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Following the Rules

Is North Korea a fun country to live in?

No, man. No. I’m reading this book right now called Nothing To Envy: Ordinary lives in North Korea, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. This thing is an eye opener. Turns out, people are starving to death in North Korea. People are on trains getting carted around, and they’re dying. It’s almost the holocaust over there and nobody is doing anything to stop them.

A bunch of starving kids

Sad, not funny.

These North Koreans are people, people with the same desires for a better life that anyone in the US has, and yet their series of dictators have allowed them to go hungry and die off. Kim Jung Un is denying his citizens foreign aid; the food that gets into the country is stolen and sold on the black market. The forests of the country used to be big and vibrant, gray colored but vibrant, and now they’re stripped bare because they’re citizens are forced to eat weeds off the ground.

Can you believe this? We’re living in a modern age with iPhones, super-fast internet and an abundance of food. All of us, whether we’re ready to accept it or not, have bright futures and lots of opportunities. Meanwhile, a few thousand miles away people are starving and getting the death penalty for trying to better themselves. It’s too much to take and that’s why I encourage you to read that book.

Kid reading actual books

What people did before blogging.

Feeling these emotions are of the main benefits of books, really. You get to learn what’s happening in other places and you get to live events through the eyes of other people. Sure, sometimes this happens and you end up writing 300 words about North Korean oppression, but that’s a testament to the power of words.

How great is it that we have a tool to take somebody else’s experience and pass it on? It’s one of the reasons humanity has grown the way it has. Back in ancient times when all we had was the spoken word, all stories had to be memorized which meant they had to be stripped of a lot of detail, turned into slick rhetoric and changed to appeal to the village as a mass. Now, not only do we have long volumes detailing history, literature and academic studies, but you have blogs like this one where you can get inside the thoughts of another person.

There are millions of blogs just like this all over the internet. Think of how much you could learn about the human condition or even about thought processes from reading them.

Einstein

A big blog reader.

North Korea is in terrible shape, and it’s time we do something about it. The best thing you could do is learn more. Beef up your own knowledge so that you’ll be prepared for something like this happening. If North Koreans had read firsthand accounts of Darfur or the Holocaust, I’m not saying they would have been able to prevent this tragedy, but they would have been able to relate their situation to that of others and the ones who read them might have gotten out of there before the borders got shut down. Think about it, do you want ignorance to be the main reason you end up starving in the street?

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