Former-NBA player Dennis Rodman holds a news conference in New York on September 9, 2013 to discuss his recent trip to North Korea. Rodman said that he will put together a 'basketball diplomacy' event involving players from North Korea. The event will be sponsored by the Irish online betting company Paddy Power. At the news conference, he called Kim Jong Un, ruler of the repressive state, a 'very good guy.' AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
USA TODAY - Shin Dong-hyuk is a human rights activist who was born in a North Korean labor camp. Shin escaped, and now writes to Dennis Rodman as the former NBA star visits North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un. Shin's letter provides chilling details about the reality of the North Korean regime.
Below are excerpts from Shin's letter, first published in The Washington Post:
I want to tell you about myself. I was born in 1982 in Camp 14, a political prison in the mountains of North Korea.
My crime was to be born as the son of a man whose brother fled to South Korea in the 1950s.
On orders of the guards in Camp 14, inmates are forced to marry and create children to be raised by guards to be disposable slaves. Until I escaped in 2005, I was one of those slaves. My body is covered with scars from torture I endured in the camp.
I happen to be about the same age as your friend Kim Jong Un. But if you ask him about me, he is likely to refer to me as "human scum."
Mr. Rodman, I cannot presume to tell you to cancel your trip to North Korea. It is your right as an American to travel wherever you wish and to say whatever you want.
But as you have a fun time with the dictator, please try to think about what he and his family have done and continue to do. Just last week, Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of his uncle.
No dictatorship lasts forever. Freedom will come to North Korea someday. When it does, my wish is that you will have, in some way, helped bring about change.
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)