Pro Egypt Protests in Washington DC

Monday, January 31, 2011

On Friday and Saturday crowds gathered in Washington DC to support Egypt's pro democracy demonstrations.

Crowds gathered outside of the White House on Friday and Saturday and called upon the US government to cease its support Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Several groups planned rallies for Saturday. One group of protesters marched from the Egyptian Embassy to the the White House

An onlooker watches as a second group of protesters arrived at Lafayette Square

The crowd was buoyant as the second group of protesters arrived.

Activists shouted slogans in both Arabic and English calling for Mubarak to step down.
The protesters in Washington DC have called for the government to take a less equivocal stand on the protests in Egypt. On Sunday President Obama expressed his support for “an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”


Review of National Geographic's North Korea

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Three nights ago my husband and I watched a documentary on North Korea by National Geographic.  It came out back in 2007 and a lot has happened in North Korea since then, but the core values of the nation are essentially the same.  Then again, they're essentially the same as they were in the 1950s. 

It began with a humanitarian mission to the "hermit country".  A crew from National Geographic teamed up with a doctor who planned on performing one thousand operations on North Koreans with cataracts that cause blindness.  The documentary team was undercover, obviously, and they were the only Americans in the nation. 

I won't tell you too much about it, because it is worth watching yourself, but a few things blew me away.  First, there are two MILLION soldiers guarding the border between North and South Korea.  Two million!  There are also over a million land mines and an electric fence. 

Second, they had a famine during the 1990s that killed three million North Koreans.  The children that grew up during that time are permanently stunted in growth. 

Third, they worship Kim Jung-Il like he is the son of God.  Literally, that's not an exaggeration.  As the people removed their bandages after their successful surgeries, they ran to a picture of Kim Jung-Il with prayers of thanks and promises to do more to make him happy.  

Last, the prison camps are like something out of a Cold War science fiction movie.  If you defect from North Korea and manage to slip past the soldiers, land mines, and electric fence, your entire family is placed in hard labor prison camps.  Children, too, for the rest of their lives.  One defector recounted a story of when he was a guard in one of those camps about a group of children who fought over a kernel or corn in cow dung.  And it's not only the families of defectors that are placed in these camps, it is anyone who is remotely disloyal to Kim Jung-Il. 

I am normally one who sees the possibility of a solution to anything.  Not here.  The children are taught from the day they are able to understand that America is the enemy.  Old men promise to kill all the Americans to honor Kim Jung-Il.  It's hard to imagine a nation that size and with so many people, so completely under the control of such an evil leader.  Check it out.  Tell me what you think.


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