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human rights

LiNK – Liberty in North Korea

by Andy on July 15, 2009

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I like to play a little game when I’m poking around in my Google Analytics to see which Axis of Evil countries I’ve had visits from, and I’ve ‘collected’ almost all of them, but North Korea is noticeably absent, probably because the internet doesn’t really exist in that country, so I was largely resigned to not ever getting a visit from NK since the population is more concerned about starving than cool t-shirts, but I imagine that me posting about LiNK is going to put me on some kind of list, which will mean I never get to light up that part of the map in the stats package, and isn’t that what’s really important here?

No, of course it isn’t. It’s really easy to make jokes about North Korea and Kim Jong Il, but behind every laugh there should be a realisation that the situation most normal North Koreans have to live in is utterly terrible. This is a t-shirt blog, and I know you don’t come here to hear my political soapboxing, so I won’t go on about it too much, but when good t-shirts and a good cause come together then I’m happy to give it some exposure. LiNK are an organisation that….

… address the human rights crisis in North Korea, where people virtually have no freedoms, including the freedom of speech, assembly, religion, movement, and more. LiNK meets with governments and institutions to advocate for the North Korean people while raising awareness through the grassroots movement. We also work directly with refugees through a network of shelters in China and Southeast Asia – protecting, educating and assisting them to eventually find freedom and empowering them to live new lives.

If that seems familiar to you, then you may have seen their leader Mike Kim on the Daily Show recently promoting his book and explaining what LiNK do.* The t-shirts probably aren’t a major part of their strategy for helping the people of NK, but I assume their purpose is to raise awareness of their cause and to also help fund it. The tee above is my favourite of the bunch, but its almost jokey attitude isn’t representative of the rest of the range, which run the gamut from the propaganda style you expect of the North Koreans to a relatively simple text tee, but they’re certainly all very wearable.

Costiness=$20 Available from the LiNK America Store

*My bad, Mike Kim isn’t actually affiliated with LiNK, he has his own organisation called Crossing Borders, they’re just selling his book in their store, and have co-sponsored some events in the past, but at separate organisations.

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I liked the Olympics opening ceremony (colours! fireworks! dancing!), but there was one thing that really annoyed me. When they were making the speeches someone said something along the lines of “we’ve met all the aims and goals that the IOC gave us in hosting these games,” and I sat up in my chair a little bit since I’m pretty sure one of the conditions of them hosting the games was that they eased up on treating their own people like crap, yet they’ll just sweep that under the rug (and everyone else in the world will let them) and pretend that everything’s fine for a couple of weeks. With that little rant in mind, I’m really glad that Shirtspotting put together a post of tees that I wouldn’t dare wear in Beijing, so fair play to the woman above!

Read the post here.

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