The human rights atrocities in North Korea are no laughing matter and Google is doing their part with a different sort of activism, exposing many of the known concentration camps on Google maps and even calling them “gulags” in some cases. As CNN reported, they are showing more than just the monuments now. They’re putting nuclear facilities and buildings known for torture on their service.
According to Buzzfeed:
The purpose is obvious: to make the existence of these camps known; to point out that North Korea is secretive, and would never release this data on its own; to emphasize that the country is not capable of producing satellite imagery; and, most important, to remind outsiders that thousands of its citizens (and some foreigners) are sent to these camps, where they are subjected to hard labor, starvation, torture, medical experimentation, and execution.
Where the humorous (albeit tacky) portion of the story comes into play is in the clever Google Local reviews that are popping up for these facilities. One such facility, the Hoeryong Concentration Camp, already has 37 reviews. Some of them speak out about the ill practices that go on the facility, but most are attempts to be funny. Then, there are a handful that attack those who are trying to make a mockery out of a bad situation. Here are some of the reviews currently posted:
- Preston Welch
Quality – Poor to fair
Terrible. After staying a week in the rather fantastic Buckchang Gulag, I had high expectations for the Hoeryong Gulag. I figured Gulag was some sort of chain, like Ritz Carlton only with more Asian-looking dudes. It is obviously poorly organized as my experience at the two places differed greatly. I went from living in the lap of luxury to forced labor and downright miserable food. Most of the food consisted of rats, snakes and insects. There was no pool or spa to speak of. Instead, they expected all of us to work 12 hours a day in a hot manufacturing facility. This has been by far the worst leg of my trip to North Korea. I’m off to the Chongjin Gulag. Hopefully they actually know how to run a resort people will want to visit.
- Brian Lebourgeois
Quality – Excellent
Excellent service, food and rooms. It lives up to the Hotel California’s motto…you can check in anytime but you can never leave.
- E RR
Quality – Very good
Well, I honestly don’t know what all the negative reviews are about. Personally, I had a killer time. I met the nicest gentlemen from South Korea in Hoeryong, we even became friends during our stay. However, one day I found his room empty. When I inquired with the concierge, I was told he went on a special wilderness excursion, but not to worry, as he and his kids were going to “have a blast”. It must have been one of those things you have to reserve in advance. I can also vouch that Hoeryong is kid friendly, as I personally observed many rope swings around the camp. At any rate, you really cant beat Hoeryong, for the value. I once paid 2 thousand dollars to camp out in Montana in a tent for 2 weeks. This was much like that but free. With the economy the way it is today, I was sure glad to find such a bargain.
- Gladys Brierley
Quality – Excellent
The man second from the left is probably American or Western. There may be more. I fear this is such a small sample of those who have suffered and who are suffering. I am not sure that all the so called humor is meant to be disrespectful, but more satirical. The notion that any nation is still operating with international impunity and not pressured by the world community to cease and desist from inhuman treatment of people and to deny humans basic rights to liberty, life and the ability to control their own destiny is so sad. When a situation has compelling self interest for other nations it seems that is the only time they act and then it is usually way too late after the slaughter of so many innocent. We have only our own national shame of slaying the innocent in abortions to look at!
- Sarah Anderson
Appeal – Poor to fairFacilities – Poor to fairService – Poor to fair
You people are ridiculous writing reviews of this place like it’s some kind of joke. People are in there suffering and dying and all you can do is make fun of them? Sick sense of humor. Just be thankful you are still alive with a full stomach, roof over your head, nice bed to sleep in, and access to a computer.
- David Collings
Quality – Excellent
Great if you’re on a diet. They don’t even give you any of that water. Way too many calories in water! Not a lot of privacy. I went with my friends (who were murdered in cold blood) so we had fun. Up until the 5th year.
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