Stop Laughing at North Korea

Mockery isn't the right response to this horror: Clive Crook
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2014 1:40 PM CST
In this 2007 photo, Kim Jong Il poses with Korean People's Army soldiers.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)

(Newser) – Many years ago, Clive Crook green-lit an Economist cover featuring what at the time was a rare photo of Kim Jong Il, underneath the headline, "Greetings, earthlings." It was inspired, and "people still mention it to me unprompted as their favorite Economist cover," Crook writes at Bloomberg. But somehow it doesn't seem so funny in the wake of the UN's report on the sheer scale of human horror taking place in North Korea.

"I think we can agree there's something funny about a chubby central planner with a perm, designer glasses, and a romper suit," Crook writes, and Kim's basketball-loving successor "has similar comic potential." We always knew people were suffering, but when we thought it was the result of epic leadership incompetence, mockery seemed OK. Now it doesn't. "You don't make jokes about concentration camps, and you don't make jokes about torture. … There's nothing funny about North Korea." Click for his full column. (Read more The Economist stories.)

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