My heart wrenches for the terrible injustice served to Otto Warmbier.
As many know, Otto Warmbier, after going on a trip to North Korea, was accused of trying to take a poster back to his home in Ohio, USA. In a press conference in North Korea he can be seen crying and praying for his family and apologising for his criminal offence which was allowed by the United States administration which ‘manipulates people to commit crimes against foreign countries.’ He is clearly being forced to say all of these things by North Korea and it makes me feel physically sick watching this innocent young man with streams of tears, terror behind his eyes, helplessness in his physique and a doom that no one could do to ameliorate, stand up against these North Korean administrators.
Having been convicted to 15 years hard labour for taking a poster (which is, as his friends said, dubious in truth) Otto, 17 months into his punishment, has died.
Returning home he was comatose. The executors of his punishment had inflicted such mental and physical torture onto this young man that he was no longer the man his family knew before his exciting trip abroad. He died with the scars of trauma and pain that he did not deserve.
The family, in a statement, acknowledge that Otto suffered ‘awful torturous mistreatment’ at the hands of the prison guards in North Korea. The suffering they must be going through seems unimaginable.
What can we do, then, with our allies in the United States, to try to contemplate what is happening in North Korea?
There is no denying that there is a dictatorship, an act of brainwashing occurring in that part of the world, that sets it apart from the Western world and, indeed, the rest of the world. What little information has leaked by journalists and documentary-makers is that there is strict censorship of what North Korean’s can access and watch on the internet and television. Kim Jung Un is, clearly, a dictator that has made the North Korean’s believe that he is a God of sorts; an omnipotent being – the only way.
Yeonmi Park, a young North Korean woman who escaped from the horrific regime, mourns her family members and the state of the country where there is no freedom. Freedom is such a simple thing that we take for granted. Those in North Korea are not given that privilege, and the fact it can be said to be a privilege says a lot about the state of this country.
My heart goes out to Otto and his family. I hope that something can happen to change the lives of North Korean’s so that they can taste the sweetness of freedom; the right to be autonomous as opposed to oppressed.
We will see what the future holds. As tensions rise between Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump I hope that a horrific war is not blazing on the horizon.