most isolated nation on Earth and its citizens are basically cut off from all of the outside world. I remember that there was once a documentary I watched directed by a reporter who managed to get into North Korea and film the life of ordinary citizens there. Cannot think of the name right now though but from what I saw, the people were extraordinarily graceful and always with a smile on their faces.
 
  • #7
rootX said:
IMHO, it would have been much better if he had kept politics out of this book. What negative attitude towards US has to do with "Children remembered the suffering they endured through the famine. Women and girls recalled their horrific sex-trafficking experiences". I want to buy this book but I hope he don't try to put politics in everything.

I have been trying to find a book about North Korea people itself free from politics.
So you prefer to discuss people rather than ideas, that's great. I find what you just wrote so sordid.

Self declared most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth from North Korean Economy Watch
 
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  • #8
Ivan Seeking said:
May be, but it is certainly something that I want to know about. I think it is an imperative to know if an entire nation has been brainwashed to hate us. Of course, you're not an American.

Also, it seems that it may not be possible to understand the NK culture without understanding how hatred of the US has been used as a crutch for a corrupt if not insane dictator.

humanino said:
So you prefer to discuss people rather than ideas, that's great. I find what you just wrote so sordid.

Self declared most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth from North Korean Economy Watch

If author provides his pro-American views in the introduction extract, it is likely that his opinions will be biased through out the whole book. And all he might be focusing on is how NK is wrong and introducing his bias in every single story he provides. I think even if he should introduce politics, he should try to be neutral.
 
  • #9
humanino said:

It must chafe their chaps that Google Earth offers such a detailed view of their country and their lack of facilities and material infrastructure.

Compared with the activity in and around Seoul, I'd say Pyongyang is a relatively sterile place. That's a hard thing to explain away. I imagine that's why they try so hard not to have to.
 
  • #10
rootX said:
If author provides his pro-American views in the introduction extract
If you are pro NK I understand better your reaction. I doubt that discussing how NK demonizes the US necessitate to be pro US. Probably NK demonizes the entire rest of the world anyway.
 
  • #11
humanino said:
If you are pro NK I understand better your reaction. I doubt that discussing how NK demonizes the US necessitate to be pro US. Probably NK demonizes the entire rest of the world anyway.

Rereading the OP link, I discovered I was wrong.
 

Related to What Secrets Does ESCAPING NORTH KOREA Reveal About Life Under Kim Jong-il?

1. How did Mike Kim escape from North Korea?

Mike Kim escaped from North Korea by crossing the border into China and then eventually making his way to South Korea. He had to navigate through dangerous terrain and avoid being caught by North Korean authorities.

2. What motivated Mike Kim to escape from North Korea?

Mike Kim was motivated to escape from North Korea due to the oppressive and restrictive living conditions in the country. He wanted to have freedom and opportunities that were not available in North Korea.

3. Was it difficult for Mike Kim to adjust to life outside of North Korea?

Yes, it was very difficult for Mike Kim to adjust to life outside of North Korea. He had to learn a new language, adapt to a different culture, and navigate through a society that was vastly different from what he was used to in North Korea.

4. How has escaping North Korea impacted Mike Kim's life?

Escaping North Korea has had a significant impact on Mike Kim's life. He has been able to live a life of freedom and pursue opportunities that were not available to him in North Korea. However, he also faces challenges such as homesickness and adjusting to a new way of life.

5. What can be done to help others like Mike Kim escape from North Korea?

There are various organizations and programs dedicated to helping North Koreans escape and resettle in other countries. Supporting these organizations and raising awareness about the situation in North Korea can help bring attention and aid to those who are seeking to escape. Additionally, advocating for political and social change in North Korea can also make a difference in improving the living conditions and opportunities for its citizens.

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