Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good account, 7 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Eyes of the Tailless Animals: Prison Memoirs of a North Korean Women (Paperback)
Soon Ok Lee's account of life in North Korea's gulag is a harrowing and disturbing one. Her writing isn't as good as Kang Chol-Hwan's in 'The Aquariums of Pyongyang' but is a good accompaniment for that book. My major concern with this book was the publishing. It's published by a Christian publishing group called Living Sacrifice. I has a little upset by what I perceived to be a hijacking of suffering by a Christian group for it's own Christian agenda. North Korea has the world's worst human rights record. Dissenters of the regime are punished, children are punished, the lower classes are punished, religious groups are punished and everyone is punished for small, draconian, Orwellian "crimes". Although I wont argue that Christian's and religious groups have it particularly bad, to view this book as an attack on North Korea's intolerance of religion is wrong - the picture is far broader than that. The biggest victims of Kim Jong-Il's regime aren't North Korean Christians, the victims are all of North Korean people. The suffering is widespread and shouldn't be focused on one group lest we forget the wider context. Less than 2% of North Korea's population are thought to be Christian (sure enough this is so low due to the lack of freedom of religion) whereas 99% of the population are suffering. Don't take the advice of the above review of visiting Christian Solidarity Worldwide to help the plight of North Koreans, you would be far better with Amnesty International, Link Global or writing to you local MP to find out what they are doing about North Korean human rights. Soon herself became a Christian after she defected and discovered Christianity. Towards the end of the book she states that the international community and aid organizations would serve North Korea better by smuggling in Bibles as opposed to food, clothes and other forms of aid. Unfortunately for Soon given all of the unbearable and unimaginable suffering and torture she has endured, I can't help but feel as though her views on this aspect are not only misguided but also irresponsible. Anybody on North Korea found with a Bible will be sent to a concentration camp, not to mention that they wouldn't even know what it was at first therefore wouldn't be particularly cautious in hiding it. A good and heartbreaking book unfortunately hijacked by a misguided agenda. Read "Aquariums..." first.
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Location: UK

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