North Korea Genocide Exhibit Opens

RIVERDALE, Md. – A line of North Korean human rights champions stood with scissors in hand, prepared to cut parallel blue and white ribbons symbolizing the official opening of the North Korea Genocide Exhibit on Monday.

A large room in the First Korean Presbyterian Church of Maryland housed drawings, photographs, books, letters, maps and other resources testifying to the “man-made disaster” of the Kim Jong-Il regime in North Korea. As part of the North Korea Freedom Week event, the exhibit is scheduled to run until Wednesday.

“It is very fitting that we open the exhibit today because tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day,” said North Korea Freedom Coalition Chairman Suzanne Scholte. “In 1945, when the Allies liberated the concentration camps in Germany they forced the citizens of Germany to march through these death camps so the citizens would see the horrible atrocities the Nazis had committed against the Jewish people … furthermore, they told future governments and generations to never let this tragedy happen again.”

“Similarly, we hope this exhibit will stir people into action and make them realize the horrible tragedy occurring today, everyday in North Korea, where several hundred people will die today from starvation,” said Scholte. “They are really not deaths, but rather murders by Kim Jong Il of the North Korean people.”

Part of the first section of the exhibit displayed drawings and explanations of some common torture used on North Korean prisoners. Seventeen panels of torture techniques with descriptions and testimonies hung on the wall with paintings of the torture lining the table below the panels. Some of the forms of torture and methods of death used include: water torture, death through testing of new chemical poisons, induced insanity through watching public executions, death through temperature regulated compression chambers, the tearing off of ears, and death to Christians for refusing to convert.

The exhibit also offered four satellite maps of 18 known North Korean prison camp locations which include the city of Pyongyang and Seoul as reference.

“We have to stop the killing. We have to save the people,” said the Vice Chairman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition and emcee of the exhibit opening ceremony, Sin U Nam. “So many people are dying of starvation, of disease – we have to stop all that. It is because of the mad dictator. He is mad. He enjoys killing.”

On the other side of the room, some of the 120 crayon drawings from the book by 16-year-old North Korean refugee, Jang Kil-Soo, were on display. The drawings depicted scenes from his experiences in North Korea, such as a man eating a snake and a mouse.

Arguably the most touching and painful part of the exhibit was the section devoted to the tens of thousands of children suffering in North Korea. Photographs of malnourished babies and children looking straight at the viewers lined the far wall of the exhibit. Moreover, many poignant captions below the photographs informed viewers that the baby in the picture died the following day or two days later.

“This is not a Korean problem. This is a universal problem,” declared Nam. “This is comparable to the holocaust. A lot of people look away when the Jews were being butchered. This is the same thing - Koreans are being butchered.”

“Is it a Korean problem? No, it is humanity that is being killed,” stated the vice chairman. “I want everybody – Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Japanese - aware of the genocide and maybe they will do something.”

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