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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

Sources: Zoom in Korea

by | March 16th, 2014 | 07:19 am

Tired of the same old-same old with respect to the Korean peninsula? Looking for something different? Michael Munk alerted us to a website that presents an alternative progressive view called Zoom in Korea. A look at the tag clouds is an interesting indicator of focus. Setting aside countries (China, US, South Korea) our most frequently used tags are the nuclear program, food, economy, human rights and sanctions. Zoom’s include peace treaty, KCTU, NIS, and US-ROK alliance. The blog’s categories include Democracy, Labor and People’s Struggles, Trade and Neoliberalism, Peace and Militarism, Culture, Reunification, Asia Pacific Region and the DPRK. You get the picture.

The DPRK part of the site covered the recent Northern initiative and the family reunions in detail. But a quick search of the site with respect to the UN Commission of Inquiry delivered us a February report on an Amnesty International letter to South Korea “raising concerns about South Korea’s human rights, including the areas of death penalty, freedom of association, migrant workers, National Security Law, conscientious objectors, and lack of genuine consultation (with residents in building Power Transmission Tower).” Fine, we’ve written on freedom of speech in the South as well.  But an ongoing complaint of ours: where is the left on North Korean human rights?

That said, we found the coverage of labor issues, including the recent railroad strikes and wider debates on unionization of government workers, to be interesting and useful. The site covers a number of issues, such as the Jeju naval base controversy, that deserve greater attention from us as well as perspectives from the left on the Seok-Ki trial, the NIS scandal and the environment. Understanding Korea cannot mean only reading the Washington echo chamber.