Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Modern Martyrs

I suspect that you, like I, think that men being forced to die for their faith is something out of the distant past. That being put to death for professing Christianity is an ancient horror story.

We would be wrong.

Jay Nordlinger today here and here:
Son Jong Nam, R.I.P.   [Jay Nordlinger]
Did you forget about North Korea? Oh, I’m sorry, let me remind you. Here’s a little news snippet. Son Jong Nam was “tortured to death for trying to spread the Gospel in his native land, armed with 20 bibles and 10 cassette tapes of hymns. He was 50.”

Don’t want to read any more? I don’t blame you, but I’m going to keep going.
In January 2001, Son was arrested by Chinese police for allegedly trying to convert North Korean defectors in China, which bans foreigners from proselytizing. He was deported home in April, where he was detained and tortured, leaving him with a limp, his brother said. He lost about 70 pounds (32 kilograms) in captivity.

“He was beaten in the head with clubs and given electric shocks,” his brother says, his eyes welling up with tears.
Ah, well, big deal, he lived. Besides, he was a Jesus freak — and you know how icky they are. More from the article:
Son was released in 2004 and sneaked across the border to Yanji to see his daughter, who had been left in the care of a Chinese missionary. He soon decided to return to North Korea to proselytize.
You mean, he went back? One season of torture wasn’t enough for him? Here is another quote from his brother: “I repeatedly urged him to change his mind, but he told me he has something to do in North Korea.”

Okay, let me finish up:
Son was arrested again in January 2006 after police found bibles at his home in the northeastern city of Hoeryong. He was also charged with spying for the United States and South Korea and sentenced to public execution by firing squad.

His brother launched an international campaign to save him. That apparently led his captors to switch to a less public method: torture. “There are many ways to kill people in North Korea,” says his brother.
Oh, for sure. You know, for the last eight years, I’ve heard that the United States tortures people. Can we please have a word other than “torture” for whatever our people did to Khaled Sheikh Mohammed in an effort to prevent further mass murder? KSM, as you remember, was the “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks. He personally beheaded Daniel Pearl. Etc. Alternatively, could we have another word for what real torturers do, in places such as North Korea and China?

KSM is fat and happy, sitting in Gitmo with his elliptical machine and Red Cross visits. (Maybe he is not using his elliptical machine so much, being fat as well as happy.) Anyway, I’ll quit fuming (for a moment). For the complete article from which I’ve quoted, go here.
A P.S. on Son Jong Nam   [Jay Nordlinger]
You may like to know how Son got to be what he became. He started out as a good boy — a loyal North Korean. He served in the “presidential security service” for ten years. Was all hot to fight the “American imperialists,” etc. But then something happened: “His wife, eight months pregnant at the time, was arrested for allegedly saying Kim Jong Il had ruined the economy and caused a mass famine.” “Allegedly,” mind you: She only allegedly blurted out the truth. “Interrogators seeking a confession kicked her in the stomach, forcing her to discharge blood and have a miscarriage.”
So, Son fled with his family to China. His wife soon died. And that’s when he began his other life . . .