Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!
Apparently North Korean athletes should fear a bad performance – not fear of embarrassment, but actual fear for their lives. Excerpt:
Having failed to land a single medal in South Korea so far, its Winter Olympic team could suffer the same fate as previous underperforming athletes – imprisonment in one of the country’s sick gulags.
The most infamous case is that of the North Korean football team which made history for reaching the second round of the 1966 World Cup.
Former leader Kim Il-Sung is widely believed to have ordered them to be arrested after they lost to 5-3 Portugal days after they were seen drinking with local women in public.
Instead of going home to a proud welcome, the are reported to have been sent to one of the reclusive nation’s most notorious gulags.
North Korean defector Kang Chol-Hwan claims he met some of the team while they were being held in Yodok prison, or Camp 15, usually reserved for political prisoners.
In his tell-all book The Aquariums of Pyongyang, he asserts that footballer Pak Seung-Zin became infamous for his ability to endure torture.
Another inmate, dubbed “The Cockroach” after gobbling any insects he could find to fight off hunger pains, would often be thrown into a solitary chamber known as the “Sweatbox”.
While they are the best known case of the country’s harsh attitude towards “failure”, they are far from the only ones.
Dennis Rodman has been strangely quiet on the issue.
One wonders why the NoRKs were even allowed to participate in the Olympics. I suppose it was a show of how the Korean peninsula may be re-united one day. One might also wonder why none of the athletes have (so far) made any attempt to defect to the South, but then, consider what it likely to happen to their families were they to do so.
This is the problem with autocratic regimes like North Korea, especially when one is led by a stunted little gargoyle with bad hair from a long line of stunted little gargoyles with bad hair. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Little Kim was pretty damned corrupt when his father was still alive. The Olympics just being one more example that, in North Korea, you piss off the dictator at your mortal peril.
What is mildly amazing is that none of this punk’s own people have taken him out yet.