This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Cruelty of Scarcity and Tyranny

"[The boats] are made of wood and are old and heavy. They can't travel very fast and the engines are not powerful enough to turn the ships against the currents."
Yoshihiko Yamada, maritime expert

"What we do know is that for those people living outside of [North Korean capital] Pyongyang ... life remains extraordinarily hard, and it may be an economic necessity as much as a desire for political freedom [that is] encouraging some people in the North to try and leave the country."
"There's no doubt that these boats are North Korean."
John Nilsson-Wright, head, Asia program, Chatham House policy institute

A ship found in mid-November off Noto Peninsula that was towed to the shore.   A ship found in mid-November off Noto Peninsula, towed to shore
What could be more heartbreaking than to come across vestiges of human despair, symptomatic of people living without hope in desperate circumstances and undertaking a voyage of escape only to discover that they have voyaged into the realm of death. It was death that delivered them from the human bondage that their lives had become. The grisly sight of drifting wooden boats holding decomposing bodies has become a routine sight on the northwestern coast of Japan.

A ghastly occurrence with an air of mystery, but the mystery does not entirely relate to the desperation that informs people they must leave their country, setting out on a journey they feel may lead somewhere with the impression that anywhere else would represent an improvement over the inhuman conditions in which they have been forced to live, of privation, starvation, illness and state oppression. These are hapless migrants from North Korea.

These are people whom stark reality has persuaded that their great and adorable leader is anything but. Wrecked ghost ships keep washing ashore or drafting past Japan. With the remains of human beings on their decks that indicate the length of time they have been on the sea, their corpses in such a state of decomposition that autopsies are simply unfeasible. Ten bodies lying in three boats were discovered on November 20.

Another wooden boat was discovered in yet another prefecture of Japan two days later, with six skulls and an assortment of bones and other identifiable human remains. These are old, ruined fishing boats, eleven of them arriving since late October, most with equipment, nets and signs printed in Korean; one a sign reading Korean People's Army [Republic of North Korea]. Yet because Japanese officials say the 20- to 22-metre-long boats are untypical of South Kora or Japan, mystery persists.

Evidently, dozens of wrecked boats make their way toward Japan annually, with 2015 seeing 34 of the mystery boats. In 2013 there were 80 such boats and their gruesome cargoes, and a year later 65. Fall and winter appear to represent the seasons those boats tend to be discovered, the result of north-west prevailing winds.

When fishermen from North Korea have been seen in Japanese waters hunting squid the Japanese coast guard orders them away. If such ships are disabled, the vessels are rescued and with their crews intact, sent back to North Korea. The quite stark and startling reality appears to be that historically such drifting boats have been seen for centuries, verified by historical accounts.

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