Harden Blaine - Escape from Camp 14


Author : Harden Blaine
Title : Escape from Camp 14 One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Year : 2000

Link download : Harden_Blaine_-_Escape_from_Camp_14.zip

Preface. His first memory is an execution. He walked with his mother to a wheat field near the Taedong River, where guards had rounded up several thousand prisoners. Excited by the crowd, the boy crawled between adult legs to the front row, where he saw guards tying a man to a wooden pole. Shin In Geun was four years old, too young to understand the speech that came before that killing. At dozens of executions in years to come, he would listen to a supervising guard telling the crowd that the prisoner about to die had been offered ‘redemption’ through hard labour, but had rejected the generosity of the North Korean government. To prevent the prisoner from cursing the state that was about to take his life, guards stuffed pebbles into his mouth then covered his head with a hood. At that first execution, Shin watched three guards take aim. Each fired three times. The reports of their rifles terrified the boy and he fell over backwards. But he scrambled to his feet in time to see guards untie a slack, blood-spattered body, wrap it in a blanket and heave it into a cart. In Camp 14, a prison for the political enemies of North Korea, assemblies of more than two inmates were forbidden, except for executions. Everyone had to attend them. The labour camp used a public killing, and the fear it generated, as a teachable moment. Shin’s guards in the camp were his teachers – and his breeders. They had selected his mother and father. They taught him that prisoners who break camp rules deserve death. On a hillside near his school, a slogan was posted: ‘All according to the rules and regulations’. The boy memorized the camp’s ten rules, ‘The Ten Commandments’, as he later called them, and can still recite them by heart. The first one stated: ‘Anyone caught escaping will be shot immediately’. Ten years after that first execution, Shin returned to the same field. Again, guards had rounded up a big crowd. Again, a wooden pole had been pounded into the ground. A makeshift gallows had also been built. Shin arrived this time in the backseat of a car driven by a guard. He wore handcuffs and a blindfold fashioned from a rag. His father, also handcuffed and blindfolded, sat beside him in the car. They had been released after eight months in an underground prison inside Camp 14. As a condition of their release, they had signed documents promising never to discuss what had happened to them underground. In that prison within a prison, guards tried to torture a confession out of Shin and his father. They wanted to know about the failed escape of Shin’s mother and only brother. Guards stripped Shin, tied ropes to his ankles and wrists, and suspended him from a hook in the ceiling. They lowered him over a fire. He passed out when his flesh began to burn. But he confessed nothing. He had nothing to confess. He had not conspired with his mother and brother to escape. He believed what the guards had taught him since his birth inside the camp: he could never escape and he must inform on anyone who talked about trying. Not even in his dreams had Shin fantasized about life on the outside. The guards never taught him what every North Korean schoolboy learns: Americans are ‘bastards’ scheming to invade and humiliate the homeland. South Korea is the ‘bitch’ of its American master. North Korea is a great country whose brave and brilliant leaders are the envy of the world. Indeed, he knew nothing of the existence of South Korea, China, or the United States. Unlike his countrymen, he did not grow up with the ubiquitous photograph of his Dear Leader, as Kim Jong Il was called. Nor had he seen photographs or statues of Kim’s father, Kim Il Sung, the Great Leader who founded North Korea and who remains the country’s Eternal President, despite his death in 1994. When a guard removed his blindfold and he saw the crowd, the wooden pole and the gallows, Shin believed he was about to be executed. No pebbles, though, were forced into his mouth. His handcuffs were removed. A guard led him to the front of the crowd. He and his father would be spectators. Guards dragged a middle-aged woman to the gallows and tied a young man to the wooden pole. They were Shin’s mother and his older brother. A guard tightened a noose around his mother’s neck. She tried to catch Shin’s eye. He looked away. After she stopped twitching at the end of the rope, Shin’s brother was shot by three guards. Each fired three times. As he watched them die, Shin was relieved it was not him. He was angry with his mother and brother for planning an escape. Although he would not admit it to anyone for fifteen years, he knew he was responsible for their executions. ...

1530 reads

Books

You might also like

Wilson Colin - Rudolf Steiner

Author : Wilson Colin Title : Rudolf Steiner The man and his vision Year : 1985 Link download :...

Continue reading

Steiner Rudolf - Staying connected

Author : Steiner Rudolf Title : Staying connected How to continue your relationships with those who...

Continue reading

Civilta Cattolica - The jewish question in Europe

Author : Civilta Cattolica Title : The jewish question in Europe The causes, the effects, the...

Continue reading



Donate


Balder Ex-Libris
Review of books rare and missing


Balder Ex-Libris