Starved into Submission

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However, even though North Korea’s ruling elites may remain well fed, no one seriously disputes that ordinary North Koreans aren’t as fortunate. As a 2010 report by Amnesty International cites, over 9 million North Koreans suffer from “severe” food shortages.

To substantiate those claims, reports have surfaced that the North Korean government actually halved the administrative size of the capital city of Pyongyang, apparently because it had become too difficult to support the city’s entire population with its allotment of special rations.

The widespread lack of food has also led to some very disturbing conclusions, the most gruesome of which came in a recently leaked North Korean police manual that confirmed cases of cannibalism. In one particular instance, a North Korean guard killed his roommate with an axe when he was sleeping, ate part of the corpse and then sold the rest at the market where he described it as lamb meat.

In fact, the situation has become so severe that it has even led to small pockets of public anger, no small feat in this tightly controlled country. Various reports of public resistance springing up in North Korea have arisen over the past year, with some protests turning violent. The outbreak was serious enough for the North Korean government to actually form a special riot control force in 2010 to quell public demonstrations.

These isolated events have led some to speculate that North Korea may soon experience an uprising similar to what has transpired in various Middle East countries, given the similar conditions between the two situations: corrupt leadership, overwhelming poverty, and brutal repression.

However, despite these similarities, it isn’t likely that the North Korean people — having been subjected to a half century Orwellian nightmare of starvation, gulags, and endless brainwashing — will be rioting anytime soon.

For starters, North Koreans may actually be too weak from hunger to sustain a long-term protest movement. Moreover, they have no means of communication by which to share their anger and organize. As a former North Korean diplomat has said, North Korea’s lack of the Internet and other social networking infrastructure make a public uprising “quite slim.”

Yet, even if they could organize, North Korean protesters would face a regime that is armed to the teeth and more than willing to use those artillery, bombs and fighter jets on them, just like Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Syria’s Bashir Assad have done on their own people. However, as hard as it is to believe, the North Korean regime would probably be even more ruthless.

One example of its barbarity came in recent satellite research that has shown North Korea’s prison camp system to be expanding. Already estimated to hold 200,000 people, these slave camps subject their inhabitants to starvation, torture, and rape while they perform hard labor.

Of course, it goes without saying that the North Korean government sees itself in a different light. The regime’s positive self-portrait was nowhere more evident than when it recently released its “Happiness Index,” a survey it conducted to determine where the happiest people live.

Even though the survey results found China to be the happiest place on earth, North Korea finished a strong second. For those North Koreans who perhaps thought they were living a nightmare existence, it should comfort them to know their government thinks they have it pretty good.

Frank Crimi is a writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog,

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  • Greenwick

    It appears that while North Korea does have a severe ongoing problem with food and it's economy, (Wow, that's an understatement!) the current situation is only worse because of government management problems. The currency redenomination that happened in 2009 left poor anyone who didn't have good political connections, which has led to a much harsher food situation. Natural causes are playing no part in this.

  • Brad Arnold

    A new clean energy production technology is emerging using nickel in a LENR. The reason I am bring this up in a forum on North Korea is that this new energy production technology will enable North Korea to feed all it's people, run it's military, and grow it's economy. One gram of nickel equals about 1.7 billion calories. Partial formula: Ni+H (heated at pressure)=Cu + lots of heat.

    I know North Korean agents are going to read this. Americans are far behind the curve on this: energy generated cleanly at 1/5th the cost of any other method. This will give North Korea a new lease on life.

    • Shawn

      Brad, you're missing the entire crux of the North Korean regime – they don't want to feed their people. The propaganda from the gov't to its people is that their "shared" hardship is because of outside forces – usually American or their Korean cousins to the south. Also, if people are physically weak, they won't have the energy to protest or devise schemes to bring down their leaders.

      • jasonz

        exactly. the power of marxiam can only come from complete control over everything. you can only get that control by making the controlled dependant on the controller. Thats what we mean when we say nothing is free. there may not be a 'monatary charge' but the cost is loosing your free will. food or free will what would you choose. marxism is just the political justification for slavery

        • Fred Dawes

          sad to say our little rat is just that a BS Marxism monkey.

    • GaryP

      Fusion is real. It works, in fusion bombs–for light elements, i.e. H and He. For heavy elements (such as nickel), the "heat and pressure" you mention occurs only in supernovas. Read some basic science. This is a hoax.

  • Chezwick_mac


    • Fred Dawes

      right out of 1984

  • Ghostwriter

    Unbelievable! And yet unsurprising in places like North Korea.

  • Max

    Where do the scions of the torturers get their education? Answer: in New Zealand.
    New Zealand welcomes hundreds even thousands of the young torturers to learn English and get a university degree… No questions asked… As long as they bring money they are welcome in New Zealand…

    • Fred Dawes


  • g_jochnowitz

    Marxism means famine. Marxism has always meant famine. Chairman Mao created the most horrible famine in human history, during which 45 million people or more died. Read Frank Dikottor's recent book MAO'S GREAT FAMINE.

  • waterwillows

    North Korea will cease to be. Without a healthy, growing population the declining gene pools will be one of many deciding factors for this outcome.
    Weak people make weak decisions. A weak population is a sign of a weak government. They do not yet recoginise their fatal dilemma. And it will be too late when they do.

  • jasonz

    let them fight or die. America cannot go on proping up nations and govts that are failing, despise us, and activly seek to turn Us into them. We have fools in America as well who continue to think that marxiam not only works, but is the best way of life. Why? because we continually feel sorry for these idiots and support them. As bad as it is now, it is nothing compared to what would be happening if we actually used our heads and stopped being nice to our enemies. Understand. with modern food production there is ZERO reason for any people to starve. their suffering is by design and due to corrupt individuals, not lack of food. Therefore we can ship all our food over there and they would still starve. Capitialism has never had mass starvation,…,ever, America has never had mass starvation…ever. its because our system works and is proven time and time again to be the best. Stop all aid to these people and let them either adopt a systerm that works or let them die out and make room for a superior people.

  • Bernie Goetz

    A country that can afford to build nuclear weapons should not ask for or get food aid or any other aid.

  • UpChuckLiberals

    Perhaps our Dear Leader, Barack Hussain Obama can find some time in his busy schedule to go and straighten them out. Do they have any golf courses? Does he have to bring his own tele-prompters? Michelle would love the trip to go shopping.

    • hrayspitz

      Yes, they have golf courses. They even had an open recently. And, don't forget, "Dear Leader" (of PDRK) used to score regular "holes in one" on them.
      I think its great idea to send the Obama's to North Korea. If there was only a way to keep them from coming back…

  • Fred Dawes

    Yes our dear leader would love to see this evil here he could become president for life.

  • BS77

    Send Chef Chomsky over there ….he can prepare the people cuisine of bark and grass.

  • tanstaafl

    Marxism is always short of capital. Without capital, it is impossible to advance. That's what happened with the USSR.

  • djones

    No aid fo N.K. from the west. They are puppets of the Chinese in every way. We should be putting pressure on China to adress these problems and not giving them food which the Kim's will steal. However if China gives them food you can bet it will go to the people.

    • nkluver

      so naive. nk has said publicly to its people that its military comes first.