Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Budaechigae posts a section of an account of the 1968 North Korean commando raid on the Blue House Read the whole thing of course; here's a snippet to whet your appetite:
Another factor was deception. The north Koreans believed (and correctly so) that US Soldiers would be easier fooled by the uniforms and would think they were just another ROKA unit training around the US Area.

They crossed undetected through the American sector as planned, and hit the fateful when they encountered two south korean lumberjacks. The Woo brothers became suspicious after talking to the group of 31 "South Korean" soldiers. The commandos made the mistake of bragging about being revolutionaries, and also releasing the brothers, upon the condition they wouldn't tell any one and would return to the commando's location. The Woo brothers went directly to the Paju police and reported the incident.

Several bloggers have linked to or commented on this story about North Koreans conducting experiments on re-education camp subjects in gas chambers. Andrew Sullivan may have been one of the first to link to it but others have noted it here, here, and of course here. The story is filled with horrifying accounts of depraved brutality:
Now, it is claimed, it is also where thousands die each year and where prison guards stamp on the necks of babies born to prisoners to kill them.

Over the past year harrowing first-hand testimonies from North Korean defectors have detailed execution and torture, and now chilling evidence has emerged that the walls of Camp 22 hide an even more evil secret: gas chambers where horrific chemical experiments are conducted on human beings.

Witnesses have described watching entire families being put in glass chambers and gassed. They are left to an agonising death while scientists take notes. The allegations offer the most shocking glimpse so far of Kim Jong-il's North Korean regime.
The Marmot notes that at least one of the documents used for the story appears to be fake. If so, it raises the question, "why tell untrue stories about a place that clearly has so much that is actually documented? For a good accessible example of an account of a North Korean concentration camp, see The Aquariums of Pyongyang. There's more than enough evil to write about without having to make it up.

Goldbrick in Seoul follows up on the "countries I've visited" map with one of the U.S. His map is here. Mine should appear below:

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

I apparently don't like corners.

Goldbrick in Seoul also notes a case of SOFA revision but it isn't what you might expect.

The Marmot notes that there are plans to erect a monument to Russian soldiers killed in Chemulpo (Inch'on/Incheon) during the Russo-Japanese War.
The Inch'eon city government, citing historical reasons, initially refused, but was later told be Seoul to be cooperative. In the end, they offered 5 p'yeong of land down by the waterfront to build the monument. One Inch'eon city official said that while he understood the opposition from civic groups and, yes, the Russo-Japanese War was painful piece of history for Koreans, from the dimension of mutual cooperation with Russia, Korea could benefit from building the monument. Besides (and more to the point, I gather), the government had already agreed with the Russian Embassy to do it, he said.
Inch'on already boasts a reconstructed set of steps along the boundary between the Japanese and Chinese concessions of the old treaty port. Why did it choose to remember a time and space when foreigners had extra-territorial privileges in Korea? Because Chinese from across the Yellow Sea paid big bucks for the project (and included a statue of Confucius to boot). It sounds to me as if the same phenomenon is taking place here: some Russians want to give Inch'on money for a monument that no one will pay attention to. Why not take the money? Of course in this day and age in which history wars race across the internet at light speed, nothing is as simple as it seems.

Oranckay links to pictures of the South Korean punk scene.

There's plenty more in the Korea-related blogosphere but that should keep you busy for a while.

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