In Tolkien's fictional universe, Ungoliant is a dark, mysterious being in the form of a grotesque spider. Her origins are unclear, but she had descendants who lingered on in Middle Earth. The spiders of Mirkwood are one line of descendants. The dreaded Shelob is another.
In our present world there are few indeed who conjure up the horror of Shelob: black, bloated, delighting in torture, hungering always for victims. Kim Jong-un is one.
Like his father and grandfather before him, he has enslaved an entire nation. He drags is corpulent, self-indulged form over the squashed bodies of his slaves, grinning, always inanely grinning.
Repression and torture is such fun.
Official investigations into the Shelobian torture camps are chilling indeed: mothers forced to drown their own babies; fields full of body parts of the dead. All amusing to the bloated spider, sucking the life blood out of his imprisoned nation.
The 30 witnesses are just a handful of the hundreds of thousands of political prisoners incarcerated in a network of North Korean ‘kwan-li-so’ — best translated as ‘political penal-labour colonies’. In these colonies, three generations of families are held for life, often on the basis that a single family member was once deemed guilty of an offence against the regime. The supposed ‘crime’ which saw Mr Shin born at Camp 14 in 1982 was that his two uncles had tried to flee the country in the mid-Sixties.Meanwhile, Shelob lives in luxury.
Mr Shin’s parents were both prisoners, and their marriage had been arranged in the camp. If their baby had been born out of what passes for ‘wedlock’, then he would not have been allowed to live and they would have been executed for having ‘sexual contact without prior approval’
Another defector, Jee Heon-a, told the commission how one mother was forced to kill her own baby by holding it down in a bowl of water. ‘The mother begged the guard to spare her, but he kept beating her,’ Ms Jee said. ‘So the mother, her hands shaking, put the baby face down in the water. The crying stopped and a bubble rose up as it died. A grandmother who had delivered the baby quietly took it out.’
Mr Shin testified that his first memory as a toddler was watching a public execution, and that he had seen two or three per year since. Many of those executed are those caught trying to escape. One former prisoner, Kang Chol-Hwan, in his book The Aquariums Of Pyongyang, has recalled a typical execution at Camp 15 in which the condemned man had his mouth stuffed full of stones to stop him shouting out any statements against the regime that might be heard by the onlookers.
The man was then bound with three pieces of rope: one around his eyes, one around his chest and one at the waist. The leader of the firing squad then shouted: ‘Aim at the traitor of the Fatherland… Fire!’ Three volleys were aimed at the man. The first hit him in the head, killing him instantly. The second hit him in the chest, causing him to slump, and the third, aimed at the waist, caused the man to fall into a pit. As Mr Kang wryly points out: ‘This simplified the burial.’ . . . . Mr Kang also remembers how a bulldozer preparing some ground to be made into a field unearthed masses of body parts. ‘Scraps of human flesh re-emerged from the final resting place,’ he recalls. ‘Arms and legs and feet, some still stockinged, rolled in waves before the bulldozer. I was terrified. One of my friends vomited.’ Mr Kang was then made to throw the body parts into a ditch. ‘That scene frightens me even more today than it did back then,’ he says.
Kim Jong-un is indeed a man "who is of the earth". Therefore, it is right and fitting that the Church takes up the words and prayers of the Imprecatory Psalms, and calls down judgement upon this evil, evil spider. We invite our readers to join with us in doing just that. Psalm 10 is a most instructive example.
Psalm 10: A Song for Kim Jong-Un
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
your judgements are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The Lord is king for ever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.