THE fact that North Korea is a brutal communist dictatorship comes as no real surprise, but the details of the torture and abuse of its citizens revealed in a special UN report this week are still truly shocking.
So terrible were the findings of the year-long investigation that former Australian High Court judge Michael Kirby, who chaired the inquiry, said the atrocities were “strikingly similar” to those committed by Nazi Germany.
Among the horrors uncovered by investigators was the story of a mother forced by officials to drown her new-born baby in a bucket because the child wasn’t considered racially pure.
Inmates of North Korea’s notorious prison camps are so short of food that they catch snakes and mice for the pot and eat grass in a desperate bid to stay alive.
One seven-year-old girl prisoner was beaten to death by a guard for the crime of secreting a few grains of corn in her pocket. Another family was tortured after they were caught watching a foreign TV soap opera.
Meanwhile party bosses increased imports of luxury goods, including fine cognacs and whiskies, to a record £380m in 2012. Isn’t socialism marvellous?
Left-wingers in the West will complain that it is unfair to compare their vision of equality and brotherhood to the evils of the deranged tyrant Kim Jong-un.
Perhaps, but from the Soviet Union, to eastern Europe, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Cuba and of course North Korea, socialism has an appalling human rights record that it puts it on a par with fascism.
The simple truth is that the extremes of right and left both advocate giving the state untrammelled powers over individuals, and the results are always the same – mass murder, torture, starvation and the crushing of the human spirit.
Mr Kirby was so appalled by his report’s findings that he urged the international community to take action and said Kim Jong-un should be held personally responsible. The trouble is that North Korea is belligerent, unstable and armed with nuclear weapons. In these circumstances, it is difficult to see what the West can do other than to try to stem the of luxury goods to the country’s elite.
In a sane world the West – led by the United States, – would put pressure on North Korea’s main ally, China, to try to curb the worst of the abuses. But the US, led by the empty suit that is Barack Obama, has much diminished credibility on the international stage these days.
Obama laid down “red lines” to Syria over chemical weapons in 2012, and then backed down when President Bashar al-Assad crossed them the following year. In the light of this evident weakness and lack of purpose, what chance is there that China or North Korea will take any notice of what America says?
I’m afraid in the absence of more effective leadership there is little we can do about North Korea other than look on in horror, pray for its poor people and hope the economic and political collapse – which comes to all socialist regimes eventually – is not too far away.
A few years back global warming alarmists were telling us that our world was about to get much hotter and drier.
Here in the UK we were told by the climate “experts” that our children would never experience snow and we would have to plant our gardens with Mediterranean-style plants in order to withstand the extreme drought. But rather than experiencing rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall, our recent winters have been exceptionally cold and this one has been very wet. The response from those same experts? “We told you so!” The catch-all term “climate change” can be twisted to explain any weather pattern.
But once a scientific theory becomes unfalsifiable, it ceases to be a scientific theory.