Just last week, Dennis Rodman made his third trip to North Korea to help train their men's basketball team and attempt to set up a match for Kim Jong-Un's birthday.
The former basketballer has claimed that these trips are completely harmless, but it seems clear that he doesn't fully understand the seriousness of the situation overseas. Well someone who has seen the horrors firsthand is finally trying to give Dennis the wake-up call he so desperately needs!
Shin Dong-hyuk is a human-rights activist who was born in a North Korean labor camp and is the only know person to escape, and he's written an open letter to the big man in hopes of opening his eyes to reality in his home country.
In the chilling letter, he writes:
"Dear Mr. Rodman:
I have never met you, and until you visited North Korea in February I had never heard of you. Now I know very well that you are a famous, retired American basketball player with many tattoos. I also understand that you are returning this week to North Korea to coach basketball and perhaps visit for the third time with the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, who has become your friend.
I want to tell you about myself. I was born in 1982 in Camp 14, a political prison in the mountains of North Korea. For more than 50 years, Kim Jong Un, his father and his grandfather have used prisons such as Camp 14 to punish, starve and work to death people who the regime decides are a threat. Prisoners are sent to places like Camp 14 without trial and in secret. A prisoner’s “crime” can be his relation by blood to someone the regime believes is a wrongdoer or wrong-thinker. My crime was to be born as the son of a man whose brother fled to South Korea in the 1950s…
On orders of the guards in Camp 14, inmates are forced to marry and create children to be raised by guards to be disposable slaves. Until I escaped in 2005, I was one of those slaves. My body is covered with scars from torture I endured in the camp…
I happen to be about the same age as your friend Kim Jong Un. But if you ask him about me, he is likely to refer to me as “human scum.” That is how his state-controlled press refers to me and all other North Koreans who have risked death by fleeing the country. Your friend probably also will deny that Camp 14 exists, which is the official position of his government. If he does, you can show him pictures of it on your phone.
Mr. Rodman, I cannot presume to tell you to cancel your trip to North Korea. It is your right as an American to travel wherever you wish and to say whatever you want. It is your right to drink fancy wines and enjoy yourself in luxurious parties, as you reportedly did in your previous trips to Pyongyang. But as you have a fun time with the dictator, please try to think about what he and his family have done and continue to do. Just last week, Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of his uncle. Recent satellite pictures show that some of the North’s labor camps, including Camp 14, may be expanding. The U.N. World Food Programme says four out of five North Koreans are hungry. Severe malnutrition has stunted and cognitively impaired hundreds of thousands of children. Young North Korean women fleeing the country in search of food are often sold into human-trafficking rings in China and beyond.
I am writing to you, Mr. Rodman, because, more than anything else, I want Kim Jong Un to hear the cries of his people. Maybe you could use your friendship and your time together to help him understand that he has the power to close the camps and rebuild the country’s economy so everyone can afford to eat."
So far, Dennis has completely ignored the fact that things like this continue to happen in North Korea and claims he is there strictly to play and teach basketball.
However, the fact that he is completely overlooking such horrible acts is almost insulting to the people who are being forced to live through them. Hopefully this letter reaches Dennis and he rethinks making another trip back to North Korea anytime soon.
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: basketball, chilling, dennis rodman, escape, human rights, kim jong un, labor camp, north korea, open letter, politik, prisoner, shin dong hyuk, travel, wake up call, zportz