North Korea: Daily life remains a struggle

North Korea: Daily life remains a struggle (Photo credit: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection)

I have written on various places about the danger that North Korea poses for the rest of the world. Though they’ve been quiet lately, they are still a rougue nation that, in my opinion, is still a grave threat to the peace and stability of Asia. Now, I am by far not a pro-war advocate, but history has shown that it occasionally requires nations to take action against other nations to get rid of leaders who pose a massive threat to the rest of the world, and when the world takes no actions, worse events occur than just a limited military action.

An article in the current issue of World Affairs Journal by Robert Park makes a very good argument (though he doesn’t state it outright) that Kim Jong-Un  and North Korea Needs to be taken care of.

Consider the following from the article:

  1. On January 14, 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an international inquiry into what “may amount to crimes against humanity” in North Korea.
  2.  Per the UN special observer on human rights in nk, Vitit Muntbhorn, stated in his 2010 report that NK has the largest per captita army in the world, and the worlds highest military expenditures per GDP, is not poor. they have large mineral deposits and makes billions in exports and trade, but it all goes to the military.
  3.  International  policy research institute says hunger sit @serious level
  4.  From Dec 2011 to april 2012 20000 of 10 % population dried from starvation in south hwangehae province.
  5.  food  confiscated from families to feed military.
  6.  in additionn to state organized famine, state killing goes on as well. in 2011, Genocide Watch(an NGO)  publised a report that stated that “there is ample proof that genocide has been committed and mass killing is still underway in north korea.”
  7.  this article states that this is the most neglected case of genocide in the post-holocaust era.
  8.  not only famine but masses have been tossed into prison camps were inmates, including kids are north_korea_famine_children201subject to slave labor, torture, rape, summary executions, infanticide, and biological and chemical experimentation.  humanitarian groups and outside observers state that these prison camps represent the worst violation of human rights today. Estimates have the number of prisoners at a quarter million, one third of that number being kids.
  9. Kim Jong-un’s government has declared that it would carry out “immediate executions when people are caught trying to cross the borders” . So escaping from the North, always, dangerous, is now even more hazardous.

It is obvious that this leadership is still a danger to the world, and he will be making noises again, whether it is by threatening to launch missiles, or sink South Korean ships, he will be making noises again.

It is an unfortunate fact that there are times when the world must get together to oust a tyrant. History has shown that when that doesn’t happen, the result is even greater carnage, destruction and death. Remember the Saar, the Rhineland, The Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia and all the other territories that Hitler was given.

Kim Jong-un is the type of loose cannon that he wont be afraid to try anything, regardless of the cost. So next time he threatens any nation or does some sort of provocative act,  he should be taken out, the North conquered, and the Korean Peninsula unified into a singe nation.

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Summerslam and the WWE



Over the weekend, I took my son to WWE’s Summerslam 13 at the Staples Center. I hung out at LA Live while he was at the event. I did have a chance to check out the axxess event which preceded the ‘slam and saw quite a few things that made me do some thinking about the popularity of pro wrestling.

First of all, even though pro wrestlin
g is strictly a staged show, these wrestlers are athletes in the truest sense of the word, Their bodies are in top condition;  they need to be. These people take a pounding every night, they lift several hundred pounds of opponents and other things such as stairs and chairs, and climb, leap, and jump all over the place in a choreography of punches, kicks, jumps and slams.  And they do these things in one continuous flow of action. One cannot help but admire their stamina . So while some criticize WWE as a faked show, no one has the right to say they are not athletes.

Second thing I noticed, is that these people sincerely appreciate the fan support. There was a pre-event call axxess, where wrestlers were available to the fans for autographs, photos, etc. Even though I didn’t have a ticket to it, I was able to see part of it while walking through the LA Live Plaza.  I saw these guys, both “good guys” and “villains” spending time with little kids, talking to the fans, having pictures taken with them all the while not rushing anyone.

Afterwards, while watching the fans file into Staples,  a lot of them wearing  paraphernalia of their favorite wrestlers, it occured to me that Vince McMahon is an absolute genius. Though he didn’t invent pro wrestling, he certainly has led it to is unprecedented level of popularity that it enjoys now.

How did he do it? A stroke of genius. He and his staff  creats story lines that are basically morality plays, and made it so the audience can connect to it by participating. Participatory morality plays…Genius! The characters that they create, be they “good guy” or “villain” each has a shtick or gimmick that is so far out of the box that audiences naturally  latch on to whatever meet their fancy. See the reaction of the crowd whenever “Fandango” makes an appearance; when that tango music starts and he appears in his glitter costume, the fans start doing a dance themselves, waving their arms and swinging their hips. And this is for a character who I understand is one of the bad guys Same with The Undertaker. The fans feel a real connection to to these characters, and whatever happens to the character they feel is happening to them as well.  And as long as they feel connected, the fans will continue to pump in the aircraft-carrier-like loadfull of money that the WWE has earned.

In short, take characters fans can connect to, storylines that simplify good vs evil, combine these with the PT Barnum showmanship that McMahon has created, and you have a winning formula. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I saw plenty of families spending time together, performers that others look up to spending time with their fans, and a good show being presented.

After it was over and I met up with my son, he was absolutely glowing… his face was beaming with w grin from ear to ear. At that moment, I realized that letting him go to Summerslam 13 was one of the best things we ever did for him as parents!

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