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January 17, 2005
Dissent In North Korea: AP

The AP reports that they have video of unprecedented demonstrations against the Kim regime in North Korea, one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. The demonstration calls for the removal of Kim Jong-Il and follows several signs over the past few months that Kim's grip may be slipping:

A human rights group claimed Tuesday that it has obtained video footage showing dissident activities in North Korea, with demands for freedom and democracy written over a poster of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il.

If authentic, it would be the first time images of dissent in the highly secretive North have come to light. But there was no way to independently confirm the validity of the footage.

The 35-minute videotape, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, shows written statements posted on a wall, urging North Koreans to fight to retrieve freedom and democracy.

A man is heard, but not seen, reading a statement, demanding Kim Jong Il be removed from his post. "The North Korean people are suffering from hunger and poverty because of Kim Jong Il's dictatorship and dogmatic politics," the man says.

No one doubts that the Kim regime has suffered some level of strain this past year, from large explosions in its railroad system to the unusual retirement of some public portraits of the Dear Leader in the capitol. The North Koreans have starved for years, with thousands fleeing into an increasingly unhappy China. Now it looks like some North Koreans are either unwilling to abandon their homeland to the Kim regime or simply haven't the means to leave. And if they have to starve anyway, in the last gasp some will stand and fight.

Hopefully the regime will pass from the scene quietly. The cracks have lengthened and deepened, and if the North Koreans have decided to stand up and demand change, it won't take much to start a collapse.

UPDATE: Tomorrow's London Telegraph has more:

The 35-minute video clip, said to have been taken in November, was posted on the website of an opposition group based in South Korea. It shows a poster of Kim scrawled over with the words: "Down with Kim Jong-il. Let's all rise to drive out the dictatorial regime.'' ...

Such an act would be considered a grave crime in the North and would mean a death sentence without trial for the perpetrator, said Do Hee-youn, who heads the group. "It's no ordinary group of people who took this video," he told Reuters news agency.

This is the still frame that might be imperfectly analogous to Luther nailing his theses to the Wittenburg cathedral door:

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 17, 2005 10:47 PM

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