They call themselves Young Pioneer Tours, renowned and rated as one of the best North Korea travel operators and the one that lured young, impressionable Otto Warmbier to his ultimate death. Warmbier traveling on his own picked up the tour in Beijing. To quote Esquire Magazine, North Korea is not just another piece of pop culture. This despite what adventure you may be seeking or what you’ve seen of Dennis Rodman yukking it up with Fat-Boy. The obvious, stated by The Washington Post is that “the gulag of the Soviet Union, the concentration camps of Nazi Germany — they have been roughly replicated in North Korea. The whole world knows this…and yet the regime lives on”.
Young Pioneer’s Facebook page had this to say after Warmbier’s demise:
“The devastating loss of Otto Warmbier’s life has led us to reconsider our position on accepting American tourists. Now, the assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high.”
Ya think? Warmbier, the 22-year-old university student was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June and flown to the US. Warmbier had been jailed in North Korea after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after allegedly went into a staff-only area of the hotel and tore down a propaganda banner hanging on the wall, intending to steal it. He was returned to the US after 17 months in a state of ‘unresponsive wakefulness’ – effectively brain-dead where he died on June 19th. His parents have elected not to have an autopsy.
Is it a coincidence or are there freighting similarities between Young Pioneer Tours and Young Pioneers under the old USSR? That group of Young Pioneers according to Wikipedia, was a mass youth organization of the Soviet Union for children ages 10–15 that existed between 1922 and 1991. Young Pioneer camp was the name for the vacation or summer camp organized by the Communist Party for children in the 20th century these camps existed in many socialist countries, particularly in the USSR. The adolescents then typically join the Young Communist League. Prior to the 1990s there was a wide cooperation between pioneer and similar movements of about 30 countries, and not all of them communist. There were/are similar groups in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Nepal, Portugal, Sweden, and the US, where individual state districts continue the Marxist-Leninist tradition of supporting local youth chapters including the Texas, New York, Ohio, and Connecticut districts.
Is the attraction for this type of “adventure” the result of the garbage multiculturistic naiveté instilled in young people these days? I’m not sure, but whatever it was didn’t work out so well for young Otto.
Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)
~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.