Monday, August 3, 2015

A Korean Monday Mystery...!

Most of the mysteries we review here on Monday are the typical murder, ghost, or crime type. Today we are going to look at a slightly different type. Different, but still amazingly sad.

Anytime a mystery involves women or children, the mystery seems to be even more sad. Any mystery that causes human misery is terrible and often almost impossible to fully understand.

The Strange Tale Of The Western Family Trapped In North Korea
By Morris M. on Friday, July 31, 2015

In 1978, promising young Romanian artist Doina Bumbea agreed to take a job in the Far East. It was the start of a nightmare. On arriving in Asia, Bumbea was kidnapped and smuggled into North Korea. There she was introduced to her real mission: to become the loving wife of American defector James Dresnok, now a PR tool for the regime. Together, they started a Western family in the heart of the most dangerous state on Earth. Her children remain trapped there to this day.

In 1962, Joe Dresnok was in trouble. A newly enlisted GI with few friends, a failing marriage and a discipline problem, he was due to be chewed out by his superiors for deserting his post. The reason had been a prostitute Joe was seeing near the South Korean base he was stationed on. He’d forged a superior’s signature to get to her. Now, with his chickens coming home to roost, Joe decided he’d had enough. Arming himself with a shotgun, he set out toward the Korean Demilitarized Zone. GI Joe was going to walk to North Korea.

As one of the first defectors to the Communist pariah state, Joe was a major PR coup for Kim Il Sung’s new regime. Along with three other Americans, he became part of the DPRK’s latest propaganda campaign; reading out radio messages to his countrymen about the glorious life he was living across the border. It would be fair to say his reports were exaggerated. In 1966, all four defectors escaped into the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, begging for asylum. The Russians responded by handing them back.

Yet Joe and his friends were too valuable to be just dumped in a gulag. Instead, the regime seems to have decided to make them as happy as possible. It wasn’t long after this that all four began to slowly accrue wives and mistresses, from the most improbable of places.

Fast-forward a decade, and Doina Bumbea had every reason to be happy. A beautiful, talented Romanian artist living in Rome, she’d just been offered lucrative work in the Far East—either Japan or Hong Kong, she was told. Boarding a plane, she jetted off to start her exciting new life, only to find it spiraling into a nightmare.

The plane took her to Pyongyang where she was detained and taken to a training camp. Soon after, she was introduced to Dresnok. While never confirmed, it’s been suggested women like Bumbea were chosen specifically by the regime to give the defectors something to live for. Whatever the truth, Bumbea, unable to leave North Korea, wound up marrying Joe. They had two children, Joe Jr. and Ted. Bumbea wasn’t even 30.

Not long after, Dresnok turned deeply abusive. A fellow defector who escaped back to the West in 2004 claimed Joe was an “eager torturer.” He beat his friends to a pulp. He bullied his wife physically and emotionally. By 1981, Bumbea was desperate to escape. But there was nowhere to go. Officially, North Korea denied her existence. In 1997 she died of cancer, unable to lay eyes on her beloved Italy one final time.

The tale doesn’t end there. At time of writing, Joe Jr. and Ted are still trapped in North Korea under the watchful eye of their abusive father. The Kim regime denies they exist. The US State Department avoids asking about them. Despite being perhaps the only Western-looking North Koreans in existence, no one knows what has happened to them. Are they happy there, praising the Dear Leader? Or, like their mother, do they yearn to leave the Hermit Kingdom and strike out for Romania, Italy, the US? The sad truth is we may never know.

To hear a story like this makes me feel so blessed to be living where I live. For the most part, I'm allowed to live the way I want. Certainly without the restrictions a country such as North Korea imposes. Thanks to the folks over at Knowledgenuts for this story.

Coffee out on the patio , hot or not!


Chickenmom said...

Sad, and yet some people still try to get into that country.

linda m said...

That is a sad story. Makes me wonder about all these young kids that run away and join ISIS - especially the young girls. Don't care if it is hot I'll be happy to have coffee on the patio will my "friends".

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

All hail to the good old USA, and able to have coffee whenever and wherever we want!

edifice rex said...

I agree with you...when I hear people here complain about how horrible it is to live in the US I just want to beat the crap out of them and tell them to go live over seas, somewhere like N. Korea. Yes, we have some problems here but nothing like what those poor people have and in other countries too.

JO said...

So sad, maybe someday the kids or now adults can escape back to their homeland.

See you all on the patio

Sixbears said...

When national politcs are involved, the lives of little people don't matter. Sad tale.

Mamahen said...

So sad and it does make the problems in our country more bearable...i'll bring some lemon n poppyseed muffins for all :))

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllios...
Why anyone would want in is beyond me. Crazy fol;ks all around, I reckon!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
I'll never understand why anyone would want to join ISIS either. Terrible, terrible.
Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sis...
Certainly a good thing in my book, among others!
Thanks, sis, for the visit!

Hey Anne...
At least here, we can freely speak out about what we don't agree with. Don't have to worry too much about getting beheaded...yet!
Thanks, girl, for stopping by today!

Hey Jo...
One would certainly hope so. maybe someday they will.
Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!

Hey Sixbears...
Sadly you are completely right about that!
I appreciate your visit today!

Hey Mamahen...
Compared to some of these other places, we are looking good!
many thanks for your visit today!

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