An article on the Voice of America’s news site today has this to say about the plight of Aijalon Mahli Gomes:
Han Myung-sop is a South Korean lawyer with expertise in the North’s legal system. He says the large fine is a break with precedent.
He says North Korean law does not provide for any monetary punishments whatsoever. Such a concept, he says, is inconsistent with the North’s socialist system. Therefore, says Han, the fine imposed on Gomes can only be viewed as a ransom.
Han says the United States is in a quandary now, especially as it tries to enforce international economic sanctions related to North Korea’s nuclear program. Also, Han says if Washington pays the fine, this kind of situation is likely to repeat itself in the future.
This brings up a troubling point–Aijalon Gomes may find himself in between the proverbial rock and hard spot… the USA unwilling to pay ransom and the North Koreans unwilling to lose face (not to mention money) by dropping the fine.
On the other hand, if Aijalon Gomes, like Robert Park–who entered North Korea a month to the day earlier than Gomes–acted primarily to draw attention to the plight of North Koreans, then his captivity there may pay off in a big way… through some money in the picture and everyone pays attention.
Robert Park, in his interview with Reuters, said this:
I am going in for the sake of the lives of the North Korean people. And if he (Kim Jong-il) kills me, in a sense, I realize this is better. Then the governments of the world will become more prone to say something, and more embarrassed and more forced to make a statement.
His last recorded statement, though, came from the North Koreans, and–since he has remained silent since his release–allegations and rumors have run rampant, but the truth remains unconfirmed
The West is massively feeding “Children of Secret State”, “Seoul Train” and other documentary videos with stories about non-existent “human rights abuses” and “mass killings” in the DPRK and “unbearable sufferings” of its Christians and the like…
I worshipped and there, there was the Jondosa, there, there was a pastor, there was a choir, they knew the hymns, they knew the word of God. That’s why I was completely amazed. But I began to weep and weep in the Christian service because I learned that there are churches and Christians such as Pongsu Kyohoe (Church) in different cities and regions all throughout the DPRK…
I have felt shock, embarrassment, shame. Here I’m in the lands where people respect human rights and, not just respecting human rights, they have actually loved me and showed me more than just human rights. They have shown me grace…
My prayer is that Aijalon Gomes also be the recepient of love and grace, that all nations drop their hostilities and begin to work together and that peace will reign in our world and in our hearts.
“Get real,” you say? The reality is that human beings are enduring untold suffering–and not just in North Korea, but around the globe. I don’t choose to accept that as the status quo. None of us are truly free, until all of us are free.
May God bless Aijalon Gomes and Robert Park. May God’s Spirit reach into the heart of North Korea. May God bless you and me.