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US student jailed by North Korea is dead

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I'm writing this in World travel, because too many western tourists travel to countries like North Korea, Iran or Syria and end up in deep shit there. I do not know what do they think, if they think media lie about these regimes, or maybe they think they are safe as Western tourists, that it's like visiting a zoo.

 

Yes, it's like a zoo. But you are looking at the tiger from inside its cage, not outside! It can fucking eat you! If you want some adrenaline, there are much better options: for example, climbing Matterhorn or diving in the Pacific. Or visit bears in Sweden.

 

That being said, the student probably was not aware of all that. Sadly. Rest in peace.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40335169

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Based on reporting, he was arrested because he stole a sign for a bet. Of course, who really knows. Pretty shitty outcome, though I don't really blame him for wanting to visit such countries. The DPRK is an extreme case, but I'm not sure Iran is really a problem, except for citizens of certain countries like the US, where one can get caught in propaganda wars.

 

I must admit, though, that I myself am intrigued by such places, and would like to have visited before I had a family :/

 

BTW, any idea about this guy's name? It was very peculiar. I mean, OTTO WARMBIER. Come on!

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16 minutes ago, kaffeemitmilch said:

 OTTO WARMBIER. Come on!

 

Haha! I didn't even catch that.

 

I will be the first asshole on the thread: I am very sorry for him and for his family.  But you don't go to NK and rip down a propaganda sign and expect a small fine.  There have been some comments about how someone back home asked him or told them they would pay him to bring something back like that.   But that's not my asshole comment.  Someone pointed out this morning that they (an American) finds the other Americans comments about inhumane treatment or conditions in NK ironic, as if prisoners aren't killed or injured severely in the US, or even suspects.  I can't remember the exact comment she was responding to, but it was something like the "people forget when they go abroad that the fair conditions we have in the US may not be in every country".   The person responded, try telling that to a mother who had her 12 year old beaten dead by the police in Chicago.   There's a pretty typical response that a lot of people when they hear about *yet* another black person in the US being shot by the police and that is "well he shouldn't have been doing X/wearingX/beingX".   The same could be said here.

 

I do feel bad for anyone who has suffered or lost a loved one, but i can feel that way as well as critique some of the sentiments I see online about how this could *only* happen in evil places like NK.

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Every idiot over-privileged person from the US who thinks they exist in a cocoon of consular safety goes to countries deemed unsafe by the DOS travel bulletins and then is surprised when the US cannot bring them safely out of the trouble they get themselves into. The US government couldn't stop Michael Fay from being caned in Singapore and the Singapore government actually likes us. Did Warmbier think he was above difficulty because he is American?

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As as American I can tell you that many Americans live in a weird bubble. They are either extremely afraid of anywhere thats not America (I have friends who fear for my safety living in Germany), or they think they have a magic shield that protects them from harm when abroad. People seem to forget that the rest of the world is not like America or western europe. Ive been to 20 ish countries and can tell you that many places are corrupt, dangerous and poor with shady police and shady government agendas. I dont know what people think when traveling abroad. If you break a law in a country you will be punished according to that countries laws. You can smoke weed all day long in california and no one cares, if you go to Thailand and many countries a small bowl is a life sentence. If you steal something small in America its probably a ticket with a court date, obviously stealing in North Korea is far harsher. His sentence was harsh but I dont really feel bad for him. He played a stupid game and won a stupid prize. 

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1 minute ago, Petro6golf said:

As as American I can tell you that many Americans live in a weird bubble. They are either extremely afraid of anywhere thats not America (I have friends who fear for my safety living in Germany), or they think they have a magic shield that protects them from harm when abroad. People seem to forget that the rest of the world is not like America or western europe. Ive been to 20 ish countries and can tell you that many places are corrupt, dangerous and poor with shady police and shady government agendas. I dont know what people think when traveling abroad. If you break a law in a country you will be punished according to that countries laws. You can smoke weed all day long in california and no one cares, if you go to Thailand and many countries a small bowl is a life sentence. If you steal something small in America its probably a ticket with a court date, obviously stealing in North Korea is far harsher. His sentence was harsh but I dont really feel bad for him. He played a stupid game and won a stupid prize. 

 

I agree with you but this is they type of comment I am talking about.  I bet you could find plenty of mexican, black or muslim dudes who broke a law in the US and promptly got their heads kicked in by police, or worse, shot in the street for even just LOOKING like they were breaking a law.  Not to say the police are bad, who knows what the story is, but this stuff happens in the US all the time and could be just as easily spun into how brutal is it when you break a law, which is how Singapore was spun in the 90s when Michael Fay was caned. 

 

That is what is so bothersome about some of the american comments.  This fear of any where thats not america, like you said, WHILE putting blinders on to how fucking dangerous/brutal some parts of the US are to their own citizens. 

 

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I agree, Joanie. Shocking responses to seemingly simple behavior is NOT only expected in so-called repressive countries, but also in the US. Heck, one may say something about the holocaust that would be common in, say, London, and find themselves in trouble in Berlin.

 

AlexTr, I don't know if it's limited to US citizens, because there are ton of Australians in Indonesian jails who sometimes even leave only in body bags, not to mention people caught kissing in public in the Gulf who find themselves in hot water.

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24 minutes ago, AlexTr said:

Every idiot over-privileged person from the US who thinks they exist in a cocoon of consular safety goes to countries deemed unsafe by the DOS travel bulletins and then is surprised when the US cannot bring them safely out of the trouble they get themselves into. The US government couldn't stop Michael Fay from being caned in Singapore and the Singapore government actually likes us. Did Warmbier think he was above difficulty because he is American?

Calm down. He was a student, a child. Didn't you do weird things when you were in his age? Then congratulations. He was studying in Hong Kong, a democratic autonomous region of China. The idea to visit North Korea was not his, but his student friends.

 

That he stole a propaganda sign is not proven. The video is too unclear, no one of his friends confirms that this actually happened. You do not need to commit any crime to be arrested in such country.

 

Most probably the government had  a plan to exchange him for a million dollar sum.

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Petro6golf said:

As as American I can tell you that many Americans live in a weird bubble. ...they think they have a magic shield that protects them from harm when abroad. ...

 

That's exactly how I felt when I did my Euro-Rail trip. I was very, very proud to be an American and I felt I would be welcomed with open arms no matter where I went because Americans were loved all over the world! I was scared to be on my own, to travel on my own, but I was not afraid of going to Europe. My attitude changed sometime after that, quite sometime before 9/11, however. I think 9/11 was a shock to many of my fellow Americans because it meant the love had really run out. We were truly hated.

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Quote

As as American I can tell you that many Americans live in a weird bubble.

Exactly.

 

Quote

If you break a law in a country you will be punished according to that countries laws.

This is your bubble. There is no law which says „You get 15 years for stealing the propaganda sign“. Actually, there is no law for stealing propaganda sign at all, because no one would ever think of doing that. This country has no laws, it has what Germans call Willkür.

 

Propaganda plays a very, very big role in establishing the absolute power of the leader in the minds of Koreans. And when you destroy or remove the propaganda, you question this absolute power. It's like putting the church on fire in the minds of Catholics (earlier, you would be decapitated for doing that).

 

Here reference to the countries which have a legal system (regardless how strict) is not relevant.

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16 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

Calm down. He was a student, a child. Didn't you do weird things when you were in his age? Then congratulations. He was studying in Hong Kong, a democratic autonomous region of China. The idea to visit North Korea was not his, but his student friends.

 

That he stole a propaganda sign is not proven. The video is too unclear, no one of his friends confirms that this actually happened. You do not need to commit any crime to be arrested in such country.

 

Most probably the government had  a plan to exchange him for a million dollar sum.

 

 

 

 

 

In the United States, the age of 21 renders one a full adult. Maybe it isn't where you are from.

I did not steal. I did not travel to countries that were on DOS travel advisory list. I was also grown enough not to do everything my friends may have done; then again, none of my friends were idiots.

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The reason for his severely impaired neurological status and being in a vegetative  state when he returned to the U.S. was so bogus the North Koreans said botulism and medication was the cause I don't believe this at all especially since the doctors in the U.S. said there was no signs of botulism. I agree with Otto's dad when he said "there's no excuse for how the North Koreans treated his son". It's horrible what his parents had to go through dealing with this for 17 months not knowing if they would ever see their son again and when they did he's in a vegetative state and died a few days later.  This is so sad.

 

Don't know if its true or not that he stole that poster, even if he did, he certainly didn't deserve the aftermath. His parents should have paid a hefty fine and then they should have let him leave the country instead of keeping him there to be used as a political pawn. 

 

 

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Who knows what people think in N Korea, the guy in charge is not known for his humanity and the state system is there to keep him and his family in power. Really it's about hitting back at the US for the sanctions imposed and the threat against their Nuclear ambitions. The guy was just a pawn and he probably didn't realise it. As far as both governments are concerned it's an incident that they will probably forget about in 6 months

 

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15 minutes ago, AlexTr said:

 

In the United States, the age of 21 renders one a full adult. Maybe it isn't where you are from.

I did not steal. I did not travel to countries that were on DOS travel advisory list. I was also grown enough not to do everything my friends may have done; then again, none of my friends were idiots.

 

What I'm also wondering if anyone warmed him of the dangers of going to North Korean since the U.S. doesn't maintain diplomatic or consular relations with the country and Americans are advised by the U.S. not to go to North Korea.  If he was my son I would have asked him not to go and consider going some place else instead. There's some amazing places to travel in that region.  

 

The parents blamed the Obama administration for not doing enough to secure the release of their son, I'm not sure what they were expecting the president to do when the relations are so bad between the two countries. 

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Fixed that for you:

 

1 minute ago, French bean said:

...the state system is there to keep him and what he has left of his family in power.

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16 minutes ago, AlexTr said:

I did not steal.

With this you support Korean regime, congratulations.

 

Once again: there is no proven fact that the student actually stole that sign. I understand how Americans do not like thieves (which is good), but there are countries without rule of law, where prosecution does not need to prove the guilt. And punishment can be unlimited. For this reason they do not need CCTV cameras to prove anything. Surveillance of tourists is done by humans. This is the country where computers are still exotic, and no internet.

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 Yeah i think we can all agree that nobody deserves capital punishment for petty crimes.  Either in North Korea or anywhere else. 

 

North korea sucks, i think its just a big surprise to many that anyone else would find that surprising. 

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Funny how the US authorities ban US citizens from tourist travel to a relatively safe country like Cuba, but is happy to let them visit North Korea...

 

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You don't need to travel far from here to find unreasonable conduct from the "authorities" :

 

Turkish troops killed yesterday 26-year-old Solomos Spyrou Solomos, while he was trying to pull down the Turkish flag from a flagpole at the edge of the Turkish post, in Dherynia area, in eastern Cyprus.   (I know this was 1996)

 

If you travel, you need to remember that you're viewed as an ambassador of your country and culture.

(whether you like that or not)

 

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