Friday, November 07, 2003

"Ideologies are deadly when they are based on hatred. Growing up in the 1970s in Seoul, I was taught that North Koreans were our archenemy, all of them red devils with horns. Everyone at school had to participate in anti-Communism slogan and poster contests, and girls jumped rope to a song that went, "Let's kill off those Commies. / It's about time." I imagine North Korean children were taught to see the South in the same way."

"I hope I know better now, but the truth is, I really don't know how to regard North Korea and its people. Like most other South Koreans of my generation, I am stuck somewhere between that ridiculous, feverish hatred and familial sympathy, between the fear of North's nuclear threats and the burden that we need to confront this crisis in a sane, sensible way."

"Reading and translating the three short stories for this feature was, for me, the most intimate encounter I have had with North Korea, an experience that I hoped would allow me to get better acquainted with this unknowable other half. "(Words Without Borders > Asia > Ha-yun Jung How the Other Half Lives)