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back to article Norks EXECUTE 80 for watching DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES

North Korea has allegedly executed 80 people for watching banned South Korean soap operas, the South China Morning Post reports. The executions were allegedly carried out on 3 November in seven cities, with a sports stadium in Wonsan hosting a crowd of 10,000 as a firing squad dispatched eight of the victims, according to South …

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I read this and I think

I sure am glad I live in the free world where this doesn't happen.

Then I remember when I was a kid, and I'd read about how in the USSR and East Germany people needed papers to move about within their own borders and had their phones routinely tapped, and was happy I lived where that didn't happen.

So maybe I shouldn't be so sure I won't live to see people executed for owning the wrong book or watching the wrong TV show here in the "free" world.

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Re: I read this and I think

Especially if it's an illegally downloaded book or TV show.

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Re: I read this and I think

Yup. Freedom is a process, not a product.

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Re: I read this and I think

You comments are undoubtedly correct, but ..

In 68 I travelled extensively through Berlin, Eastern Germany and places east and then to Kiev and then to Odessa. My impression was that on a micro level people were happy, and impressivley read a lot more than I was aware of in the West. They certainly were not caught up in buying the latest shiney (of that time) and were happy. I was not being followed by my Intourist guide - I had left her to be shagged by the driver. All true...

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Re: I read this and I think

"I sure am glad I live in the free world where this doesn't happen."

No, we just invade other nations under the auspices of made-up stories by uncorroborated single-sources.

The 'story' doesn't really have much merit. A single defector inflating his own importance with tales of North Korean wrongdoings does not deserve to be reported with any degree of seriousness.

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Re: I read this and I think

"I sure am glad I live in the free world where this doesn't happen."

It annoys me when some idiot claims the UK is a police state.

One such example was a guy, with previous for being violent, wandering round town with a chain saw and half a bottle of rum (the other half in his blood stream).

There were armed police standing by, should he decide to go crazy with the chain saw, but normal bobbies stepped in and lifted him before he could do any damage.

He decided to resist being taken in for questioning and had to be forced in to the back of the van. He was shouting claims of it being a police state.

Had it been a police state. He would have either been shot on sight or clubbed to death by the boys in blue. He certainly would not be walking out of the police station the next day (after sobering up) with little more than a warning, while the police he struggled against had to fill in mountains of paper work and their various injuries from this chap's attempt at resisting arrest.

We should be lucky to have the freedoms that we have. We can stand in the middle of the town square and shout that we do not like the person in charge of this country without risking our lives.

Admittedly, maybe for not much longer as our every action is being documented by camera or recorded in messages to our friends, but currently, we can do it.

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Big Brother

Re: I read this and I think

"We should be lucky to have the freedoms that we have"

But the problem is I don't consider myself lucky.

These freedoms are my RIGHT, dammit:- no-one, but no-one, has the right to decide arbitrarily to restrict my freedom(s) on a piecemeal or gradually creeping basis. I accept that to live in a society, one trades off the advantages of doing so against the loss of some freedoms:- e.g. the freedom to just take whatever I want, the freedom to throttle those who piss me off, etc.; one accepts the rules of that society and abides by them.

When those who are elected to administer that society attempt to change the rules - to their advantage and to our (the society members) disadvantage, the society is in danger of breaking down - possibly violently.

I refuse point-blank to say to my ruling élite "Thank you for only curtailing my freedoms a little" and subsequently repeat that mantra once a month with every new restriction that further encroaches upon my liberties.

I will never willingly surrender my current freedoms 'in order to preserve my freedom'.

Whilst I'm not surprised at the élite indulging in such sophistry, I am appalled at the degree to which it's being swallowed by many who should know better.

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Gav

Re: I read this and I think

I'm not going to argue that rights are not a good thing that should be protected. But at the end of the day we only have the rights that the society we live in agrees we should have. Rights are not a natural law of the universe, they are constructs of humans.

So if the society we live in decides not to give us freedom to do something (no matter how important or trivial that something may be) then you can shout all you like about it being your right. That's not going to stop the powers that be locking you up or worse. Tell them they don't have the right to do that, and I think they'll find the point moot. They're doing it.

Which is why we are fortunate to not be living in North Korea where many freedoms we regard as fundamental rights don't exist. Furthermore, I, in my country, may have freedoms that you do not. Why aren't you demanding these? After all, they're your RIGHT.

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Re: I read this and I think

These freedoms are my RIGHT, dammit

A right given by whom/what? You don't have any "rights" beyond those that others have found/battled (and, yes, died) to obtain for themselves and others, including you. There are no universal, invariant, absolute standards here.

And it's not luck either.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I read this and I think

"in the USSR and East Germany people needed papers to move about within their own borders and had their phones routinely tapped"

... and still do. I once worked for a company installing new digital exchanges in the former soviet republics in the late '90s. The exchanges were all ordered with the soviet std mods to allow ad hoc eavesdropping by the local stasi.

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Coat

Re: I read this and I think

"I was not being followed by my Intourist guide - I had left her to be shagged by the driver."

Sorry, re-read this several times.....but you or her being shagged by the driver ?

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Re: I read this and I think

Ahem ...

I think you are making assumptions about my sexuality, the driver's chromosome count, and how good looking the Intourist guide (minder) was.

Sexist pig!!

(for future ref, should you want, I have a mismatched pair of chromosomes, she definitely had a matched pair and the driver (ex Tank Corps) def. would have not looked at me however young and rosy I was)

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Big Brother

@Gav and Gordon 11

OK - I take your point re rights on a pragmatic basis. Let's substitute the word "freedom" for "rights".

In a totally anarchic (proper meaning thereof) world/country/state, I would be free to strangle those who piss me off, as there is no authority to stop me, but it could not be said that I had the "right" so to do, as the lack of authority means there is no-one in a position to define or confer those freedoms as a "right".

Societies historically develop as a group of like-minded individuals coming together with a consensus regarding which "freedoms" are to be surrendered, which "freedoms" are to be protected (i.e. become 'rights') and to define those areas where the common good has a higher priority than individual good. These rules become known as "the law".

Human nature being what it is, societies have found it necessary to allot to some people the purpose of ensuring that the society members abide by the agreed (i.e. consensus) rules. These are police/law enforcement - call it what you like. Then there are those whose allotted function is to administer the mechanics of the society:- i.e. civil service, local council etc., etc.

The larger and more complex the society, the greater the need for (and numbers needed) of specialists in a specific are. The real danger is - and we see this worldwide - when a group of specialists, such as law enforcers, or rule administrators decide that for reasons of self-interest, they will subtly amend the rules or even re-interpret them to their own benefit. This would also include receiving corrupt inducement to do the same for the benefit of another minority self-interested pressure group.

Societies have also varied in their intrinsic make-up: the continental norm tending towards "Everything is forbidden except that which is expressly permitted" whereas in Great Britain, the subtle but vital difference has been our rules are more based upon "Everything is permitted except that which is expressly forbidden."

Many of my freedoms have been conferred as rights by documents such as Magna Carta in 1215, Habeas Corpus Act 1679, the Bill of Rights in 1689 and others.

Society is - or rather should be - for the benefit of the individuals who comprise it. It is emphatically not for the benefit of a small clique who confer upon themselves the "right" to treat the other members as little more than tax-fodder or milch cows, which is unfortunately the situation towards which we have drifted for far too long.

end of rant!

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Holmes

Re: I read this and I think

North Korea, USSR, East Germany, China, etc.

What a coincidence: all rather of the left persuasion.

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Re: I read this and I think

Political bias fail. If everything you see is left or right, you're missing a whole separate axis of the political spectrum.

The authoritarian flavor of communism, as practiced by the late USSR, North Korea, Cuba, and China, is nothing like what Karl Marx advocated for. There's no reason why a communist government needs to spy on its citizens, put them in jail for the wrong views, etc. any more than this is needed in a democracy or a monarchy.

Authoritarianism/libertarianism is completely separate from the left/right spectrum, and authoritarianism can be practiced equally well under communism or democracy, as our democratic governments are lately demonstrating quite well, just as it would be possible to have a communist government where people are more free (other than free to get rich at the expense of others) than they are in our democracies.

Communism just doesn't work on a scale beyond that of a village, but then neither does a true democracy (i.e., where we would personally vote on every measure instead of electing people to do it for us)

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Re: I read this and I think

"We should be lucky to have the freedoms that we have. We can stand in the middle of the town square and shout that we do not like the person in charge of this country without risking our lives.

Admittedly, maybe for not much longer as our every action is being documented by camera or recorded in messages to our friends, but currently, we can do it."

Those same cameras which watch you soapboxing, also watch the boys'n'blue showing up to kick in your teeth. Citizen journalism is making governments even more accountable than ever before, despite the burgeonining CCTV state.

In one SF story I read, CCTV was ubiquitous and publically accessable, which meant that there was a far more honest police service amongst other things.

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Re: I read this and I think

statism can be left wing, right wing or centrist, as can be anarchism(*) or chaoticism (Most of those who Camerpon and chums brand as "anarchist", aren't. It's a term at least as badly as misused as "communist" or "hacker")

Politics is a multidmensional space to p[lace in, not some circle running from centrist to extremism via left and right wings. The central policy of virtually all types is "power over others"

(*) Anarchists quite sucessfully ran Barcelona for several years. It's about local control and dissolution of central govt powers. Unfortunately it invariably turns into feudalism after a number of years.

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Re: I read this and I think

@DougS:

You didn't disagree though...

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I wouldn't put it past North Korea

From what i read these days more and more people in North Korea are getting access to information on the outside world via defectors and even Chinese traders sneaking into the north, I think they have picked 80 people to make an example and try as best they can to stop the North from seeing the true state of the world and how much better life is without the dear wonderful great leader.

I just hope none of the traders are sneaking in anything like the xfactor or that god awful program where you constantly asks “oh god why it won’t stop it is making my eyes bleed” and then you cry a little bit in the corner (just realised that describes most of reality tv shows.)

In fact do you think we can offer North Korea a deal we would swap most of your Citizens for a couple of out reality TV star?

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Windows

Re: I wouldn't put it past North Korea

NO!! we should happily sneak X-Factor et al vids in at every opportunity, with any luck the norks will bump off Cowel, Ozbourne, Walsh and all the other vacuous twats that have ruined most of the music industry and more importantly, saturday evening TV.

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MJI
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Re: I wouldn't put it past North Korea

Saturday evening TV

Not too bad, shows like Doctor Who, Merlin, Atlantis, all pretty good to watch. Last Saturday I watched Atlantis (It has Dr Julian Bashir in it!) then a recording of Cold War Hot Jets Ep1 from Friday.

Or do you mean shITV?

Don't watch that - looks like a shitty satellite channel.

Osborn - I suppose he had gone strange but I remember he was good back in the 80s

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Mushroom

Re: I wouldn't put it past North Korea

NO!! we should happily sneak X-Factor et al vids in at every opportunity

Oi cornz 1,

Stop it! It's people like you that are the reason North Korea developed nuclear weapons! Thinking about it, I've now changed my mind, and think they were totally justified in doing so. Now how long do we have to wait before their missile technology is sufficiently advanced to reach the global X Factor recording sites?

I thought that was what my government had build Trident for. But as they don't seem to want to protect me, it looks like I'm left relying on Kim the chubby nutter.

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Mushroom

Re: I wouldn't put it past North Korea

I would happily die in a nuclear holocaust aimed at removing Cowell and Walsh....

My only concern is that they're like cockroaches and would survive by living on the corpses of the dead instead of the corpses of the not very talented that sustain them at present....

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Thumb Up

Re: I wouldn't put it past North Korea

Exactly what I was thinking. Not only should we airdrop copies of Britain's Got Talent into NK but we should also invite every vacuous 'celebrity' to visit the place, ostensibly to help the promotion.

I would pay good money to watch Sharon Osborne and Simon Cowell being told to stand on an "X" while the mortar is zeroed in ...

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"Allegedly." -> Thank you

Thank for making that point and making it so very clear. There is no doubt that NK is not a very nice place to be but the way some of the press here is reporting this "story" is way below any standards of decent journalism.

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Re: "Allegedly." -> Thank you

Are you sure they didn’t top themselves after watching it and realising there really was no hope.

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Black box theory

I don't see what all the fuss is really, all we need to do is smuggle the Internet into N.Korea.. After all, its only a little black box with a flashing red LED on it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDbyYGrswtg

I'm here to solve the world's problems. Thank me later.

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Coat

"Norks EXECUTE 80 by watching DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES"

There, fixed that for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Commence operation "democracy via idiocy".

we can re-purpose old cluster bombs to spread DVD and VHS copies of x-factor, TOWIE and that thing about geordies shagging.

Within 6 weeks all the blokes will have that stupid side-parting haircut and all the women will be pregnant and/or working on their dreams of being a pop star.

Good luck controlling your nation then, you crazy bastards.

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"and that thing about geordies shagging."

What... you want to ship the Friday and Saturday night CCTV footage of Newcastle over to the Norks?

I doubt anyone would want to live after seeing that footage.

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Believe everything anyone says, provided it's relayed by a media outlet

See title

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North Korea is run by the Kim family who have now become the legal rulers in perpetuity. The rulers are barking mad and guilty of untold crimes against humanity, they have huge stocks of WMDs including Bios and the 4th largest army in the world. The population is piss poor and lucky to make as much as $50 a month and little health care and schooling. Earlier this year they threatened to attack the US and renounced the original ceasefire between them and South Korea, saying they may attack the South at any moment.

Of course a lot of this was posturing by Kim Jong Un to flex his new muscles but more importantly the NORKs have no oil or gas so they are not a threat to US national security.

Although they have many times more of all the qualifiers used to justify going in to Iraq and regularly break all kinds of international agreements on human rights, arms proliferation etc they are safe from outside interference because they have the best defence; No Oil!

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MJI
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I have wondered.

Would ridding the world of the Kim family help?

And I expect the army is a bit useless.

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris G

It's a little more complex than "there's no oil".

The major factor in play is "China and Russia (currently) like them"

Taking the mental, impoverished N Korea to task will also upset at least one of the two powers that America can't just ignore/threaten. Mainly the Chinese.

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Anonymous Coward

Rid the world of Kim's family?

Eliminating the Kardashians would certainly improve television.

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The major factor in play is "China and Russia (currently) like them

It's bizarre that China supports them. Look at a map of the world. Where can the North Koreans invade with their army? There's South Korea, and then there's China. And that's it.

Joseph Stalin made a similar miscalculation concerning a well-known German lunatic, but one might excuse him on the grounds that he was none too sane himself. The Chinese leadership, on the other hand....

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@DijitulSupport

I think that you can safely say the the Russians and Chinese only like the NORKS when it suites them, generally I think they see them at best as an embaressment, who they would love to step on. Unfortunately they can't, because that would upset the SOUKS. I'd guess they would only be too happy for the two to reunite, although it would be eyewateringly expensive for the SOUKS even with all that NORK cheap labour. Just ask the Germans.

It's probable that the NORKS do execute people caught with unauthorised TV, Mobile or Internet access, life is very cheap there and the less people to feed the better.

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Headmaster

All to do with history

During the time of Mao china wanted North Korea to server as a Bulwark against the capitalist and US supported hordes of the south hence China support of North Korea when the Korean war started to turn against them and there are a few military types in China that would prefer a poor communist neighbour to a united Korea with a couple of American bases.

The other reason China still supports the regime is that many in Beijing worry that if all goes tits up thousands of North Korean refugees would flood the border causing instability and effect china’s current streak of stability and economic growth.

Of course there are many in Beijing who wonder if North Korea is worth all the hassle that it appears to be causing

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Devil

Re: All to do with history @Mtech25

Plus of course, the necessity to avoid losing face. Less important to us occidentals, but it's been ingrained in the oriental psyche for at least a couple of thousand years.

They (the Chinese Authorities) probably couldn't bring themselves to say "Yeah, you're all correct: he is indeed a nasty little nutter of the worst kind, and we've been propping him up & covering his arse for too long now. Enough".

But then has politics ever been based upon openness, honesty & altruism?

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They may have the 4th largest army in the world

But in the event of an actual shooting war, most of the conscripts will happily put the first bullet into the head of their commanding officer.

That of course assumes they're allowed to have bullets at all. I know a couple of ex-NORKS and they say that the fear of exactly that happening means that actual munitions are extremely carefully controlled - the facade was maintained down to dummy rounds in ammo belts.

The main reason people stay in the NORK army is because they (and their families) get fed. It's got little to do with loyalty and a lot more to do with making sure every member of your family doesn't die if you screw up.

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"Joseph Stalin made a similar miscalculation concerning a well-known German lunatic,"

That wasn't his only miscalculation:

"The Korean Peninsula was governed by the Korean Empire from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, until it was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II, Japanese rule ceased. The Korean Peninsula was divided into two occupied zones in 1945, with the northern bulk of the peninsula occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern portion by the United States. A United Nations–supervised election held in 1948 led to the creation of separate Korean governments for the two occupation zones: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. The conflicting claims of sovereignty led to the Korean War in 1950. "

INorth Korea is not communist. It's a totalitarian dictatorship - something that china has never been, even when the Cult of Mao was at its peak.

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bibles

I note everyone talks about the desperate housewives part. I heard about the bibles part recently, from another source. It's a really sad day where you can be executed for having a piece of religious material, but this is also normal in places like China where we get many of our electronics. Note: I personally know people who have been there and reported on this.

Christianity is actually the most persecuted faith in the world, despite what a few media outlets would have us believe. Angela Merkel in the USA today also talks of this. Remember, this is the country that adds additional taxes if you profess to be part of a religion, so kind of ironic, but fair

For Balance:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/08/us-religion-christianity-persecution-idUSBRE9070TB20130108

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/04/02/middle-east-christians-need-our-protection-column/2047473/ (Angela Merkel quote)

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323277504578191963741245422

No, I'm not going to be an anonymous coward on this one

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Religious Tolerance in the USA

Well, I, for one, would not have wanted to be a muslim in the States in the aftermath of the September 11 detonations.

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Re: bibles

I expect that reading a quran or the upanishads is as much frowned upon as reading a bible. Certainly China persecutes the Uighir muslims, as well as the new-agey Falun Gong. Which religion claims to be the 'most' persecuted is irrelevant: persecution is wrong full-stop. Oppressive regimes persecute any group, religious, political or whatever, that threatens the power of the state. Hitler, for instance, counted atheists among his enemies.

(And to 'balance' your 'balance', an it guy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24864587 )

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Re: bibles

China not only allows bibles: They have a state-run Christian church.

They do persecute some smaller, independent churches, but not on religious grounds. They just don't like any organisation that tries to badmouth the government, religious or no.

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Law

Re: Religious Tolerance in the USA

"Well, I, for one, would not have wanted to be a muslim in the States in the aftermath of the September 11 detonations."

...... detonations? They were planes... not bombs.

I agree with the initial assessment, but I'd suggest it would have been much worse for muslims in Iraq & Afghanistan than in the US.

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Re: bibles

Hmm I wonder if they compiled those figures with as much rigor as the people responsible for this piece of bearing false witness:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24864587

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Bronze badge

Re: Religious Tolerance in the USA

Perhaps, sir, that has more to do with your imagination than with actual conditions in the US. I might want to find out more before you write.

The Islamic Center, an elaborate mosque, stands within a mile of the White House, unmolested. I have been interviewed for the security clearance of one immigrant Muslim who worked with me around that time (and whom I told how to find the Islamic Center the first or second Friday he worked here.) I have taught Senegalese immigrants, at least nominally Muslim, in the ESL program run by a Roman Catholic parish here.

Among 300 million people, you will always find some meatheads. The commentariat of The Register must be a cool nine orders of magnitude smaller, yet I do notice some ignorant comments there.

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Re: bibles

I didn't know whether to up vote or down vote that, but it's true to say Christians are persecuted in large numbers, even by themselves. Coptic and Orthodox christians in the Middle East and East Asia probably suffer the most. The ancient Indian christian church, I hear, cops it from just about everybody including Western Christians.

Me, I've suffered intollerance a couple of times from other christians and athiests, lucky I live in a free country, even if I couldn't be prime minister of my country, because of my denomination. (Not sure if that's still true, and no Blair wasn't)

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Re: bibles

"Christianity is actually the most persecuted faith in the world, despite what a few media outlets would have us believe. Angela Merkel in the USA today also talks of this. Remember, this is the country that adds additional taxes if you profess to be part of a religion, so kind of ironic, but fair"

When the USA stops promoting reactionary Western religious nutters such as WBC and other countless box of frogs outfits with the simple mechanism of a tax fiddle then Christianity might start looking is if it is not a bunch of two-faced money-grabbing control-freaks. They slag off other religions for doing exactly the same things as themselves but for some reason because the Xtians have the 'real true' God everybody else is just plain wrong.

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