Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Samantha: Life in Seoul and the Doomsday Threat

I haven’t written anything in a while. Life in Seoul is like living in New York City on steroids. I have come to the conclusion that there aren’t enough hours in the day for parties, concerts, coffee dates, long work weeks, projects, art, international phone calls, sleep, my Boston terrier and the occasional pajama day. As I am finishing a glass of wine and refining this, North Korea is finally taking a back seat in the news, as Boston has now become America’s new biggest obsession. I should be writing on Global Arts Therapy and its progress however right now I need to share my experience of North Korea, the DMZ and the Joint Security Area with you.

Samantha with a guard in the Joint Security Area
North Korea, lord only knows that in recent weeks the international media has been writing tales of how the DPRK is going to blow South Korea and the U.S into tiny pieces and I am here to tell you, for your own sanity STOP WATCHING THE NEWS! In recent weeks all of us in South Korea have heard plenty of threats and some have witnessed protests in the capital city of Seoul.  After several calm weeks in Yongin, I decided I could use a trip to Panmunjom and the DMZ so with the help of the staff at my school, I booked a trip up the place which has escalated and heightened fear in recent weeks internationally; the DMZ is an area consisting of 2 kilometers that neither of the two Koreas own. This place is where the propaganda and freedom villages exist, there are rice paddies and about 212 people coinciding within the area, it is dangerous and there isn’t a lot going on however you can feel the tension within the two kilometer span.

Guards patrol the Joint Security Area in Panmunjeom 
Looking onto somber foundations of old bridges and wondering what life was like when the two Koreas were one and people were able to see their families and share common bonds without restrictions makes you question why they split in the beginning. I’m not here to make commentary on Asian history, I’m not a historian and I’m not some arrogant fuck that is going to sit here and feed you rubbish.  The North Korea and Joint Security Area which I was able to experience was calm, I saw some guards and crossed the demarcation line, I did not visit Pyongyang however if the chance arises, I’m there.

In the border territory of Paju one can visit the Imnijak sculpture park and wish bridge, there you can see all of the prayers, and reunification hopes and wishes that South Korean people make, it is touching to examine this and realize that families have been divided for 60 years now. There are remnants of a train at the park as well in which remind us that not long ago life functioned with ease and joy within the two Koreas.

Although reunification now would lead to a substantial deficit, President Park Gyung He would like to see this happen.  With the bellicose rhetoric behind North Korea and the constant saber rattling that they do, I firmly believe the two Koreas will not reunify any time soon, however as for those of us living in the South-we are not concerned about their ranting and raving. We get up each day, head for our morning coffee and take on the day.  The North is a source of laughter around offices and a little work conversation, nevertheless we are not heavily concerned with Kim Jung Un’s threats.

Prayers for reunification in the JSA

So in America when the sun goes down, fear not of North Korea, listen less to the media and place a great importance on doing something good for your country, your state, your neighborhood and worry less about a possible nuclear threat. If you are concerned with North Korea, volunteer for a charity that can assist getting their people some food and medicine.

-Samantha Thomas

1 comment:

CVEckian said...

You are quite possibly one of the coolest people on the planet.

Just thought you should know that.

Thanks for yet another interesting perspective outside the bubble.