Friday, August 12, 2005

You don't suppose they'll hold a grudge, do you?

Announcing the Ŭryu Amnesty!

In the midst of a recess at the six-party talks, North Korea is apparently announcing an amnesty timed for the sixtieth anniversary of Korea's liberation from the Japanese, which every child knows was singlehandedly accomplished by Korea's President for Eternity, the Great Leader Kim Ilsung.

Any journalist wannabe knows that a proper story answers the 5 W's and (in the interest of diversity) the 1 H, but with this story, we're limited to just one or two W's: what and possibly when. We don't even know how.

The what is the amnesty itself, rubber-stamped by the rubber-stamp parliament, but we don't know who will be given amnesty.

We also know when: September 1.

We don't even know what kind of crimes the amnesty will cover. We only vaguely know that why may have something to do with international pressure on human rights.

Or does it? Maybe Pyongyang has locked up too many people to run the barely running economy, so they have to let some of them out. Or maybe by letting people out of prison, the leadership is hoping that the pardoned will feel warm and fuzzy when things get really bad this winter, enough that they and their family members won't try to overthrow the ruling cadres.

Holiday amnesties are common in South Korea, with some geared toward beefing up voter support on the cheap by wiping out parking violations. But this is the North's first amnesty in three years. Back then, according to AFP, Pyongyang pardoned people sentenced to labor or re-education, in order to celebrate the 90th birthday of Kim Ilsung.

Even then it wasn't clear how many prisoners were freed, but there probably weren't many double parkers among them.


  1. What's going on with your updates? Nothing for over a week!

  2. I've been busy. Lots of documentary-related stuff coming down the pipeline. But for now, you can chew on this.


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