posted on Apr, 11 2013 @ 03:58 PM
I should have done this sooner. And now I won’t stop.
With the North Korea being in the news as much as it has been as of late, and with Kim Jong-un being the new guy, I’ve taken a stronger interest
than usual in all their blustering.
I’m not ignorant by any means…I know the basics when it comes to Korean peninsula, but like many others, the human element was a mystery. Yeah, I
heard it was bad, but I was clueless.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve read reports from people in Pyongyang, saying that everything seemed normal, people were just going on living their
lives. And now I understand why. Pyongyang is nothing but a stage in which DPRK tries to show prosperity and happiness amongst its people.
Anyway, I’m rambling now. I’ll cut to the chase.
Instead of just taking the MSM’s word for things, or internet forums…I decided to read a book on defectors from North Korea…
…Reading a book…what a difference.
The book I bought was “Nothing to envy: ordinary lives in North Korea”, by Barbara Demick. I bought it last night (only 12 dollars as an
ebook) and finished it about an hour ago…I could not put it down.
I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a novel based on a fictional dystopian society, or some post-apocalyptic rag tag group of
survivors…but something that is actually going on. It was damn near like reading 1984, except the conditions were worse and it’s really
happening. I am in shock at how this country has lasted for as long as it has.
The things I read that stood out…
- Top university students in Pyongyang in the early 2000’s had no idea what the internet is.
- Televisions must be registered and are modified to only receive broadcasts from DPRK.
- The hatred towards Americans, South Koreans and Japanese people is very, very real…instilled from birth, generation by generation, that’s all
they know. In fact, one story conveyed in the above mentioned book recounts a time that rice, delivered during a food aid program, had an American
Flag on it. This was outrageous to the North Koreans, even if they hadn’t had rice in YEARS. The Government told them that they took the rice during
an assault on the US.
- Even as recent as 2008, the diet of many North Koreans consists of nothing but boiled water, salt and leaves. Many scour the country side to find
edible roots, etc… A single egg bought on the black market can cost a whole weeks wage.
- Although somewhat lifted early on under Kin-Jong il, then later cracked down on again, private business…as simple as selling food is heavily
forbidden (under the guise of it being something that’ll lead to a desire for capitalism), and can lead to years in prison camps.
- Although many in North Korea work, wages have not been paid in a very long time.
- North Koreans honestly, really, believe that although they have it bad, it’s still probably better than the rest of the world.
- Travel to Pyongyang is STIRCTLY and HEAVILY regulated. All just keep up appearances. In fact, you need special permission to travel anywhere outside
the confines of your city.
I could go on and on…But I’ll just let you read it for yourself.
I guess what I wanted to say was, step away from the computer for a bit and do some research for yourself.
Before you go clamoring for war, or making light of the funny, backwards people over there…try to put yourself in their shoes.
And if you think we have it bad…Think again.