Escape from Camp 14: A haunting tale of North Korea’s gulags

Escape from Camp 14 is a must read. This one book could wipe away years of brainwashing by cultural relativists leading discussion groups inside college classrooms.

Where does one begin when reviewing Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14? The story of Shin In Geun’s (now Shin Dong-hyuk) life inside a North Korean gulag is one not many people in free societies can ever really fathom, which is probably why the book is a harder sell than it needs to be. Americans think torture is something they see in a movie theater while chomping on overpriced popcorn, or if they’re more socially conscious they might ramble on about water boarding terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In both cases they miss the mark completely.

Conservatives are often laughed at and ridiculed for speaking about certain countries in terms of good and evil, but the truth of the matter is that good and evil exist, and perhaps there is no closer embodiment of hell on earth than North Korea.

Shin’s story revolves around his life at Camp 14, a “total control” camp, which meant he was born there and he would die there. His earliest memories were of watching executions—mouths filled with rocks and bound tight (we can’t have anyone criticizing the Dear Leader in their last moments) before rounds of bullets blew their heads off. Camp 14 had a prison camp within a prison camp (where Shin was tortured). Sons and daughters are taught to snitch on their parents, snitch on their peers and to live in a constant state of paranoia. Women are raped and then executed when they become pregnant. Starving kids like Shin find themselves picking undigested kernels of corn from animal feces…to eat. In short, the North Korean regime seeks to strip every ounce of humanity from its citizens, and they have shown that they are willing to go to great lengths to succeed.

Fear societies, despite their best efforts to turn people into animals, can not succeed.  The human spirit will often find a way to break free. People are not meant to be cattle, and they will either unshackle their spirit through suicide…or die in the pursuit of freedom.

What is most interesting about Escape from Camp 14 is that even though Shin was born and raised in an environment of pure evil, he seemed to know deep down that there was a right from wrong. Looking back on his actions now he struggles with the repercussions (e.g., the execution of his mother and brother…and quite possibly his father), but the free, adult Shin is too harsh of a critic of the 13 year old version of his imprisoned self.

For example, should Shin feel guilty for having to climb over the electrified, charred remains of his friend in order to obtain freedom?

Without hesitation, Shin crawled over his friend’s body, using it as a kind of insulating pad. As he squirmed through the fence, Shin could feel the current. The soles of his feet felt as though needles were stabbing them.

Shin was nearly through the fence when his lower legs slipped off Park’s torso and came into direct contact, through the two pairs of pant he was wearing, with the bottom strand. Voltage from the wire caused severe burns from his ankles to his knees. The wounds bled for weeks. But it would be a couple of hours before Shin noticed how badly he had been injured.

What he remembers most clearly about crawling through the fence was that Park’s body smelled like it was burning.

There is a reason why Shin still wakes up from nightmares, screaming as his mind conjures up images of his dead mother, brother and friend. The guilt that he feels, however, is misplaced, as it is the tyrannical North Korean regime’s seeds that sprout in his mind. They are responsible for the heartache and pain Shin feels, not him.

We all have a purpose in life, and I can’t help but think that Shin’s was to break free from North Korea and tell the world what is truly going on inside their border. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of Escape from Camp 14. You’ll be glad you did.

Kim Jong Il Crazy for Robert Rodriguez: Fandango for Dictators on Fire.

One of the reasons why the United States Kicks Ass is because it’s habitually in the position of having to control its border to stop millions of people who want to enter the country, while

Kim Jong Il is probably a huge fan of Matt Damon's national self flagellation flicks for self loathing liberal Americans.

countries like North Korea have troops at the border to stop people from leaving.  The United States has actors and directors who go around the world bashing the freest country in the world, while North Korea hires actors to put a happy face on a regime that runs gulags like a successful fast food chain restaurant.

That’s why I find it interesting that Robert Rodriguez and his liberal Hollywood friends spend more time stoking cultural fires within their own country instead of pointing to the dysfunctional dictators who really pose a threat to the freedom, liberty, and civilized societies throughout the world.

Likewise, it’s very telling that satirists and comedians around the world feel perfectly at ease mocking Christians when they’re desperate for an easy laugh, and yet they now openly acknowledge that “speaking truth to power” doesn’t include mocking Islamic terrorists because…that might actually require some inner fortitude. Today’s liberal “thinkers” (or wannabe “thinkers”) talk tough to talk show hosts…but clam up when it comes to the guy who wants to chop your head off, brunoise the First Amendment, and serve it to his jihad buddies for dinner.

While I’ve already let it be known how I feel about Robert Rodriguez, I still can’t let the issue go. I want so badly to believe that I’m not living in The Twilight Zone, but every day I’m reminded how Hollywood shuns real life American stories of Audie Murphy-type heroism in favor of filmic self flagellation on a national scale.

Am I suggesting we pay filmmakers to make American versions of creepy North Korean propaganda pieces? Of course not. But, personally, I think America is a pretty cool place with quite a bit to be proud of. And I just wish that the Matt Damon-standing-up-against-corrupt-U.S.-government cinematic skid marks were exposed for the self-righteous Ashtonian idiocy they are.

When someone with Robert Rodriguez’s skills finally decides to highlight how great this nation is within the confines of an awesome action flick…they’re going to make a lot of money.

I wonder if Machete will ever work his way into North Korean gulags to kill the Commie caretakers of the closest thing to hell on earth. Oh...wait...Robert Rodriguez is too busy stoking cultural fires in the freest country the world has ever known. You rock, Robert!