Campus Supporting North Korea Human Rights

[imText1]The University Student’s Alliance for North Korean Democracy began a united campaign at Myungji University on the 27th, for the “2007 Understanding Modern North Korea- the truth about North Korea human rights and fallacies” forum.

The University Student’s Alliance (www.youngnk.org) is planning to hold a 20 part series forum throughout the year in an accord with various universities in Korea. The student’s alliance was established in 2005 and has been promoting the awareness of North Korean democratization through lectures and forums at respective universities.

Speakers at the forum will include, Ryu Geun Il, former chief editor of the Chosun Ilbo, Kim Tae Woo, senior researcher of the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, Lee Choon Kun, vice-president of the Center for Free Enterprise and Hong Jin Pyo, executive director for Liberty Union.

[imText2]The first of the forums was held at Myungji University with an opening performance by ZiNKa (Zoom in North Korea) one of the clubs at Myungji University.

The alliance says, “The purpose of the forum is to foster greater awareness of the human rights situation in North Korea and discerning interest from university students for change” and revealed, “We hope that students will be able to perceive internal issues in North Korea as something they need to value.”

The first speaker at the forum was Sohn Kwang Joo, chief editor of the DailyNK. Targeting the future of the six party talks and North Korea’s recent directional change, Sohn lectured on the North Korea’s strategic stance on the Feb 13 Agreement and relations with the U.S.

Choi Jae Kwang, a freshman at Myungji University questioned, “You say that Kim Jong Il’s ultimate goal is to sustain the regime. Are you saying that he is only interested in the regime’s existence and does not care about the current dire situation of starvation?”

Sohn responded, “In principle, there is a measure in socialism which upholds the people or the population of a society…In Kim Jong Il’s perspective of humanism, this measure is determined by your conformity to the leaders totalitarianism.”

As 3mn people were dying of starvation in the mid-90’s, Kim Jong Il paid little attention to the crisis that was killing his people and rather spent millions of won on his father’s special grave, Mansusan Memorial Palace. Sohn explained, “This just goes to show that he considers totalitarianism more precious than the people’s hunger.”

[imText3]When questioned what truly scared Kim Jong Il on the issue of North Korea human rights, Sohn replied, “In a totalitarian regime, there is propaganda and deception. From a different perspective, it is basically murder. Kim Jong Il’s greatest fear is his truth being revealed.”

Following the lecture, the students watched a documentary about North Korea’s food crisis, “A Flowery Garden” and engaged in a discussion with defectors, also current university students.

A student studying business, Han Chang Hwa who casually came along to the forum having seen an advertisement said, “I came without much thought and am so baffled by everything” referring to the real state of North Korea.

Once a student at North Korea’s Geumsong Political University in Pyongyang, a defector and currently a student at Sogang University, Han Song Joo gave testimony to the state of totalitarianism in North Korea, “I thought the universe was collapsing when Kim Il Sung died. I thought the world would end but it didn’t.”

The forum will continue until May 23rd and take place at universities such as Sookmyung Women’s University, Kyunghee University, Hanyang University and Sogang University.

The next forum is set to take place on Aril 2nd at Sookmyung Women’s University with the chief editor of the Chosun Ilbo, Ryu Geun Il, speaking on North Korea human rights in relation to the 2007 South Korean presidential election.

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