O.J. SIMPSON's continuing travails reminded a writer...


O.J. SIMPSON's continuing travails reminded a writer we know of his own personal encounter with a victim of spousal abuse.

Several years ago our friend was a boarder on the top floor of a Charles Village rowhouse owned by a couple who rejoiced in their mutual love by performing many acts of kindness toward others.

One evening as the weary writer was climbing the stairs to his room, the mistress of the house approached him.

A female colleague at work, she explained, had decided to leave her abusive partner but had nowhere to go. Would the writer mind if she stayed a few days in the unused top floor room opposite his?

Naturally our friend consented. The next day a delightful middle-aged woman with a rosy countenance appeared at the house.

The writer was nonplused. She certainly didn't look like a battered wife -- an odd thought that prompted our friend to carefully research his prejudices for a mental image of what abused spouses were supposed to look like. Finally he decided that if it could happen to this lovely person, it could happen to anyone.

Several months later, after the woman had moved into her own apartment, the writer occasionally saw her on the street. She was getting on with her life.

Reflecting on his experience, our friend felt he had done the decent thing -- though in truth he hadn't done much at all, really, except try to understand.

* * *

IN NORTH KOREA, all good citizens revere the Great Leader, Kim IlSung, and his son and heir presumptive, the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il.

Forget all those evil foreign stories suggesting that the Dear Leader is a flighty and far from admirable character, hardly the stuff of effective dictatorship.

If you listen to the regime's propaganda press, he is so beloved, especially by the 3 million children ages seven to 13 who are members of the Juvenile Corps, that these North Korean versions of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are unable "to be happy or even laugh" if they are away from his loveable presence.

Think not, however, that these youngsters are being programmed for a peaceful adulthood.

Choe Ruong Hae, head of the Juvenile Corps, was quoted by the (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station as follows:

"If the 3 million members of the Juvenile Corps, like the 5 million (older) members of the League of Socialist Working Youth, become guns and bombs, there will be no power to beat them."

So that's it. North Korean kids are being raised to be guns and bombs.

The aim, reports the Financial Times of London, is to preserve the Communist regime unto the third or fourth generations lest it suffer an Eastern European fate.

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