Essay Questions On North Korea

In the middle of night, I was awakened and shoved into a car and driven to a city far away, to a relative’s house, where I waited for my parents to join me.

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I experience the world, that is, as a map of fears to navigate, its coordinates all shattering bits coming at uneven speeds.

This feeling has dogged me for as long as I can remember, and the map operates as a knot growing more tangled within me each day.

Or it’s possible that North Korea, in some ethereal way, became a kind of darkest night, the longest wait, the well from my childhood.

I pursued coverage of the country for a decade, every step of the way nearly paralyzed with fear.

I was not one of those intrepid foreign correspondents who jump into war zones, nor did I have a team of editors, fixers, and photographers working alongside to help figure out the logistics and arrange the precautionary backups.

Although I signed a book contract long before 2011—when I finally dove into Pyongyang for those six months—my meager contract was just a piece of paper with a vague deadline, never a support network I could rely on for protection.The darkness did not lift even when I immigrated to America and became reunited with my parents, now penniless. Everything I knew simply vanished in one instant, and I got stuck, I think, in the shadowy nook where I hid as a girl, aged twelve. I can wait for days and years, through rain and storm—even through darkness—and hardly ever ask questions.Somewhere deep in my mind, I must imagine that if I am quiet and good, my parents will come back.For this act, I am often described as “fearless.” People call me brave.But even if it sounds illogical, I consider myself to be a very fearful person.Even more, I believe my fearfulness is the only way I can begin to explain my time undercover in the gulag nation.North Korea is perhaps the darkest place in the world.I was a child and didn’t understand, so I waited, every day expecting their return.But I didn’t see them again until a year later, at John F.In Pyongyang I was watched around the clock by the minders who lived directly below me in a dormitory under complete surveillance.My classes were recorded and reported on, and I had to get permission for every lesson from the North Korean staff.


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