It’s one man’s story of how he escaped from a North Korean prison camp after witnessing countless tortures, beatings, and murders. It’s a miracle he survived, and it’s a blessing we get to read about his story.
Here’s part of the story from the book excerpt posted in The Guardian:
His first memory is an execution. He walked with his mother to a wheat field, where guards had rounded up several thousand prisoners. The boy crawled between legs to the front row, where he saw guards tying a man to a wooden pole.
Shin In Geun was four years old, too young to understand the speech that came before that killing. At dozens of executions in years to come, he would listen to a guard telling the crowd that the prisoner about to die had been offered “redemption” through hard labour, but had rejected the generosity of the North Korean government.
Guards stuffed pebbles into the prisoner’s mouth, covered his head with a hood and shot him.
In Camp 14, a prison for the political enemies of North Korea, assemblies of more than two inmates were forbidden, except for executions. Everyone had to attend them.
The South Korean government estimates there are about 154,000 prisoners in North Korea’s labour camps, while the US state department puts the number as high as 200,000. The biggest is 31 miles long and 25 miles wide, an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. Numbers 15 and 18 have re-education zones where detainees receive remedial instruction in the teachings of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, and are sometimes released. The remaining camps are “complete control districts” where “irredeemables” are worked to death.
Shin’s camp, number 14, is a complete control district. Established around 1959 near Kaechon County in South Pyongan Province, it holds an estimated 15,000 prisoners. About 30 miles long and 15 miles wide, it has farms, mines and factories threaded through steep mountain valleys.
Shin and his mother lived in the best prisoner accommodation the camp had to offer. They had their own room, where they slept on a concrete floor, and they shared a kitchen with four other families. Electricity ran for two hours a day. There were no beds, chairs or tables. No running water.
If Shin’s mother met her daily work quota, she could bring home food. At 4am, she would prepare breakfast and lunch for her son and for herself. Every meal was the same: corn porridge, pickled cabbage and cabbage soup. Shin was always hungry and he would eat his lunch as soon as his mother left for work. He also ate her lunch. When she came back from the fields at midday and found nothing to eat, she would beat him with a shovel.
Her name was Jang Hye Gyung. She never talked to him about her past, her family, or why she was in the camp, and he never asked. His existence as her son had been arranged by the guards. They chose her and the man who became Shin’s father as prizes for each other in a “reward” marriage.
Single men and women slept in dormitories segregated by sex. The eighth rule of Camp 14 said, “Should sexual physical contact occur without prior approval, the perpetrators will be shot immediately.” A reward marriage was the only safe way around the no-sex rule. Guards announced marriages four times a year. If one partner found his or her chosen mate to be unacceptably old, cruel or ugly, guards would sometimes cancel a marriage. If they did, neither the man nor the woman would be allowed to marry again. Shin’s father, Shin Gyung Sub, told Shin that the guards gave him Jang as payment for his skill in operating a metal lathe.
After their marriage, the couple were allowed to sleep together for five consecutive nights. From then on, Shin’s father was permitted to visit Jang a few times a year. Their eldest son, Shin He Geun, was born in 1974. Shin was born eight years later. The brothers barely knew each other. By the time Shin was four, his brother had moved into a dormitory.
The guards taught the children they were prisoners because of the “sins” of their parents but that they could “wash away” their inherent sinfulness by working hard, obeying the guards and informing on their parents.
One day, Shin joined his mother at work, planting rice. When she fell behind, a guard made her kneel in the hot sun with her arms in the air until she passed out. Shin did not know what to say to her, so he said nothing.
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Most marketers who consider Facebook a valuable platform are feeling baffled with the series of changes that the social media giant has brought in recently, making them reevaluate its importance. For starters, Facebook has placed limits on access by third-party applications. The new apps that use “Facebook Login” (via Facebook Login API), will no longer have permission to publish posts for Facebook. As for all existing apps, this permission will be revoked on August 1, 2018.
Facebook has also cut off access to third-party data for ad targeting by closing a feature called “Partner Categories.” This feature was launched in 2013 through a partnership between Facebook and major data brokers such as Epsilon, Acxiom, BlueKai, and Datalogix. Furthermore, the company is bringing in a new custom audience certification tool that requires marketers to guarantee that email addresses used for ad targeting are obtained with permission.
These measures have come in the wake of criticism that Facebook faced for allowing Cambridge Analytica (a political consulting firm that helped U.S. President Donald Trump with his presidential campaign in 2016) to exploit the data of up to 87 million of its users thanks to a loophole. The firm not only collected information from those who used its app (built on Facebook) but from all their friends too, without their knowledge or consent.
Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, shared more details. When users log on to Facebook, there are around 1,500 stories competing to appear on their News Feed, and Facebook selects 300 of those stories based on relevance. This makes it harder for brands to appear on their follower’s timeline organically. In fact, the organic reach of Facebook Pages has been falling over the years.
These changes make Facebook a safer place for individuals, but do they render the platform inhospitable for businesses?
As of March 2018, Facebook had more than 1.45 billion daily active users. There is no doubt that it remains a crucial channel for businesses to connect with their prospects. Marketers will just have to adapt to the new reality.
The good news is that Zuckerberg and Mosseri said nothing about Facebook ads, which are still one of the most effective forms of advertising, if done right. In fact, ad prices have already gone up because of the decline in organic reach.
Facebook is also going to open up its messaging platform for marketers. At the recent annual F8 Developers Conference, David Marcus, Facebook’s VP of messaging products, announced: “As far as advertising is concerned, we’re definitely getting WhatsApp more open.” He added, “We’re now going to have the ability to enable larger companies, not only small businesses, to integrate a new API to send and receive messages with people on the WhatsApp platform.”
In a recent note, Barclays Capital estimated that Facebook is set to earn an incremental revenue of at least $11 billion from Messenger and WhatsApp by 2020.
There will be new revenue options for businesses too. For example, Facebook is already working with KLM airlines to enable customers to get their boarding pass via WhatsApp.
While Facebook is opening up other avenues for businesses, here are five ways in which marketers can drive engagement:
Content that is relevant, creates an emotional connection, piques curiosity, or drives a debate that will work well with the Facebook audience. Content that people engage with will most likely still get ranked over regular broadcasts.
Build programs that drive word-of-mouth marketing. Start by asking your customers to follow your page!
Add subtitles and captions — yes, most people watch videos on mute. Facebook’s News Feed algorithms are known to prioritize video content. Producing videos (including live videos) can help your brand stay relevant among your followers.
Tools like BuzzSumo help you find influencers in your niche. A positive testimonial goes a long way in bringing new prospects.
Facebook doesn’t want brands to trick users into commenting, liking, tagging, voting, or sharing posts. Stay away from these methods, because they may get your posts demoted.
There are a lot of changes happening in the world of Facebook marketing, but the bottom line is that businesses shouldn’t give up on it. New restrictions on ad targeting and engagement baiting will force marketers to be careful with how they use Facebook, but the new WhatsApp advertising opportunities should offer a lot of new scope for creativity. Businesses that know how to create authentic and appealing original content, and use affiliates/influencers to boost their branch reach are poised to make the most of what Facebook marketing has to offer.
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“This isn’t theater. This is a problem.” Obama puts the border crisis on Congress’ shoulders.
WASHINGTON — President Obama warned Congress on Wednesday not to let his plan to deal with the crisis at the border get bogged down in partisan wrangling, even as he teed up his arguments for another political brawl over immigration.
“If I sponsored a bill declaring apple pie American, it might fall victim to partisan politics,” the president joked when asked if he was worried his $3.7 billion plan to bolster immigration enforcement would get caught up in Capitol Hill gridlock.
The president said passing the budget supplemental, as well as a separate plan to tweak existing law to make it easier for the government to turn back border crossers without the full asylum hearing currently required by law, was the only way for a short-term solution to the border problem.
“Congress has the capacity to work with all parties concerned to directly address this situation. They’ve said they want to see a solution,” he said. “The supplemental offers them the capacity to vote immediately to get it done.”
“There’s a very simple question here,” Obama said. “Congress needs to just pass the supplemental.”
The president also once again called for House Republicans to allow a vote on a comprehensive immigration bill that stalled out in the chamber following a bipartisan vote in the Senate.
“The Senate passed a common-sense bipartisan bill more than a year ago. It would have strengthened the border, added an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents,” Obama said. “It would have strengthened our backlogged immigration courts. It would have put us in a stronger position to deal with this surge and, in fact, prevent it.”
Obama rebuffed bipartisan calls for a presidential visit to the border at a speech in Texas following a meeting with that state’s governor, Rick Perry. The Republican and several border Democrats have called for Obama to visit the border region where thousands of border crossers have been apprehended in recent weeks.
“There’s nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on,” Obama said. “This isn’t theater. This is a problem. I’m not interested in photo ops; I’m interested in solving a problem. And those who say I should visit the border, when you ask them what should we be doing, they’re giving us suggestions that are embodied in legislation that I’ve already sent to Congress.”
But when it came to Perry and Obama, who went through their own partisan theatrics in the past day or so, the president said the pair had found common ground.
“The bottom line is actually that there’s nothing that the governor indicated he’d like to see that I have a philosophical objection to,” Obama said, adding he wasn’t opposed to dispatching National Guard troops to the border as Perry has requested. But Obama said he told Perry he needs Republicans in Washington to work with him if the border problem will be solved quickly.
“One of the suggestions I had for Gov. Perry was that it would be useful for my Republican friends to rediscover the concept of negotiation and compromise,” Obama said.
Fab or drab?
Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images
Nem todas as comidas parecem deliciosas no Instagram… ou mesmo comestíveis.
Welcome to the future! Why use bad old paper and pen when you can use fancy tech?! This way you have a third dimension for your spontaneous drawings. Seems fun!
“Jimmy and Andrew Rannells face off against Michael Che and Steve Higgins in a virtual reality version of Pictionary.”