Two weeks ago, I took a day-trip to North Korea’s Gaesong Industrial complex and finally crossed the DMZ line. I cannot explain how or why we managed to finally enter North Korea, but I can share with you a short article I’ve written (published in the Korea Times) and some pictures I took of the area.
Truth be told, what we saw was not a real depiction of North Korea or the way people live. I have a strong feeling this highly-regulated and monitored visit was a North/South Korean strategy to allure South Korean capital into the North, in the hopes of increasing the economic integration of both countries.
The CEO of Hyundai, a major South Korean corporation, was born in North Korea but escaped to the south with money he had stolen from his family. His way of giving back for the fortunes he made in the south began with hundreds of cows, which he personally took across the DMZ line to helps starving farmers in the north. At least, that’s how the story goes…
The North Koreans we were allowed to speak with were the immigration officers, a tour guide, and the waitresses who served us lunch. We saw other North Korean men working in construction sites, and women working at a factory built in Kaesong. However, on our way to lunch, we saw a GATED COMMUNITY in which North Koreans lived behind bars. I saw children, men and women, hanging out in what seemed a camp for laborers and their families. We looked at each other from afar.
This trip was a short, brief, moment of personal and political contradiction. What I saw in the North was completely surprising and against my expectations.