This subject hit me home since I came across it. I don’t know how many of you will see or read this blog post since my blog is not that “famous”, I don’t even know if someone will say something, but I still have the need to address this. You might have to take your coffee/tea/hot chocolate/popcorn..’cause it’s going to be a long post!
LET’S TALK ABOUT FREEDOM
Today (26 May 2018) I came across some videos on YouTube about the life in North Korea, it was not something intentional, it just happened and got me thinking about freedom. Just a second…I have to look through my search history to see how I got there.
Okay, so as I was looking at videos on YouTube, I saw this BuzzFeed video about going as close as possible to North Korea called “I Stepped Inside North Korea”, nothing extraordinary here, just two girls going on a trip to the border which separates North and South Korea. Interesting video though, although I kinda knew something about the strict rules visitors have to respect there. What I didn’t know is how bad the country is, for real. As I was watching this video (and scrolling down), I saw another video of a guy who went for 7 days to North Korea. This guy’s video blew my mind and that’s how I started my research. It was an eye-opening video which got me thinking…
You can see Jacob’s video down here, or you can visit his YouTube channel. This video has over 9 million views.
In North Korea there are millions of people who simply cannot do what we do in the western world. The simple fact of taking a cab is a privilege and traveling outside the country is not an option for them. Even if they want to travel within the country, they need special permissions to do so.
How is it there?!
The government is literally violating human rights, but the people have no idea about it. Why?! Because they don’t have access to information, internet is out of the question and TV channels and magazines are owned by the government and any other western influences are specifically prohibited by the government.
There is only one political party with the supreme leader controlling everything. In Jacob’s video I saw that the people there don’t even look at you and even if his group was allowed to go to a public park, they believe it was all staged. People there were dancing and happy, but outside of it everyone was serious and they don’t move freely. In another video of his, called “My life in North Korea vs South Korea“, he spoke about the differences in both North And South Korea.
Some of the restrictions there….
Koreans don’t have soda, they can’t buy luxury cars or western designer clothes. The government doesn’t allow concerts with singers outside the country (so, no american boy bands girls). Girls, can’t wear jeans (yes, they are forbidden) and sanitary pads or tampons are also forbidden (they use reusable pads). Any form of birth control is also forbidden, the people there cannot buy a simple pack of condoms. Properties and land is owned by the government, so nothing is really owned by the citizens. But the one who really got me was the “NO traveling abroad rule”. This obviously violates human rights and the most disturbing fact is that people have no idea. Well, most of the people anyway.
Many of them try to escape by crossing rivers or by any other form…. also many of them die trying. After I saw Jacob’s video, again some other video caught my eye. It was a TED talk of a girl who managed to escape North Korea.
I cried as she was talking about her experience. I cried for her, for what she’s been through. And then, I cried for us. Because then I realized how lucky we are to live in a part of the world where traveling is allowed and no one (okay, almost no one) says you can’t travel somewhere.
After this video, I am grateful! I live in Europe, feel like home everywhere around here, and people are amazing (I’m not naive, some of them), we have the freedom to do everything we want (as long as we don’t break the law). I am grateful because I have a roof over my head, food, products, whatever products I want to buy they are at my disposal (all I need is money). Also, I can watch freely whatever movies I want and listen to whatever songs I want, I can travel anywhere with no restrictions and talk with everybody.
I am grateful to be able to start a blog, a platform where I can share my thoughts freely without being scared of getting arrested or publicly executed for doing this. Although not a long time ago, Eastern Europe has had its own dictatorship: Communism.
I was born in a country where communism was the only political regime for a very long time. My grandparents and parents got to live in that period and I got to see the consequences. My grandparents have never took a flight in their entire life (again, they couldn’t travel outside the country and if they could airplanes were only for the wealthy ones). If older people in the U.S.A., for example, know what the Internet is and how to use it, here some of the older people have no idea what it is. They don’t trust the bank, because they think the bank will steal their money and pensions are still brought home by the mail man. I was raised in a strict environment, because they were raised like this. My generation was among the first ones who “discovered” the internet. And when we started to fight with our parents based on what we saw in other parts of the world, thanks to the internet, they felt like it was something bad. Like it was teaching us bad things, but luckily we went through that phase and they understood that it’s all about evolution.
If you have information, you have the power. Some of the most simplest things we do, other people can’t do because they don’t have access to information.
Be grateful for the power you have!