In 2010, at a small event in Washington, DC, a man who many Americans have never heard of told us how to defeat North Korea without war. Hwang Jang-yop – creator of North Korea’s so-called “Juche” (“self-reliance”) state ideology, former chief of North Korea’s Parliament and mentor to Kim Jong Il before defecting to the West in 1997 – told an audience at the Center for Strategic International Studies:
The solution is ideological warfare. We need to focus on the people of North Korea and alert them to the human rights abuses that are taking place.
It may seem strange that North Korean citizens have to be alerted to human rights abuses. One would assume they know they live in hell. But the power of ideological brainwashing must not be underestimated.
There is hope.
Brainwashing can be undone when faced with enough truth.
In 2006, CNN aired a remarkable documentary called “Undercover in the Secret State.” In it, they interviewed a former North Korean soldier identified only as “Mr. Park”:
I was a very faithful soldier, but after I was discharged, I saw people starving to death. There were so many people dying, that authorities were scared that people might revolt. So they publicly executed many innocent people as a warning. I went to watch whenever there was a public execution. I found it heartbreaking. This is how I came to have second thoughts about Kim Jong Il’s regime.
“Mr. Park,” struggled to figure out a way how to resist the Kim regime. He discovered that the truth was his weapon:
One day I met with somebody who runs this anti-government underground organization called Freedom Youth League. One of their strategies was to distribute imported videotapes, these were ordinary movies that showed North Koreans how prosperous people in the outside world are, and hopefully make them question whether their leadership is telling them the truth.
CNN spoke to one woman who decided to flee North Korea after watching smuggled South Korean soap operas. She said watching those films really opened her eyes. “We thought there were many beggars in the outside world. But in reality, we are the beggars.”
With our help, these efforts could be expanded massively.
Also, we must make sure that no North Korean distortion of history goes unanswered. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., observed how powerful historical truth can be during the dying days of the Soviet Union:
For the first time ever, Russian historians became free to write honest history — to describe the purges and the gulags, to demythologize Stalin and even Lenin, to reassess Bukharin and even Trotsky, to condemn the Soviet-Nazi pact of 1939, to pronounce Stalin’s U.S.S.R. a totalitarian state, even to doubt the sacred Revolution itself. “A new future requires a new past,'”said Eric Foner of Columbia after four months as a lecturer at Moscow State University. “To legitimize these far- reaching changes, the press and public officials now paint the history of the Soviet era in the blackest hues.” As party-line history was an instrument of dictatorship, historical debate is an instrument of democracy.
We have had the ammunition for historical debate at our fingertips for more than 20 years. In July, 1994, the Los Angeles Times reported that “Seoul’s Foreign Ministry released documents that Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin had given President Kim Young Sam during a visit to Moscow in June. They showed that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung approved Kim Il Sung’s attack on South Korea in June, 1950.”
As the struggle against Soviet totalitarianism had scholar Robert Conquest (The Great Terror, 1968) and witness Alexander Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago, 1973), the struggle against the tyranny of the Kims has scholar Victor Cha (The Impossible State, 2012) and witness Shin Dong-Hyuk (Escape from Camp 14, biography written by Blaine Harden, 2012). Give copies to dissidents who will secretly circulate them within North Korea, like dissidents did in the Soviet Union.
We also have direct testimony of North Korea’s crimes against the civilians of other nations. It comes from Kim Hyun-Hee, a former North Korean agent who in 1987 used a time bomb to blow up a civilian airplane, killing all 115 on board. After her capture, she was forced to face the families of those she murdered and at the same time received word that her relatives in the North were being punished for her “betrayal” (similar to Stalin, the North equates capture with betrayal). The combination of these events lead her to switch sides, convert to Christianity and write a memoir.
I have a copy of the book, titled The Tears of My Soul (1993), and I encourage anyone interested in this rare book to read the outstanding 2-part review by blogger “AngrySoba”. ( http://ift.tt/2v1C1Vq )
Hyun-Hee recounts her meeting with the Director of Foreign Intelligence:
“Comrades,” he said. “I will start with the conclusion first. Your mission will be to destroy a South Korean airplane.” He paused, allowing the words to sink in. I felt butterflies in my stomach and stared at him. “The order, you may be interested to know, was written by Our Dear Leader himself, Kim Jung Il. Handwritten, that is…This whole mission is in fact Our Dear Leader’s own idea…Our entire national destiny will depend on it.”
The Director continues:
“So – you must destroy a South Korean plane. That country, as you know, has been in considerable turmoil recently. The political climate is more volatile now than at any time since the War of Liberation. Their constitution is being revised, and there are elections to be held toward the end of this year. By destroying this plane we intend to increase this sense of chaos and ultimately to prevent the  Olympic Games from taking place in Seoul. Other nations will not want to risk their athletes, for fear that either their planes will be destroyed or that once in Seoul their athletes will not be safe from terrorist attacks.
“But that is just the beginning. If we succeed in preventing the Games from taking place, and if we succeed in worsening the political turmoil, there may be the chance that our two Koreas could then be reunited. And that, as you know, is the great goal of our generation. If you comrades succeed in this mission, you will be nothing less than national heroes.”
This directly implicates the Kim family in an act of terrorism.
Kim Hyun-Hee had undergone training in how to imitate a Japanese woman. Hyun-Hee recalls a woman called Eun Hae, who was her Japanese language teacher at the secluded Keumsung Military College. Hyun-Hee learned Eun Hae was actually a Japanese citizen from Tokyo, and on day, “when playing with her children at the beach, she was abducted by North Korean agents” and taken to Keumsung to do the regime’s bidding. “Because Eun Hae was so miserable, she would frequently get drunk” – she longed to return to her children. Hyun-Hee recalled:
Though I sympathized with her situation, I thought the sacrifice of one Japanese woman to the cause of Korean unification was justified, especially considering that Japan had occupied and raped Korea for forty years. Now, looking back, I am ashamed of myself. This incident is a prime example of the unconscionable barbarity of the North Korean government and its agents.
Keumsung Military College, where Eun Hae [who’s real name, we now know, is Yaeko Taguchi] was confined, was located in an area that has only a few small villages. Hyun-Hee wrote:
Eun Hae insisted, on Sunday evening, that we visit the village, because she had never seen ordinary North Koreans before. We found a decrepit cluster of houses and filthy children running around the streets, some naked. I was ashamed at this and tried to pull Eun Hae away. But she stared at the children with tears in her eyes… “So this is your brave new world, Ok Hwa,” she said with unmitigated scorn. “I pity you”.
There is a poet, Jang Jin-sung, who was once Kim Jung Il’s personal propaganda poet. He now lives in South Korea, a defector. He wrote a poem about an incident he witnessed involving such a starving child:
Exhausted, in the midst of the market she stood
“For 100 won, my daughter I sell”
Heavy medallion of sorrow
A cardboard around her neck she had hung
Next to her young daughter
Exhausted, in the midst of the market she stood
A deaf-mute the mother
She gazed down at the ground, just ignoring
The curses the people all threw
As they glared
At the mother who sold
Her motherhood, her own flesh and blood
Her tears dried up
Though her daughter, upon learning
Her mother would perish of a deadly disease
Had buried her face in the mother’s long skirt
And bellowed, and cried
But the mother stood still
And her lips only quivered
Unable she was to give thanks to the soldier
Who slipped a hundred won into her hand
As he uttered
“It is your motherhood,
And not the daughter I’m buying”
She took the money, and ran
A mother she was,
And the 100 won she had taken
She spent on a loaf of wheat bread
Toward her daughter she ran
As fast as she could
And pressed the bread on the child’s lips
“Forgive me, my child”
In the midst of the market she stood
And she wailed.
This message should be broadcast to the members of the North Korean military – that their children are suffering because of the regime they defend. Life in a free and united Korea will be better for their children, and it is the right thing to do if they truly love them. This message has the benefit of being completely true.
Jang Jin-sung also wrote this:
Tiny it is,
But the speckle of hope
Through the power of life
Firefly of my soul
The glimmer is a firefly.
With our help, and with the help of the Author of Liberty – whom the Communists reject – the good people of Korea may be able to triumph over the Kim regime, simply with the power of truth and the message of freedom.