What Is A “Political Prisoner”?

Ephrom Josine
6 min readSep 1, 2021

Homer: But, Marge, I was a political prisoner.

Marge: How are you a political prisoner?

Homer: I kicked a giant mouse in the butt. Do I have to draw you a diagram?

The Simpsons, “Itchy And Scratchy Land”

On 8/28/2021, a federal court allowed a man named Thomas Fee to take a vacation to the Jersey Shore. Thomas Fee was one of the men who stormed the Capitol, and we know this because he sent a selfie to his girlfriend of himself storming the Capitol on that day before surrendering to law enforcement on 1/19/2021. Despite all of this, Fee was still allowed to take a beach vacation.

I mention this because, the same week this happened, Congressman Madison Cawthorn said the following about those sitting in prison for storming the Capitol:

The big problem is we don’t actually know where all the political prisoners are. And so if we were to actually be able to go and try and bust them out — and let me tell you, the reason why they’re taking these political prisoners is because they’re trying to make an example, because they don’t want to see the mass protests going on in Washington.

In 2020, a woman named Kim Hyun Sook published a graphic novel called The Banned Book Club about a group of pro-democracy activists in South Korea. The book takes place in 1983, when South Korea was under a brutal military junta run by a man named Chun Doo-hwan, who was sentenced to death for his crimes in 1996 before being pardoned by South Korea’s seventh President Kim Young-sam, whom himself was one of Doo-hwan’s most powerful political rivals.

At one point in the book, one of the pro-democracy activists is imprisoned and tortured for — among other things — attempting to show foreign news media to the people of South Korea, for printing a newspaper that argues that the government lies about important events, and for reading communist literature the government banned — including Kim Il-sung’s book For the Independent, Peaceful Reunification of Korea. For this, he is taken to what can only be described as a black-site and tortured in hopes he’ll not only tell the authorities who he is working with, but also in hopes he’ll testify that this group is involved with the communist North Koreans. (Throughout the book, the…



Ephrom Josine

Political Commentator; Follow My Twitter: @EphromJosine1