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Re: “Understanding North Korea

As director of the documentary Kimjongilia, cited in this article, I would like to set the record straight. The film received absolutely no funds from either the National Endowment for Democracy or the Citizen's Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea (incorrectly referred to as "Citizen Coalition" in the article.) These groups were thanked in the credits because they were helpful in putting me in touch with defectors. Funding for the film came entirely from private donations and a grant from the Sundance Institute. Neither the many friends and family who loaned or donated money, nor Sundance, made any editorial demands.

Whether the US is at fault in the current Korean peninsula situation or is cynically manipulating the Korean divide to its own ends are both questions that provoke arduous debate, but always seem to lead to conclusions that fall within hardened ideological lines. Meanwhile, it is difficult to see how US led UN forces, no matter what they did during the Korean War, can be blamed for the DPRK’s practice, sixty years later, of beating, torturing and starving its own children in political prison camps. Likewise, even if American restrictions on trade contributed to NK’s Great Famine, which is a dubious assertion, this does not make them responsible for the DPRK’s criminal practice of executing people who leave the country looking for food. Joint military exercises by the South Koreans and Americans might explain the North’s desire to test nuclear weapons, but it in no way can explain or excuse North Korea’s truly dreadful human rights abuses.

Defectors and refugees who have suffered under communist totalitarianism often drift to the right when they escape because the left can seem to be defending the regime from which they have fled. Simply because they seem to identify with the right, however, does not make them wrong in wishing to see brutal dictatorships fall.

NC Heikin
Producer/Director KIMJONGILIA

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by NC Heikin on 11/16/2009 at 7:34 AM

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