Here’s another article from the new issue by Terrell Clemmons, one of Salvo‘s contributing editors. We’re always happy to see her writing in our pages. Read on to see why! Also, you can find more by Terrell in the online archives and of course in the print magazine. You should subscribe to Salvo to make sure you don’t miss anything. However, I’ll probably get around to posting more of her articles online sooner or later. They usually generate a good deal of conversation! (see here, here, and here.)
Utopian Creep & the Struggle for Human Rights & Freedom
by Terrell Clemmons
Shin Dong-hyuk strides confidently to the front of the Korean-American church in suburban Seattle. His gray business suit and blue dress shirt cover the scars his slight frame would carry to his grave—arms bowed from childhood labor, back marred from burns inflicted by prison guards, legs and ankles scarred from shackles and the electric barbed wire fencing that failed to keep him inside North Korea’s Camp 14 on January 2, 2005.
Not that he’s hiding anything. On the contrary, the 28-year-old refugee speaks for a solid hour, and although his wounds bear perpetual testimony to the physical brutality he suffered, the greater travesty of justice, he tells his audience, is the psychological dehumanization that takes place in the repressive environment. Shin refers to his former self as a predator, trained from birth to inform without remorse on family and fellow prisoners. “The only thing I thought was that I had to prey on others for my survival,” he says. “I did not know about sympathy or sadness.”
Having lived all his life inside Camp 14, it had taken him years to learn trust, to be emotional, to cry, and to know feelings like other human beings. Even sharing his story this Sunday evening—as he must if he’s going to draw world attention to the atrocities in North Korea, now his life’s mission—marks a major personal triumph for him.
Secularists who fancy twenty-first-century man as enlightened beyond hunter-gatherer savagery are hard-pressed to come up with an explanation for what Shin represents. But however they may try to explain him away, there he stands: evidence of contemporary man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man and a living result of utopian fantasies gone to seed.