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“Inside North Korea,” presented by the Global Awareness Club

May 2nd


The Shasta College Global Awareness held its’ first event last Thursday as they provided a free screening of the film “Inside North Korea.” The event was focused on whether the United States should wage war with the isolationist, communist nation.


The film itself followed a doctor from Nepal who was traveling to North Korea to provide 1000 surgeries on people who were blind because of cataracts. The film crew and medical team got an inside look at the nation of which not a great deal is known to many.


If it’s not already known, North Korea has one TV channel, which is controlled by the state and so are the media there. The amount of propaganda present in this society and its’ alarming effect on the general population makes Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Geubles look tame.


The rule of North Korea is based on the Jooché ideology, a philosophy written by Kim Il Sung. Every book that was on the bookshelf of a hospital that the film crew went to was written by Sung, the first “Great Leader” of North Korea.


Sung was at the forefront of a rebellion which took place against Japan, which had colonized North Korea in the 1910s. Sung rose to power and invaded the South in 1950 as a way to try and reunite the country. The resulting Korean War did not end, but has resulted in a ceasefire that is still in effect today under the rule of Kim Jong Un.


The hierarchy of the North is paranoid about defectors, and their propaganda insists that people of the South are jealous of the North and want to go there and leave one of the most prosperous nations in the world for one of the poorest nations.


After the film, Vice-President Jerin McClung read a chilling and graphic testimony of Soon Ok Lee who had escaped North Korea after being held in a prison camp for five years for a crime she did not commit.


The testimony, read to the U.S. Congress, described the horrors that she witnessed and the cruel treatment that took place in the prison camp that she was in.


After this, club President Kenana Wahbi and McClung started a discussion and played both sides of the spectrum which was one of the main points of the event: whether the U.S. should go to war or not with North Korea.


Eventually, a rather contentious and sometimes unorganized debate on this hot issue arose which prompted faculty advisor Dr. John Whitmer to get up and ask people to exercise “classroom management.”


“I think it is an issue that people care deeply about and it invokes emotion” said Whitmer in an interview. “I don’t think the discussion was getting out of hand…me speaking up was just to get a pause and get some direction.”


Overall, the Global Awareness Club is very knowledgeable about their stuff as evidenced by the quality of information brought up last Thursday. If the United States went to war and eliminated the controlling government, then what would happen?


McClung spoke of a plan that has been in place with South Korea and the U.S. so that the South can re-absorb the North.


There has also been a lot of reports on the news lately about North Korea trying to start a war, however McClung just says it’s saber-rattling. He said North Korea goes in stages about every 20 years and they will saber-rattle and threaten until they get their food aid; even though Kim Jong Il expelled many aid workers during his rule of North Korea.


“The human rights abuses…is just horrific. I believe that North Korea is the place with the worst civil rights abuses on the planet” said McClung.


By Patrick Carr

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