So if the reports are true, China has repatriated the 31 refugees that South Korea and the NGO community have pleaded so earnestly not to. Hearing the news, I can’t say I’m surprised – after all, as I predicted a few days ago, the new interim nuclear deal the DPRK came to terms with the Americans literally pushed the refugee news off the media pages, giving Beijing the cover to quietly send the North Koreans back to what we can only hope is lenient punishment. Part of me can’t but help think of the words Jim McKay said after the disastrous German attempt at rescuing the Israeli hostages at Munich: “they’re all gone.”
I can’t help but think of how much this is non-news, especially contrasted to what this week came out as what could be the largest hyped human rights video of all time: Kony 2012. With over 50 million views, this dwarfs the number of folks worldwide who came out to protest China’s planned repatriation of the 31. Part of Invisible Children’s success is the personalization of the issue. By focusing the message on to one person, Joseph Kony, they’ve successfully turned what is a undoubtedly a complex issue into a simple anthropomorphic exercise: make Kony known, and maybe, just maybe, Dorothy, perhaps he’ll turn himself in.
The 31, and North Korean refugees in general, do not have that luxury. Read the rest of this entry »