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By Fareed Zakaria
Why does a terrorist threat from North Korea produce appeasement and indifference whereas threats from Islamic terrorists produce courage, and defiance, and resilience? I suspect that it's because we are fully aware of the barbarism of Jihadi terrorists.
But we tend to think of North Korea in somewhat comical terms – the odd dictators with their strange haircuts, the weird synchronized mass-adulation in stadiums, the retro-propaganda and rhetoric.
In fact, North Korea is one of the world's most repressive and brutal dictatorships. Estimates are that it allowed one to two million of its own people to starve in a famine in the 1990s. The United Nations says that North Korea abducted thousands of people from neighboring countries following the Korean War and currently imprisons about 100,000 people in brutal labor camps. That statistic comes from a U.N. panel commissioned to investigate the human rights situation in North Korea. Its report, released in February, paints a picture of a regime that really has no parallel in the scale of its cruelty and oppression.
The challenge that movie studios and theaters face is real because they have to balance the issue of freedom of expression with safety and commerce.
But they have made a mistake.
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