Good news about Aijalon Mahli Gomes today. The DPRK has recognized an opportunity to use him as a pawn, thereby pushing his name and plight into global attention. Aijalon has been a prisoner of the Pyongyang gulag since January 25th of this year, and precious little attention has been given his case.
A recent debate in the UK Parliament brought out some pertinent points about the overall situation in Korea. Here are some scattered excerpts from that transcript.
Since (the arrest and subsequent release of former DPRK captive, Robert Park), Aijalon Gomes has also entered North Korea in the hope of shining a light on some of the 154,000 political prisoners who are believed to be held in six camps across the country.
The United Nations estimates that 400,000 people have died in the camps in the past 30 years. Many of the stories that have emerged of escapees reveal the primitive brutality that has been experienced there. Many of these barbaric practices were pioneered by the Japanese during their occupation of the Korean peninsula.
… the line between good and evil does not lie between nation states or even across the 38th parallel but within each and every human heart. It is not that the people of the north are evil and the people of the south are good. There is good and evil in all. That needs to be recognised. The people of the north have suffered a level of brutality which is unimaginable, not just over the years of the regime which has been in place for the past 50 years but for almost a century since they came under brutal Japanese occupation.
The experience of Japanese occupation is taught in primary schools and from kindergarten. People experience that day in and day out; they have a living history of that brutality, and it is drummed into them. Not surprisingly, therefore, they view the external world with some suspicion and fear. That was added to by the short and brutal engagement of the Korean War, which is also scarred on the consciousness of every primary school child and every family in North Korea. If it were not so, there is no way that the country of North Korea could keep within its extensive porous borders to the north with China its population of 21 million. We need to place this in the context of the great crimes against the Korean people, and especially the North Korean people, which have been perpetrated over the past century, and seek some truth, justice and reconciliation for them.
Every effort has to be made to bring about (the reunification of Korea.) North Korea is economically virtually on its knees. Its GDP per capita is about $1,800, which makes it the 193rd poorest country on the planet. Just across the border in South Korea, there is a GDP per capita of $28,000, making it one of the richest countries on the planet. The total GDP of the north is $40 billion; the total GDP of the south runs to $800 billion. The inconsistencies between the two are vast.
The ongoing lack of U.S. State Department news and concern for Aijalon has apparently been aimed (my opinion) at preventing the DPRK from gaining leverage to use him in a trade that would be advantageous to the ruling class there–but, hey, let’s face it… that’s the way it works. Power-mongers do what is going to be in their favor and do not do what is not. That Aijalon would be held for such a time as this is no surprise whatsoever.
Here is a bit of today’s news, as reported on Xinhuanet, indicating that the Aijalon cat is out of the bag:
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday said it was considering applying wartime law to Aijalon Mahli Gomes, an American imprisoned in the DPRK for illegally entering the country, the official news agency KCNA reported.
The United States continued to implement its anti-DPRK policy by escalating the campaign to put international pressure on the DPRK over the “Cheonan” case, compelling the DPRK to consider handling all relevant issues such as Gomes’ imprisonment according to a wartime law, reported the KCNA.
The authorities concerned are now examining the issue to decide what additional measure should be taken against Gomes in line with a wartime law.
Is this bad news? I don’t think so. If you want to scatter the bugs, lift the rock and let some light in. Why do you think the ruling force is so secretive in the DPRK? If the world knew the truth, there would be constant outrage. I am reminded of a quote that goes something like this: If any of us are held in bondage, then none of us are free.
Personally, I’ve been looking for something absolutely amazing to occur, surrounding the issue of Aijalon Mahli Gomes. Maybe this is the beginning of it. Aijalon, hang in there my brother. Trust in the Lord. Be strong. Be strengthened. Help is at hand.
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