Please take a moment to read this (thank you): At Christmas and year’s end, we consider our many blessings. After faith, life, family, and health, the greatest of all is the freedom we enjoy. So as you go to church, light a candle, say your prayers, eat your Christmas or Hanukkah feast, as you raise your toasts, and as you make your New Year’s resolutions, please think of and — most importantly — pray for the people of North Korea (aka, DPRK), for here is how the Christmas season will look to them.
All but the elite will survive on 500 grams of food. That’s about a pound of caloric intake. Most of us survive on 3-4 lbs/day.
The government has recently cut back on alcohol availability because inebriated people are more likely to express uninhibited opinions about the government.
Watching South Korean DVDs or listening to K-Pop can get you and your family thrown into jail. The idea in the DPRK is to punish three generations. Thus if you are arrested, so will be your parents and your children. And you will be sent to kwalliso, gulags, where the ration is 200 grams of millet or ground corn with maybe a vermin infested cabbage leaf. You can be shot for picking undigested corn out of cow dung or for trapping and eating rats or even picking weeds to supplement your diet. You will work 12 hours today and then be required to attend education classes on class struggle. Woe to you if you fall asleep during class.
Because you are a criminal (if you weren’t a true criminal, why would the Supreme Leader have had you sent here, right?), the guards will treat you as less than human. They can treat you with impunity. Anything goes. Rape. Torture. Killing. Scientific experiments, including NBC.
If you are a woman and give sexual favors to a guard in return for food or warm clothing or bedding for the often brutally cold winters, pray you don’t get pregnant. Getting an inmate pregnant would not only end the guard’s career, it could end up with his imprisonment. He will stop at nothing to ensure that won’t happen. One guard enjoined a buddy to help him play soccer with his inmate’s swollen pregnant belly. If memory serves, she died.
They even have a real life Hunger Games. To help their security forces learn to track and kill escapees, inmates will cruelly be told they can go free if they can elude those trying to catch them. They are taken to a remote, wooded location and told to escape. It is possible that some have made it to safety. However it is not likely that a starving person in harsh conditions and difficult terrain can do this.
At least once there was an uprising in a prison camp. For a day or so, it was successful. Then security forces from other, nearby camps were brought in. Much of the camp population was killed, mowed down by machine guns, and the camp razed to the ground.
For the nation’s general population, what vegetative food is grown is fertilized with uncured human excrement. That means parasites grow within you. Lots and lots of parasites.
If your family lives in another province or area, you have to obtain special permission to visit them.
If you want to have a gathering of friends in your home, you will be watched by a neighbor who has been assigned five other households on which to spy. They will report back every last detail. If that person comes into your house and sees the pictures of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il not in perfect alignment and free of dust, you can be sent to the kwalliso. If you have a radio that is tuned to anything but official government media, you can be sent to the kwalliso or executed.
If you are caught with a Bible, rosary (however, there are likely no Catholics as such left), cross, crucifix, or other religious paraphernalia (especially of the Christian variety), you can not only be sent to the kwalliso, you can be summarily executed.
If you escape across the northern border and the Chinese catch you, they will repatriate you. And when that happens, guess what the DPRK authorities will do. Yep. The kwalliso.
If you are lucky enough to avoid capture, there is no short cut into South Korea (ROK). Instead you have to either get to Mongolia or travel to Laos or Malaysia and from there to Thailand, where there are North Korean refugee camps. Then after a lengthy process designed to ensure you’re not a DPRK spy, you can get to the ROK. That could, however, take a long time.
In the meantime, anyone you left behind — spouses, children, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, possibly friends, namely, anyone who was related to you or who could have known of your defection/escape plans and did nothing to stop you — will likely end up in the kwalliso (if you want to see these, Google “Google Earth” and kwalliso. Or just look up kwalliso on YouTube.)
So praise God for our freedoms and right to worship and family and friends and food and drink and all the other things that make wherever you live in the world a veritable paradise in comparison.
But, please, pray for these poor souls who know neither comfort or Christ.
Merry Christmas, and may Jesus be born alive in your heart.