Continuing writing about my North Korea trip…
Since returning I’ve found people incredibly interested in North Korea. For better or worse, many people ask what human rights issues I saw there, if any.
People far more experienced than I have investigated and reported on North Korea beyond what I could observe. If you want to learn about their experiences, you can find them. See below for a short bibliography.
I will write on what I saw, doing my best to avoid exaggeration and speculation, or at least note where I do so. I know plenty happened outside the field of view the North Korean government permitted us, perhaps outside Pyongyang or far from us, but maybe right under our noses.
I don’t intend to write about politics or human rights. Those topics are important. But what I cover has meaning too. I cover what my group and I saw with our own eyes and I will tell what happens when Americans interacted with North Koreans — rare occurrences.
In going we also presented Americans to them. I don’t know how they received or perceived us, but I went thinking my presence showed them the best of what America could offer. And I believe them seeing the best America has to offer — us — helps improve understanding and communication better than anything. If you think you can present better, by all means go.
- The New Yorker
- “Alone In the Dark: Kim Jong Il plays a canny game with South Korea and the U.S.“, by Philip Gourevitch, September 8, 2003
- On the occasion of Barbara Demick’s 2009 book, “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea“, a finalist for the National Book Award with stellar Amazon reviews
- “The Good Cook: A battle against famine in North Korea“, by Barbara Demick, October 26, 2009
- “Barbara Demick on Life in North Korea“, posted by Avi Zenilman, October 26, 2009
- “A True Believer” an audio slideshow on one woman who defected from North Korea, by Barbara Demick, October 26, 2009
- “Kimworld: Inside the North Korean slave state” books on North Korea reviewed by Ian Buruma, August 22, 2005
- “A Night Out in North Korea“, posted April 2, 2010 by Evan Osnos, who blogs many short pieces on North Korea for the New Yorker
- “Our Man in Pyongyang: Bobby Egan’s barbecue diplomacy“, by Rebecca Mead, October 8, 2007
- New Yorker articles with North Korea keyword
- An hour long, informative interview of Barbara Demick at the Asia Society in New York, January 7, 2010
- Daily NK, a South Korean publication opposing the North Korean government, supporting the North Korean people
- DPRK Profile, an overview by Koryo, the excellent group that organized our tour from Beijing
- Jordan Harbinger’s and Gabriel Mizrahi’s “North Korea Blog“
- Joseph Ferris III’s “An American in North Korea“
- Werner Kranwetvogel’s “Massgames Pictures“
- Wikipedia articles. Besides the content, the articles have many references.
- The Council of Foreign Relations
- The Council on Foreign Relations’ report The China-North Korea Relationship
- The Council on Foreign Relations’ report The Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s Nuclear Program
- Human rights reporting
- The Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps (122 page pdf), by David Hawk of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (not related to the U.S. Government), 2003
- “The Hidden Gulag“, by Young Howard in the San Diego Union-Tribune, May 15, 2005
- Human Rights Watch articles on North Korea
- Amnesty International’s 2011 Report on North Korea
- North Korea documentaries on Youtube
- National Geographic’s Inside Undercover North Korea, about a doctor who performed over 1,000 eye surgeries in ten days, by the older sister of one of the journalists sentenced to twelve years hard labor, saved by Bill Clinton.
- How the first Ultimate Frisbee tournament in North Korea came to be
Tomorrow: common expectations of North Korea, as opposed to my experiences and what I observed.
EDIT: I included much of this post (edited and polished) in my ebook, Understanding North Korea: Demystifying the World’s Most Misunderstood Country. I wrote the book to help increase understanding, communication, and freedom.
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