What Does the International Community do Concerning North Korea?: A Possible Approach to the North Korean Crisis


North Korea Nuclear Reboot

Americans are often familiar with the showcase country of Communist rule, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, more commonly referred to as, North Korea. The news often reports on the “axis of evil” with headlines of their escalating tensions with Seoul, Korea and Washington DC or the strange and lavish life style of the current dictator Kim Jong Un to the elaborate parades of power and uniformity. But too often, the media neglects the crisis that ensnares North Korea. It is only recently that the world gave notice to North Korea’s history of appalling Human Rights violations, thanks to the recent United Nations report. The ill treatment and oppression is not a new situation in North Korea, but one that has been perpetuated from the beginning of the country. It is almost as if this oppressive trait was passed down from the “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung, to his grandson Kim Jong Un.
Given the reoccurring circumstances of Human Rights abuses and oppressive dictatorships in North Korea, most if not all, can soundly agree that this atrocity that the UN so eloquently puts, “gravity, scale and nature of [human rights] violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world”. Many cite World War II as an atrocity that we must never allow to happen again. These words are said in vain while we allow for masses to be oppressed by their government. This situation in North Korea which has no parallel today should not be allowed to continue; but what is to be done? Does the international community step in and intervene on behalf of the people or issue more sanctions? Or should the change in government be brought about by only the people? The under lying question is, what is the best solution that will not be the result of bloodshed and violence?
This question creates a moral dilemma of what is the right thing to do. Naturally most might agree that a government dismantling organized by an international community would be beneficial. However, doing such would violate international laws as being unjustified acts of war. Does the international community, step in and protect the rights that we are ensured, or does it stand on the side lines waiting for the north Korean people to move? The best solution to this situation is to empower the people for their own revolution; one that is orchestrated and organized solely by the people but equipped by international communities. The international community can assist in aid and relief as well as imposing sanctions and put pressure on the North Korean regime. It is not in the authority of a country or even the United Nations to dismantle and violate another country’s sovereignty. Past communist overthrows such as the fall of Communist Romania as well as testimonies from North Korean defectors will be analyzed to support the claim of a citizen led revolution. The UN report of Human Rights violations will be looked at to further demonstrate the importance of change in North Korea.
Throughout this post the term “the international communities” is referred to, it means not only the United Nations and various countries but also the citizens of these countries and NGOs. The reason being is, Eleanor Roosevelt explains eloquently where human rights begins, “Where, after all do Human Rights begin? In small places close to home. So close and so small they cannot be seen on any maps of the world, yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in, the school or college he attends, the factory, farm or office where he works…. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere” In other words, it starts with everyday people, not with governing bodies.north-korea-prison-drawings4.w1120.h776

On February 7, 2014, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea. published a 400 page report of the Human Rights abuses in North Korea. The report outlines the human rights abuses in North Korea and states,
“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,”
Given the irrefutable evidence provided by the UN of human rights abuses committed by the North Korean government makes it all the more clear to take action against this atrocity. This has been known throughout the world for quite some time now, but it has taken years for a formal investigation to be conducted by the United Nations; this delay in action will hinder progress of change in North Korea.

They next question that needs to be asked is, are there signs of change or do NK citizens still hold to the regime? There are signs of change in North Korea; people are starting to not believe government propaganda and more citizens are fleeing the country. Chae Young-hee who is a North Korean citizen living in and working in China tells the Guardian reporter in North Korea: the new generation losing faith in the regime, of the change taking place in North Korea. Chae says,
“Before, people said a lot of really bad things about South Korea; they don’t any more. Also, you just see people disappear; it often means they have left North Korea. And if you are with people you are very, very close to, you might express your position; you might say ‘I’d like to leave if I could’ she continues to say, “[North Korean] People started knowing how the world was … People have been watching videos from overseas for a while and a lot of people have gone abroad and come back and talked about how life is [outside],”Malnourished children in North Korea With more and more North Koreans gaining access to media or the outside world a desire for a different life grows stronger and greater. This is how change can happen. When they are shown the truth beyond the regime’s deceit.

These decisions should not be left to us who look in from the outside, but those who have experienced and seen what we have not. Furthermore we cannot make decisions for a future that does not belong to us. The best answers to this situation comes from detectors from North Korea. These defectors now reside in South Korea, the united States and various other parts of the world. The site NKnews.org published What should the intl. community do to help the people of North Korea?, a survey asking North Korean defectors this very same question—What should the international community do with North Korea? The world is familiar with the usual outcome or response of international condemnation of North Korea. Some would say it is pointless or futile to continue taking the legal and diplomatic route through imposed sanctions. One of the defectors in the survey named Nah Youngkoh, says otherwise. In the early 2000’s, pictures of executions in North korea surfaced and offered insight for the international community conditions in North Korea. Youngkoh says that,

“North Korea was severely criticized by the international community – and shortly afterwards there was a temporary halt to the practice of public capital punishment.”

Contrary to popular belief, the efforts of the international community to curb the rouge nation were not in vain, and so the must continue to put pressure on North Korea. This task is not set only upon the shoulders of governing bodies or NGOs but on everyday people. This does not mean quit your day job and cross the border into DPRK. If there is a large enough outcry, the UN or State governments, will be forced to act. There are numerous way to put pressure on organizations with influence. Petitions and protests are both effective ways to amass support and add weight to the pressure put on the North Korean government.
Another reason why the governments should not be soley responsible as Sung-Guk Choi, another North Korean defector that was surveyed explains,
“Humanitarian aid to North Korea should not come from governments. Humanitarian aid should instead come from North Korean defectors and NGOs. The aid should then go directly to the North Korean people, to help improve their financial well-being and general health.” In the past aid has been diverted to North Korea’s elite and is distributed unequally.

The route of diplomacy, that is negotions, is one that should not be abandoned. Madeleine Albright U.S. Secretary of State (1996-2000) was asked in an interview on Frontline, was asked about negotiations with Kim Jong Il and that some disagree to their effectiveness and that they shouldn’t be conducted. Albright responds by saying, ‘I completely disagree because I believe that it is essential to see whether there’s a way to have some agreements. We talked to Stalin, we talked to Mao, we talked to Khrushchev, and Brezhnev. We made agreements. I don’t consider talking appeasement. It depends on what it is you agree to, but I think it is very much worth having conversations and delivering a very tough message.’ She cites that negotiations have been made with past dictators and leaders, such as Stalin and Mao who ruled with an iron fist, which most would think would be a waste of time.

The world has seen Communist regimes rise and fall. There is one revolution that took place only 25 years ago that ended in a bloody resolve. Communist Romania fell after the leaders Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were captured and executed after a botched trial. Donald G. McNeill  Jr. writes for the New York Times in 1999,  “The verdict, though not stated, was clear, since the firing squad traveled in the same helicopters with the judges.” It is emaparitive to promote justice and what is right instead of carrying out an act that attempts to correct injustice with injustice. Article seven of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” This includes tyrants such as Kim Jong Un. Committing an act that is contrary to this article of the UDHR and infringing upon this right, will create an unstable foundation for a democratic country.
This issue has become important to me as I hope it will with you. It started when I was a freshman in high school, I was like any other kid. My life was radically changed as well as my perspective of the world around me after a watched National Geographic’s Inside Look in North Korea.

The way I saw people and the world around me has never been the same. I was shocked at how an atrocity like this in North Korea was happening and I didn’t have a clue about it. The crisis in North Korea was all I could think about, so much so that my first essay for freshman English was about North Korea. As I read my thesis statement to the class, everyone looked at me in shock. Some asked me, “How do you know about this?” I was shocked that my peers were so unaware of what was happening. That became the moment where I decided I needed to continue to inform people about what is happening because I knew at that young age, you have to learn to walk before you can run, and so to bring change or make a difference in any situation people have to know what the problem is.

In the documentary, Seoul Train, a camera crew documents the journey of a group of people who are defecting from North Korea. There was this women in the group, and what she said was so powerful and has stuck with me ever since. She said something along the lines of, the North Korean people have no voice, and that we have to be their voice. In such a powerful yet simple way she deputized those who heard her words with the responsibility to be the voice for the voiceless.
Right now the international community is not doing what it could be in handling this situation. As people who share in the rights granted to by being human, it is our duty to protect those whose same rights are infringed upon. It reads in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

“Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

Unfortunately the international community has acted far too late and it appears as though a rebellion is the remedy for North Korea. This change in the future of North Koreans is not and should not be manipulated by the international community but instead should be equipped and strengthened by the international community.


Event Review 2

800px-Stephanie_Coontz_01On December 5th I attended my first guest lecture called, 50 Years of Gender Revolution. The guest speaker was Stephanie Coontz who teaches history at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. The event was put on and sponsored by the UH Manoa American Studies program. This topic was completely out of my areas of interest and I admit I don’t really know a great deal about this subject, and I guess that has something to do with the generation I was born into, but I’m not entirely clueless. And so, I walked into the lecture not knowing what to expect. But isn’t that exploring?

I was very impressed by Coontz’ scholarly background. She has appeared on various television interviews ranging from news outlets to shows like the Colbert Report. Her works and writings have been featured in the New York Times as well as Vogue Magazine. But despite her impressive background,  I was slightly disturbed by some of the statements she was making. The reason that is so is it seemed like most of her lecture she brought up an overwhelming amount of statistics. Some of which were the rise in women’s salaries and the fall of men’s. Almost all of her of her statistics were something of men’s falling or decreasing while that of women’s increased or rose. Its not the volume of statistics that she brought up that disturbed me but the way she presented them. She stated that she was not rejoicing in these changes but I found that a little difficult to believe because of what seemed like joy in her voice.

I must make it absolutely clear that I am not a sexist nor am I misogynist and I firmly believe there cannot be equality if one side is elevated over another, even if that side has been on the lower end before, because then we’ll just have another case of inequality. I must say, I think it is difficult for me to understand it all or even appreciate these statistics because I am a male and primarily because I did not grow up in that time period and I did not see how women were treated and deprived of their rights. Despite the large amount of statistics, Coontz painted a picture of how women were treated.  Overall it was an interesting and different and not what I’m used to lecture.

A Very Important Day


Eleanor Roosevelt presenting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the United Nations General Assembly

December 10, marks an incredibly important day in history that is often overlooked or forgotten. On this day, in 1948 Eleanor Roosevelt presented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to the United Nations General Assembly. And on this day the nations of the world adopted the idea that every person has certain undeniable rights simply because they are human, regardless of their race, nationality, gender, age and so on.
It took two world wars and over ninety million deaths world wide for this idea to be created. There are thirty articles in the declaration stating specifically what each right is.
I feel that the UDHR has not been as successful as say our constitutional rights because the public is not educated on the Human Rights like they are with the constitutional rights. I hope that one day this will be realized and the UDHR will be taught in schools around the world. It is my opinion that the UDHR is not meant just for governments but to also serve as sort of like a guide line to the average person on how to treat those around them. Eleanor Roosevelt put it so beautifully, she said,

“Where after all do universal human rights begin? In small places, closes to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: The neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

The UDHR has had a huge impact on my life. Although the UDHR is not a law I feel these rights should be protected. In the recent years I have seen countless times where people’s human rights are infringed upon and it pains me to see it happen and to sit here helplessly. That is why I am continuing my education to get a BS in Political Science and hopefully study International Law at the United Nations University of Peace, so I can equip myself with the best tools available to protect our Human Rights.

Religious Syncretism

thINPSHJ7GIn World history 151 we had just finished reading the Epic of Sundiata. During one of the lectures Prof. Chappell was talking about how one will notice the syncretism of Islam and and traditional eliefs in that particularpart of Africa. It was very peculiar, they would say things like”Allah the almighty” but believed in other spirits and such. I pondered the contradiction of practicing a religion that has faith in one supreme God yet believes in other supernatural beings and it dawned on me, that this same is done right here in Hawaii! Many times I have heard from people, particularly those who are native Hawaiian who are practicing Christians talk about Hawaiian superstitions and I have heard from a good amount of Christian Hawaiians that they have seen or encountered Pele. The story I’ll here goes something like, “I saw an old lady in a white Mu’u mu’u walking her dog on the side of the road and when I went back the grass had burn marks in the shape of feet.” I do not mean to mock these people’s beliefs but I cant understand how someone can be part of a religion that believes in one supreme god but also believes in other gods. I think this syncretism occurs in various places because of where the person was raised and the environment of their upbringing. The people I mentioned earlier grew up on Kauai and Lanai. I infer that these outer islands haven’t let go of their cultural identies as much as those here on Oahu. And perhaps that might be because there was and is much more national and international travelers and settlers here on Oahu that influenced the culture, just like the trade cities in Africa.

Event Review

WP_001229 For this assignment, I wanted to attend an event that I wouldn’t normally go to, something outside of my interests. How can one experience what UH has to offer if one doesn’t t explore? Saturday night I attended the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Theater. The dance production that was being presented was called Look Back Move Forward, it highlighted the different dance styles and works that have made their way through Kennedy Theater or were prFINALDANCElogoesented for the first time. The production was directed by Betsy Fisher, UHM Professor of Dance, and had a team of choreographers that include: Yukie Shiroma, Tony Young, Andrew Sakaguchi, Vicky Holt Takamine, Cheryl Flaharty and Jean Erdman.

It was my first time ever attending a dance performance and I had no idea what to expect. The opening scene was incredible and it was what I believe was a perfect and beautiful representation of the University’s mission of bridging east and west. The scene was called the Other Rhythm and was a blend of Hula and Bharatanatyam dance, a classical Indian dance. At first the dances were separate but later fused together into a stunning display. My favorite act was You’re the One For Me (1997) a humorous and intense scene depicting the love story of Kamapua’a, Hawaiian pig god, and Pele.

Something I thought about during the act Blue Green (1980) was the scene was dance was like literature and it was probably more than a dance but perhaps also a story or it symbolized something. I then began analyzing the scene as if it has been a piece of literature and I paid attention to the small details. For instance, I wondered if the blue and green dresses were symbolic or if there was a reason as to way the green dancer would mimic the blue dance but the music they both danced to differed.

During all the dance scenes the amount of dedication was evident in every performer. What may have seemed like random movements was to me movements that were choreographed then rehearsed and rehearsed until it became second nature. I thought only a person who is passionate about dance would be able to endure such a physically and mentally demanding art, and that is what I believe made the performance beautiful.

Since attending this event I have now become aware that the University has a dance program that has five full-time faculty members and that, of course, one can earn a bachelors in the dance program. I questioned why would a university give a degree in such a program and how might it be used? I later realized that there are other degrees that may seem impractical to some and dont have the “job security” attached as other majors may have but are still offered at the University. A bachelors in Dance would serve as a way to show that the person who earned the degree has the skills, knowledge and background  that are necessary to be part of a professional dance production.

Would I recommend this event? I would only do so if the person was one who has an appreciation for dance. Would I go again? Perhaps, if someone paid for my admission.

Bibliography Draft

I looked into what style Political Science researcher uses and I found that they use the American Political Science Association style. I read that it is similar to Chicago style. Also I was not sure if this draft was only to include primary sources.

Works Cited

 Documents of Chinese Communist Party Central Committee: sept. 1956-apr. 1969. Hong Kong: Union Research Institute, 19711974.

Eight National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1973.

Kim, Il Sung. The present situation and the tasks of our party; report at the conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea, October 5, 1966. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1966.

Kim, Il Sung. Let us defend independency. Pyongyang: D.P.R.K., Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1966.

Kim, Il Sung. On the juche idea (excerpts). Pyongyang, Korea: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1979.

Lenin, Vladimir IlÊich. State and revolution. New York: International Publishers, 1932.

Lenin, Vladimir IlÊich. What is to be done?. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963.

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist manifesto. London: Pluto, 2008.

Pak, Hyobom. Documents of the Chinese Communist Party, 1927-1930; 89 documents selected from Chung-yang tung-hsun,. Hong Kong: Union Research Institute, 1971.

Zhang, Guotao. The rise of the Chinese Communist Party; the autobiography of Chang Kuo-tao.. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 197172.

Fifty fighting years: CPI golden jubilee album.. New Delhi: Communist Party of India, 1975.

Outfield Interview Draft

I wanted to interview a faculty member in a Department I feel most would over look. I look at the departments page and saw the College of Education and I thought that would be a unique interview and educational research, although interesting, is not something I would particularly want to research. I looked through only a few faculty member webpages because there were so many and came across Dr. Yamauchi. I later met with Professor Yamauchi who is a professor in the department of educational psychology. I got to meet with her and talk about her research. Through this interview I was able to become more aware of what educational research might entail and how one conducts it.

As Prof. Yamauchi talked, she began to explain what kind of research she does as a professor in the department of education. Prof. Yamauchi researches how children who have culturally diverse backgrounds and indigenous language speaking children learn and preform in school. Prof. Yamauchi applies the CREDE standards for teaching. CREDE stands for Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. Prof. Yamauchi added that CREDE has been adopted in Greenland and she’ll sometimes get calls from friends in Greenland asking what should they put into their education laws.

The way Prof. Yamauchi carries out her research is her and, or, her team will go to a classroom and videotape the teacher teaching. The teacher and fellow colleagues will be shown the video, this gives a chance for the teachers to see how other people teach which gives them new insights on strategies that are effective and ineffective. Prof. Yamauchi also said much of her research has been reading articles and publications related to her study. She said that when she started researching this topic she read to see what information was out there on this subject. Prof. Yamauchi said she tries to keep up with any new publications that might come out as they may offer new information.

Perhaps the most important question one can ask a researcher of any field is, how did you become interested in this field? Prof. Yamauchi shared her academic research journey and how it has evolved over time. Part of which she was influenced by growing up in Hawaii. She said she feels the immigrants have some kind of obligation to take care of the native peoples.

Prof. Yamauchi’s research is evident that research is not bound to your field and can cross a variety of studies. As she explained what her research entails, one can see her research involves language, anthropology, political science.

Primamry Sources

Here is a list of the primary sources I have found so far.

The Communist Manifesto- Karl Marx

Kim Il Sung on the Juche Idea: Excerpts- Kim Il Sung

The Present Situation and the Tasks of Our Party- Kim Il Sung, 1966

Let Us Defend Independency, Kim Il Sung

Fifty Fighting Years, CPI Golden Jubilee Album- Communist Party of India, 1975 (Pictures of newspaper articles)

Documents of the Chinese Communist Party, 1927-1930

Documents of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, Sept. 1956- Apr. 1969

Eight National Congress of the Communist Party of China-Documents

The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party (autobiography of Zhang Guotao)

What is to be Done?- Vladimir Lenin, 1902

The State and Revolution-Vladimir Lenin 1917


The Importantce of Language

First off, I would like to say I found Dr. Drager’s presentation on her research in Pidgin very interesting. It’s interesting because most people look down on Pidgin speakers as being uneducated, and she’s doing academic research on it. It is rather peculiar that in the small area of Hawaii, in my opinion, Pidgin varies from island to island. From my conversations with people from the outer islands they sound a little different when they speak Pidgin and they have different slang words. I was thinking about participating in Dr. Drager’s research studies because it seemed interesting and it would be nice to make a contribution to knowledge.

Though both topics are concerning language I put them in the same post, despite their different subjects. I was sent an email from Human Rights Watch containing a link to a video. The video is about sign language in Kenya and how important it is to teach deaf children sign language. According to Jenny Nilsson, Human Rights Watch Disability Rights Specialist, “Today, deaf children and young people worldwide are too often denied their right to education.” Many deaf children don’t learn sign language because their families think they don’t have the right or ability to be able to go to school and that there is a lack of people educated in sign language. Without the education of sign language to deaf children, educators are unable to impart skills and knowledge that is vital to one’s success.

Although there is added education for deaf children in Kenya, there is apparently a lack of support for deaf people in college. A deaf college student majoring in accounting, Alfred Muriki, tells of his struggles in college. Alfred says that in some of his classes he copies the notes of a person sitting next to him and if he has a question, he writes it down and has that person ask the professor, and then that person will write down what the professor said. It’s people like Alfred who work so hard for their education that give us over privileged Americans no excuse not to do well in school.

After hearing Dr. Drager’s presentation on her research and watching this video, I can say I now understand the importance of studying languages.

The Emergence of Capitalism in a Communist Country?

I had been looking forward to and anticipating the release of Liberty in North Korea’s (LiNK) final video upload during their Bridge to North Korea campaign. The video is somewhat, but not directly, related to my research question.  Over the time of about a month or so, LiNK had proposed that they were going to “build a bridge to north Korea that cannot be torn down.” I thought to myself what could they possibly be talking about. Of course, I came to find out that they were speaking figuratively. They were not building a physical bridge but rather a bridge that makes a difference in the lives of some North Koreans. This bridge is made by refugees who send money to their friends and families that are still in North Korea. I’ve asked myself the same question I’m sure many have thought of, what is the solution to the Human Rights crisis in North Korea? I thought maybe the solution to could be found in international intervention such as the U.N. But I realized what is the UN going to do? Give North Korea more sanctions? After watching this video, I believe that the grass root marketization of North Korea is a step to freedom in North Korea. It may be miniscule or significant, either way it is a step in the right direction. I picked up a message or theme from this video, whether it was intended or not, that the capitalist economic system works. Capitalism in North Korea allows and equips the people with the ability to provide basic necessities for their families, break from dependence on the regime, and acquire goods and information that has been banned in the country. I wonder, will this eventually lead to the toppling of the Kim regime? It only takes a spark to light the flame.