Nelson Mandela’s Favorite Shakespeare Passage

Located off the coast of Capetown, South Africa, Robben Island has been used to hold anti-apartheid insurgents and outcasts since the end of the 1800s. Revolutionaries, lepers, and political prisoners have all called Robben Island home. Most notably, Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison as an inmate at Robben Island. While … Continue reading

Relating to a Plea from China

Last month a Falun Gong practitioner and former prisoner in China admitted to writing a letter found by an Oregonian woman in her K-mart Halloween decorations. The letter alleges the product was made in a Chinese labor camp by prisoners who work 15 hours a day and face torture and abuse. It requests, “Sir: If … Continue reading

Potential Step Forward on Forced Labor in China

In November 2011 I visited the Laogai Museum here in DC and spoke with its founder Harry Wu. You may remember from that interview that the Laogai system is a form of “re-education through labor” used in China against dissidents for the last 50 years. In that interview Wu said, “No one should be able … Continue reading

Convict Porters and the Long Mile

Earlier this week, I interviewed my husband Michael about some of the human rights concerns in Burma / Myanmar. In his answer, he cited the problem of forced portering, in which the Burmese army takes people from villages and forces them to walk with heavy loads on their backs. This form of slavery has particular … Continue reading

When Numbers Fail

As I reflect on the many things I learned last week at the Hidden Gulag conference, the power of story stands out the most. Shin Dong-hyuk, who spoke briefly of growing up in a North Korean prison camp, captured everyone’s imagination and brought a room full of DC businesspeople to tears. His co-authored autobiography Escape … Continue reading

Resources on North Korean Gulags

A mantra you’ll often hear is “‘We don’t know much about North Korea.’ That’s actually not really true.” -Nicholas Eberstadt, HRNK The Hidden Gulag, 2nd Ed. – by David Hawk An in-depth report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea containing survivors’ accounts, detailed maps, satellite images, and more. Available for free download … Continue reading

Tweets Re: North Korean Gulags

Thank you to everyone who followed along yesterday with my live tweets from the Hidden Gulag conference here in DC. It was a really fascinating event, and as you could probably tell I tried to capture as much as possible on Twitter. Before I post any further thoughts and resources, I wanted to give you … Continue reading

Hidden Gulag – Live Tweeting

Hey everyone! Don’t forget I’m live tweeting today from Hidden Gulag – a conference at the Peterson Institute in DC on the prison camp system in North Korea. It’s hosted by The U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea – a non-governmental research and advocacy group working for the end of oppression in DPRK. … Continue reading

Prison Hodgepodge

First off, let’s talk about how 40 years of solitary confinement is just too long. People left in solitary for that kind of time end up with serious physical and emotional problems. Unfortunately, it happens every day in America. National Geographic made a documentary on this problem that I found pretty helpful. You can watch … Continue reading

How to Get the World to Care About You in 1 Easy Step

Well, I’m back. I thought about waiting until after this Kony 2012 fiasco fizzled out, but instead I find myself with so many thoughts about it that I – forgive me world – feel obligated to toss my own $.02 into the fountain of cynical banter. In case you haven’t seen it yet (and with … Continue reading

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