North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il
North Koreans suffered for decades under the oppression of Kim Il-sung until his passing in 1994. Then an economic collapse, famine, and the continuation of tyranny under Kim Jong-il claimed the lives of up to 2 million North Koreans during the 1990s. What’s happened since then?
North Korea continues to be a prison for its citizenry. Kim Jong-il has relaxed a few restrictions and punishments though other state-sanctioned human rights abuses such as public executions have escalated. Almost all of the U.N. and world food aid has been diverted away from the population most in need. It was probably stockpiled for military purposes or sold by government workers on the black market. Economic stagnation and malnutrition continue to reverberate throughout the land in what has been called the greatest humanitarian crisis on the planet. As many as 2 million more North Koreans may have died prematurely since the beginning of the new millennium. North Koreans are, with rare exception, completely cut off from the rest of the world, and any incoming access is manipulated by the regime’s robust propaganda operation. The question for the rest of us is: what do we do now?