The 4th Chaillot Human Rights Forum 2014 in Seoul

A few weeks ago, I attended the 4th Chaillot Human Rights Forum 2014. My professor for my Politics and Society of North Korea class is a researcher at KINU, or Korea Institute for National Reunification, and he invited his students to attend the forum as guests.

And so it begins. And so it begins. 통일 합시다!

The forum was hosted at the Joseon Westin Hotel in Seoul, South Korea. It was packed with reporters (at least for the first session), ambassadors, researchers, and Continue reading

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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

nothing to envy cover

안녕하세요.

Few people have any idea what goes on in North Korea—not just because they’re ignorant, but because it’s difficult to get any information on the topic. “Is Psy from North Korea?” No, no he’s not. The six people in Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea are. And they grew up very differently than the world-famous Gangnam Style oppa.

Nothing to Envy is a gripping read with information gathered from countless interviews and a huge amount of research. I read it within two days and stared at a wall for a long time when I finished it. These were real people and stories—these are real people and their real stories. Not only are the North Korean refugees in the story alive and free, but their friends and family and countless other North Koreans still live beyond the demilitarized border between North and South, beneath the suffocating cover of their government.

The eye-opening story that really gripped me was about a woman who loved her country. She was an absolute patriot, and loathed those who tried to escape. Yet her story interested me the most because it not only explained how her mind changed and she decided to escape, but because it showed why she believed the propaganda and supported North Korea and its methods in the first place—from a real North Korean’s view.

I highly recommend Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea to anyone interested in South or North Korea, East Asia, or a very good and very real book. 감사합니다.

 

Extra Reading:

New York Times

Review by Book Worm’s Head blog