N Korea has lost a few defectors lately to the South, who have not been shy about the conditions they endured in the North. Stomach parasites and eating lice are just the beginning of…
The recent defection and life threatening escape of a 24-year-old soldier identified only as “Oh” from North Korea to the South has brought increased attention to the situation of people living under the brutal regime of Kim Jong-un.
Oh is presently hospitalized with gunshot wounds delivered at the hands of his fellow soldiers and an infestation of stomach parasites. Others who have escaped from the North report their own hellish experiences with day to day survival.
One who is telling his story is Lee Wi-ryeok, who described his childhood in a North Korea orphanage during the late 90s. He says he’s haunted by the horrors of his childhood to this day. He talked of how tuberculosis and other diseases were often fatal due to a lack of medicine.
He told reporters, “After I came to South Korea, I was amazed to learn tuberculosis is a disease that can be treated.” He explained that during the years of the Great Famine, the time of his childhood in a North Korea orphanage, food was scarce across the entire nation, with conditions being much worse inside orphanages.
He described just how bad it was, saying, “If a cow excreted kernels of corn in the form of diarrhea, we would rinse them out and eat those.” He said orphan children like him would also eat lice in order to fill their bellies.
He described eating the parasites, saying, “When you bite into lice they would burst with blood.” He said that the children almost felt obligated to consume the lice because they contained their own blood and to not eat them would have been wasteful.
He went on to describe the torturous treatments the children endured in the effort to rid them of mites. He said administrators would build a bonfire and then would force the children to remain next to it. He said administrators would “beat the children with a stick” if they attempted to escape and that children often received painful burns.
But Kim’s got his missiles and the national stage and that’s what is important. All he, his father and his grandfather had to do to get them was enslave their entire nation and kill substantial numbers of their people. Undoubtedly they think it’s more than worth the “small” sacrifice of the “insignificant” peasants.
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