"If We Were Caught, Everybody Would Be Dead"


The Los Angeles Times reports on a moving image of dissidence in North Korea:

With shaking hands, the North Korean climbed onto the shoulders of a buddy to reach the underside of the bridge. As another accomplice stood guard, he hung up a banner denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in bright red paint.

Then he took out a video camera, disguised to look like a carton of cigarettes, and filmed his handiwork for posterity….

"If we were caught, everybody would be dead," said the man, who goes by the name Park Dae Heung.

The 33-minute tape has created a sensation in Japan and South Korea, where it has aired repeatedly. South Korean human rights advocates say it is the first evidence of a nascent dissident movement inside North Korea.

There is controversy over what motivated the filmmakers–pure hatred for the regime or the knowledge that Japanese television stations would pay thousands for such footage. But why should it matter? It's solid proof of dissent in a nation of people supposedly brainwashed into slavish reverence for a dumpy, bespectacled tyrant whose entire wardrobe consists of khaki windbreakers:

"The camera is our weapon," Park said. "We wanted to break the myth that North Korea is an impenetrable fortress…"

Film here.
LA Times piece here.

NEXT: Dramatic License

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  1. whose entire wardrobe consists of khaki windbreakers

    What a Sara Jessica Parker wannabe. Ugh.

  2. Awesome.

  3. I would pay top dollar for any video footage of Fearless Leader singing, “I’m So Ronery.”

  4. whose entire wardrobe consists of khaki windbreakers

    If he gets those babies in Silver and Black, he?d be first in line to succeed Al Davis as owner of the Raiders.

  5. I salute those North Korean dissidents for demonstrating the very best side of humanity.

  6. SPD – my thoughts exactly.

    thoreau – although yours are much more noble…and also true.

  7. god help those people. i don’t think anyone does something like that for the money.

  8. I agree with Gaius. As ruthless as the North Korean government is known to be, I don’t think a little money is the sole motivation.

    I hope others are brave enough to continue.

  9. This film is old. I saw it last year on the Web.

  10. Thanks for providing this food for thought.

    What guts it must have taken to do this.

    Think about how blessed we are. Western film-maker-dissident-wannabees get awards, speaking tours and make millions for this. Our complaints about ‘stifling dissent’ and ‘eroding rights’ come to us not from jailed opposition figures or starving refugees, but on nationally-televised news programs and in the pages of our largest newspapers.

    Those who confuse street theatre and a televised arrest in plastic handcuffs — followed by due process, bail and a press conference — with real dissent have no idea how frightening it must be to stand up to a real police state. How many would march knowing that getting carted away might mean never being heard from again?

    Contemplating North Korea — and totalitarian countries I’ve visited — makes all the recent domestic whining about living in a fascist theocracy sound pretty lame. A bumper sticker seen recently said, “I love my country but fear my government.” Apparently, the driver didn’t fear the government enough to refrain from making such a complaint so publicly, blissfully secure in the expectation that no harm would come from doing so.

  11. Cosmo-

    Indeed, we are fortunate. I maintain that one of the reasons why we remain free is precisely because we do react indignantly to even the smallest perceived infringement of liberty. Our whiners are the canaries in the coal mine: As long as they’re whining, we know it’s safe. If they stop making noise, we should all be very worried.

  12. Dan Rather, take note: that’s what courage really means.

  13. Freedom and democracy are the inalienable right of every human being, and sooner or later everyone will realize that truth and demand what’s theirs.

  14. Cosmo – there can be verying levels of fear, too. I agree with the sentiment of that bumper sticker…one of the reasons I would not sport one is because I really do fear my government.

  15. Low, I had that bumper sticker…on my truck for a while….but I cut the pot leaf off. No sense in tempting the nice officer into an illegal search of the car which would just piss me off.

    Just ’cause yer not paranoid doesn’t mean they ain’t out to get you.



    Now, the kids are out like trout and I’m going to watch House kill his ex-old-lady’s husband.

  16. Thoreau:

    Wise and comforting words. Thanks.


    Having lived and done business in a police state — and having traveled in or done business in others — I became acquainted with the relexive fear and hesitation of people living in the shadow of absolute power, that perfect fusion of corruption and might, unrestrained and unacccountable to any higher, outside authority.

    No relief from, or remedy for, abuse. No crusading journalists. No activist lawyers. And little support from cowed friends and neighbors. Cross the wrong person — no matter how accidentally or how much in the right you were — and hardship could not only befall you, but damage education and employment prospect for family members for generations.

    This all becomes more apparent on visits home, when I wanted to mouth off about poor service or flip the bird at someone who’d cut me off. How different not to have to worry about a pair of policemen coming by to settle a score for someone powerful enough to make such things happen.

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