Religion & Liberty Online

North Korean Death Camp Survivor: ‘Don’t Forget Us’

“Vanish the Night,” a new single by UK band, Ooberfuse begins with Shin Dong-hyuk, the survivor of a North Korean death camp, saying, “Don’t forget us.” The band released the song to coincide with North Korea Freedom Week (April 28-May 4)  and to draw attention to the atrocities happening in North Korea. You can watch the video below:

Cherrie Anderson, the lead singer of Ooberfuse, says this about the song:

We have joined forces with Shin Dong-hyuk…His account of the routine violence and brutality inside Camp 14 ignited our desire to respond somehow. Vanish the Night calls for the lights to be turned on in what has been described as one of the darkest places on earth. Our song is a message of hope for the ordinary people of North Korea whose suffering often goes unnoticed and whose cries are largely unheard.

Shin Dong-hyuk was born in a North Korean death camp and is the only known escapee. When he was just 13 years old he overheard his mother and brother planning to break out so he told the guards and then he was forced to watch as they were executed.  Several years later, he met a man named Park, a political prisoner. Park spoke of the the world outside the camp and outside North Korea; he gave Dong-hyuk a desire to live outside the horrors of his country.  The pair decided to attempt an escape. Park died trying to climb the electric fence, but Dong-hyuk got out, posed as a North Korean soldier, and made his way out of the country. You can read his full story here Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) also describes the horrors happening in Dong-hyuk’s former home:

North Korea is the world’s most closed nation, ruled by one of the world’s most repressive regimes. Over 200,000 people remain in desperate conditions in the country’s prison camps, where they are subjected to extreme torture, slave labor, sexual abuse and starvation. Christians are among the most oppressed in a country where there is no freedom of religion or belief.

Rev. Robert Sirico opens his book Defending the Free Market with a description of the darkness in North Korea:

Have you ever seen a photograph of the earth at night? Lights are scattered across the globe, wherever human beings live and work and prosper. But there is a strange blank shape at the top of the Korean peninsula, all the more remarkable because the lower half of the peninsula, South Korea, is a blaze of luminosity. The dark patch above it is socialist North Korea, where the people live in such desperate poverty that their country is dark at night. The one tiny point of light is Pyongyang, where party elites enjoy the fruits of the miserable labor of the North Korean people, who are essentially slaves. Otherwise, North Korea is simply dark.

The illuminated lower half of the peninsula offers us a vision of what the world looks like with freedom—the freedom to create, prosper, and, as is so obvious, even to illuminate. But you also have in that photograph an image of what the world might look like were the torch of human liberty to sputter out, casting civilization into darkness.

Surely, some will say, the possibility is only alarmist rhetoric. Surely things will go on as they ever have. Has it not been always thus?