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How Lucky We Are

09 Oct

When I get political emails from my mom, I usually delete them (sorry Mom!). However, a couple of weeks ago, the title of a certain blog post she sent me caught my eye: “Twenty Things I Learned While I Was in North Korea”.  Like most Westerners, I can’t claim to know much about North Korea. I did know that tourists are hardly ever allowed in, and I was intrigued by the fact that an American had visited North Korea and lived to tell the tale. The post is from the blog Wait But Why, and it consists of twenty of the blogger’s observations, along with lots of photos and videos, from his recent tour in North Korea. The post was shocking, fascinating, and eye opening, and I highly recommend reading it. The photos at the bottom are his, and I won’t reiterate everything he says, but the main point is this: North Korea makes China look like a shining beacon of prosperity and freedom. North Koreans are continually brainwashed with government propaganda, every home is required to display portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and citizens only have access to government-approved television, internet, music, etc. Not to mention the forced labor camps, rampant poverty and starvation, and deteriorating infrastructure, to name a few current problems. Basically, North Korea has managed to completely isolate itself from the rest of the world, and I don’t think anyone outside the country really knows the full extent of the government’s crimes against its people.

                  So what does this have to do with US Government? Personally, reading this blog post about North Korea made me more thankful than ever that I live in the United States. Yes, we have our share of problems. Yes, our government is currently shut down and our Congressmen are acting like 5-year-olds. But you know what? We’re SO INCREDIBLY LUCKY to live here. Often we take for granted our ability to curse our president in public without being sent to a labor camp. We can put up pictures of whatever or whomever we want in our homes. The fact that I was able to publish this blog post, which called our Congressmen 5-year-olds and contained my own personal opinions, is a testament in itself to our nation’s unique dedication to freedom. I’m not saying that our government is perfect or that we should all stop complaining—in fact, I think we should keep utilizing our right to complain. I’m just saying that, in these times of dissatisfaction with our government, we have to remember how exceptional the United States really is.

Image

Some anti-American propaganda from North Korea

                  To get back to the topic of North Korea, it will be interesting to see what happens there in the future. It’s pretty easy to tell from the blog post that the country is messed up, but I’m sure we only know a fraction of what’s really going on. I hope the situation there changes soon—the citizens are certainly deserving of a government that prioritizes them over the military and nuclear weapons. I don’t know for sure what will happen, but I do know that history has proven time and time again that a government can only repress its people for so long. The Kims’ days are numbered, and hopefully North Korea can become a free, prosperous, relevant nation in the not-so-distant future.

Image

Portraits like these (of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il) are everywhere in North Korea

Here’s a link to the blog post I’ve been referencing (Warning: it contains some bad language):

http://www.waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/20-things-i-learned-while-i-was-in.html?utm_source=List&utm_campaign=9c422a6a55-WBW+%28MailChimp%29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5b568bad0b-9c422a6a55-41256109

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5 Comments

Posted by on October 9, 2013 in Default

 

5 responses to “How Lucky We Are

  1. Al Fletcher

    October 11, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I enjoyed reading your post. Your word choice is very strong. I teach in a middle school so I also appreciate your bad language warning. I hope you spread the word about how we should appreciate our freedoms in this country, and that we should exercise our right to make sure our legislators realize they are acting like 5 year olds.

     
  2. Jill

    October 11, 2013 at 6:35 am

    When i taught 6th grade Social Studies, my students were fascinated by this video from Lisa Ling: http://youtu.be/mxLBywKrTf4. Our discussion that followed became one of their favorite memories from that year. They knew more about North Korea than their parents.

     
  3. Mary Cronk Farrell

    October 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Great blog post! And props to you for exploring new information and being open to seeing from a different standpoint. Living in America it’s so easy to think we are entitled to all the advantages we have. Yes, people are entitled to freedom, but being born into freedom is lucky.

     
  4. Colin Richard (@ColinRichard19)

    November 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Hello, I am a student from the University of South Alabama and I have a class called EDM 310 where we blog on a weekly basis. I have had to comment on many other students’ blogs across the country, but none of them were as well written as yours. Poignant and concise, your blog brought insight and passion. It is people like you that will keep this country being the best. So, never stop, please! Awesome job for sure. I hope to see you blogging more in the near future.

     
    • sarahp878

      November 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you so much Colin! I’m glad you liked my post!

       

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