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Problems facing North Koreans should not be ignored

Visitors+walk+across+a+bridge+in+South+Korea+that+borders+North+Korea.+The+entrance+to+the+bridge+is+flanked+by+North+Korean+%28left%29+and+South+Korean+%28right%29+soldier+figurines.
Visitors walk across a bridge in South Korea that borders North Korea. The entrance to the bridge is flanked by North Korean (left) and South Korean (right) soldier figurines.

Visitors walk across a bridge in South Korea that borders North Korea. The entrance to the bridge is flanked by North Korean (left) and South Korean (right) soldier figurines.

Jasmin Kim

Jasmin Kim

Visitors walk across a bridge in South Korea that borders North Korea. The entrance to the bridge is flanked by North Korean (left) and South Korean (right) soldier figurines.

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Recently, there was an influx of North Korean news in the media due to a series of ballistic missile launches that disrupted the Korean peninsula.

Just a couple of months before, the media burst with the tragic death of Otto Wombier, an American student who died in comatose after he returned from his trip in North Korea.

In the midst of this chaos, I was visiting my family in South Korea, directly observing and experiencing the commotion’s impact on the country.

Despite all the negative attention the Korean penninsula has received, in the end, Koreans are Koreans; there is no boundary that separates us from what is embedded in us. As a Korean, I’ve been exposed to the horror stories of what North Koreans face on a daily basis, and their current predicament cannot be ignored.

Poverty is the language of life. Kim Jong Un is the fat, lunatic leader that most North Koreans will only ever know. You are tortured to death if you utter anything against him. That is why North Korea is a reality. It is not something to be taken lightly, or as a joke. It is a deeply rooted agony that Koreans bare.

It is important to see beyond what is in the news. The continuous appearance of North Korea in the media makes it seem like a big, global joke. Many people mock North Korea and ridicule its maniac leader.

It is time for us to stop joking. Stop taking the problems facing North Koreans lightheartedly. The hunger, pain and terror North Koreans are going through should be treated as a serious issue. The media should reveal the darkness of North Korea, not use it as a dinner table joke. What is going on there is more real than we would could ever know.

Politicians should especially stop looking at North Korea through a political lense. We must prevent another Otto Wombier from dying. My greatest hope is that our children would never know that there is a country without life or freedom. This can only start from the shift in our perspective.

 

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