Friday, October 21, 2011

What you see and what you don’t see

Important is what you don’t see, a wise friend keeps telling me. Let’s have a closer look at some things or people that you don’t see.
You don’t see homeless people, drifters, or the rural population leaving the villages to roam around the bigger cities. You don’t see people in rags. How could there be drifters? You can’t simply leave the village as you would be seen immediately. Everything is under control. You could walk as far your feet will get you, but you could not hop on the bus as there is none to bring you to farther destinations. In the cities there aren’t only the police, but there are also these two or three ladies at every street corner watching.
You don’t see much intercity traffic though there are highways and railway tracks. No regular bus service, no train with merry old people, who had visited a sightseeing in the country and return home, which you see immediately after you cross the border to China. So people have to stay in the vicinity, where they live. There aren’t many good that are transported, so you have to live on the goods you produce regionally.
You don’t see old or disabled people. If you are disabled and live on the 16th floor and you don’t have a working elevator, then you don’t leave you home much often. If you don’t have a wheelchair, especially an electric one, when you can’t move your legs, how could you move around? Maybe some people are kept out of sight on purpose, but most will simply not appear because of lack of transport.
Your hardly see young men. Well some of them in other countries you would better like not see, like members of street gangs. But in North Korea it’s because of the long military service. That also means a drain of work force.
You don’t see starving people, even if you go on long trips throughout the country. You see the well to do cooperative farms. You don’t see shrivelled corn; you see nice dark yellow corn being dried. How is it that you don’t see attributes of famine? You travel in the long stretched of good arable land. You don’t see the not so easy land strips, where corn doesn’t ripen or rice can’t be grown. Even the Great Leader Kim Il Sung had to face the fact that arable land in Korea is limited and can’t be expanded. What you see is any bit of land that is arable will be put into use. Where other countries simply have grass in front of apartment houses, you see salad, turnips, or cabbage. What does it mean in terms of environment protection? Corn is draining the soil. Monocultures like vast corn fields will lead to erosion and loss of fertile land. You don’t see starving people, but you see how slim the average North Korean is. So, even if the pictures aren’t showing starving people, you might be inclined to accept that there are people in North Korea, who are starving.

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