Eyewitness to Atrocity

Last week, President Bush stood at the Korean demilitarized zone -- a landscape bristling with barbed wire and machine gun-toting soldiers. Through a pair of binoculars, Bush peered at North Korea -- part of what he designated as the Axis of Evil. Many object to that phrase, but evidence I received last week demonstrates that Bush got it right: "Evil" is the word.   Dr. Norbert Vollertsen, a German physician, spent eighteen months in North Korea with the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders. The North Korean government was so impressed with Dr. Vollertsen's work that it gave him a special pass allowing him to travel freely throughout the country.   It was a big mistake because in his travels Vollertsen uncovered and documented unspeakable evil.   At hospitals, he found mind-boggling deprivation: No running water, no bandages, no medicines, no scalpels. Emaciated children lay on broken beds, waiting to die.   All around him he saw exhausted people suffering from psychosomatic illnesses, worn out by endless compulsory drills and so-called "patriotic" assemblies including two-hour marches from which even kindergartners are not exempt.   He watched ordinary people starving. The people of North Korea have faced famine for years while the elite lives in sumptuous luxury. He came in contact with the thousands who, seeking to escape, live unfed and unhoused in the forest at the Chinese border.   And most horrific of all, Dr. Vollertsen learned of concentration camps where prisoners -- including many Christians who are a special target of the state -- are subjected not only to abuse, torture, and slave labor, but to medical experiments meant to advance research in biological and chemical weapons.   When Dr. Vollertsen began showing others what he found, they expelled him from the country. And he's spent the past year telling the world what he saw. For his efforts, he and his family have received death threats. But as a citizen of both the Kingdom of God and the Republic of Germany, Dr. Vollertsen's commitment to the suffering is unwavering.   "As a German," he wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "I know too well the guilt of my grandparents' generation for its silence under the Nazis. I feel it is my duty to expose this satanic regime."   Not everyone wants to listen, however. Recently, when Dr. Vollertsen testified before the Religious Liberty Commission, few reporters bothered with the event. Yet Commission Chairman Michael Young called Vollertsen "a moving and powerful witness." His testimony could help American citizens and policymakers see the deadly and dangerous nature of the Pyongyang regime.   I'm asking BreakPoint listeners to do these things. First, call BreakPoint and ask for a free copy of the latest WORLD magazine. The cover story, written by BreakPoint's Anne Morse, is about Dr. Vollertsen.   Second, write President Bush, thanking him for including North Korea as part of the Axis of Evil and for bravely sticking with it in the face of harsh criticism.   Once Americans learn what's happening inside North Korea, they'll understand why, despite media criticism, President Bush is right, labeling this brutal regime "evil" -- and why the civilized world must confront it.         Take action:   Thank President Bush for his strong, moral stand in designating North Korea a part of the Axis of Evil. You can write him at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20500. Or e- mail him at   Call your congressman and ask that Congress hold hearings on North Korea's horrific human rights abuses. The Capitol switchboard number is 202-224- 3121. You can access the House directory here.   For more information:   Anne Morse, "View from the Axis," WORLD, 9 March 2002.   "Eyewitness to Evil," an interview with Dr. Norbert Vollertsen on North Korea's human rights atrocities.   Dr. Norbert Vollertsen, "A Prison Country," Wall Street Journal, 17 April 2001.   The Chosun Journal "informs, provokes, mobilizes consciences for the sake of human rights in North Korea."   Paul Marshall and Lela Gilbert, Their Blood Cries Out: The Untold Story of Persecution Against Christians in the Modern World (Word Books, 1997).


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary