Could Kim Jong Il’s regime be the next autocratic government to fall? Don’t bet on it.
BY SEBASTIAN STRANGIO | JUNE 8, 2011
SEOUL — In mid-February, as Libya shook to the incipient revolt against Muammar al-Qaddafi, around 200 North Korean migrant workers found themselves stranded. Like their compatriots in other parts of the Middle East, they had been brought in to work as cut-price doctors, nurses, and construction workers. But with a popular uprising unfolding, their government now refused to repatriate them.
According to reports, Pyongyang ordered the workers to remain in Libya out of fear that what they witnessed — a full-blown popular rebellion against Qaddafi’s dictatorship — could lead to a copycat rebellion back home. «The fear was obviously that these 200 would have a kind of a viral effect, bringing news and information about what was happening in Libya,» said Tim Peters, founder of Helping Hands Korea, which aids North Korean refugees.