In the midst of the latest aggravation of the situation around North Korea, when even the threat of a nuclear attack sounded, our correspondent was looking for refugees from the North, who at various times had difficulty in getting to South Korea. Each new day of communication with these people brought a new shock. At first it turned out that in DPRK no longer socialism. Then - that since the Great Migration, people have not really changed for the better. And finally - that between South and North Korea is much more and much less common than you can imagine from afar.
“I was fine. I was promoted to lieutenant colonel, I worked in the anti-corruption unit - a grain position. But once my uncle was shot, his children were sent to the camp, his parents were kicked out of a good apartment, and I realized that I had nothing more to do here. I bought a boat for 200 dollars, took my 17-year-old nephew with me, and we, guided by the stars, sailed south. The Coast Guard was told to go fishing: it is possible for people in military uniform. We sailed for three days in the Sea of Japan, did not eat, did not sleep, sailed to South Korea and surrendered to the authorities. I myself do not understand how we did it. (Kim Yonchkhol, 40 years.)
- I was fine. My husband and I traded antiques — we sold traditional Korean ceramics to China --- and lived better than all our neighbors. But once, on the way back to Korea, my husband was arrested, and I don’t even really know what happened next. I tried to find out in court, but they answered me: “Look for yourself better than another husband.” It was a hint that he died. In the winter of 2012, I contacted a group of people who were planning a general escape. At first I did not want to take my daughter with me, she was then fifteen. But she heard what I was talking about on the phone and said that I would not go anywhere without her. I had to take it. (Myung Yonghi, 52 of the year.)
“Everything was fine with me, but once my mother was jailed for two years for an economic crime.” In fact, they wanted to imprison him for the political — communicated with the Southerners in China — but there was no evidence. In 2007, she came out and said: “Go, you, daughter, go to the south, nothing shines here.” (Kim Hyansuk, 23 of the year.)
- I was fine. I was the head of a youth organization at a food enterprise. But once they squealed on me that I was supposedly a member of an underground anti-state movement. This was in 1996, when food shortages began and the unsuccessful party policy became apparent. I talked about it with friends, as a result, they swept me and another person as an organizer. We were placed in a preliminary detention center near the city of Cheongjin. What was there, I do not even want to remember. They beat me every day, expelled me to the cold in wet clothes. But I did not confess anything, and they let me go. Two months later, a friend with whom we were arrested died of torture in the same center - they didn’t manage to make him the leader of a counterrevolutionary organization, so I was the last one again. One night from the political police for me came the second time. But here, I filled the face with two officers, and my wife and I ran towards the border - this is not far from our city. Ran across the ice of the Tumangang River and ended up in China. (Lee Youngs, 41 year.)
To understand what the phrase “I was all right” means, you need at least in general terms to imagine the world from which they fled. “All is well” is first of all a good songbone. If you were lucky to be born in the country of Juche, then your life since childhood is determined by a special stamp in the personal file: “special”, “basic”, “basic”, “hesitant” and “hostile” ... It depends on what your ancestors did male line with the Japanese and 1950-e.
If your father, grandfather or great-grandfather fought along with Kim Il Sung, you are lucky: in the personal file a “special” stamp is put, and you have the opportunity to live in Pyongyang, teach at the university and work in the political police. But if your great-grandfather "hostile" - for example, was a collaborator and helped the Japanese - then they won't even take you into the army.
Information about what my great-grandfather did is stored in the local administration, police stations and public organizations. In fact, this system is much more complicated; there are several subgroups within groups — in general, caste society. The Chulsin Sonbun is transmitted through the male line and can only change for the worse.
“I was fine. I worked in the anti-corruption unit - this is a grain position. But once my uncle was shot, his children were sent to the camp, we were kicked out of a good apartment, and I realized that I had nothing to do here
Sahve-Sonbun is a public one, determined by the profession and membership in the party, the women's council, the union of peasants. There is also a separate “honored audience” stamp: if you hit the photo with the leader, you have great prospects. Sometimes a good sahve-songbun can compensate for a bad chhulsin-sonbun, but more often it happens the other way around: a person with a bad birth will not be accepted into the union and will not be granted an audience.
If you are not from “hostile”, then after school or institute until 30 you will serve in the army. That is why the North Korean army is the fifth largest in the world: the service life of a conscript in it is 5 – 10 years. After the army you will be required to get a job. If you are a man and you have a good songbone, it can be associated with various left-wing incomes - in the supply service or in the department for fighting corruption.
If you are "basic" or "hesitant," then you better get married as soon as possible: women in North Korea are not obliged to go to work, and in 2002, they were allowed to trade in markets. As an ordinary worker in a factory, you will earn two dollars a month, and your wife will grow corn for sale or trade in Chinese clothes.
The caste system in recent years has been supplanted by considerations of economic expediency - the famine of the end of 90 has somewhat smoothed out the class differences. The owners of a good sonburn, who believed in socialism, honestly died of hunger, and the "hostile" began to survive on their own. The basis of the economy has become a semi-legal business activity.
In general, a regime established in contemporary North Korea has been established, which Russian researcher Fyodor Tertitsky called “a mixture of anarchy with totalitarianism”: at the official Juche level - party meetings, self-criticism sessions, and on the unofficial money and yuan spinning, mobile phone networks are being negotiated , external and internal private trade is conducted, based on bribes, connections and access to public resources.
All this, of course, is a risky game on the edge: for example, for trips to China for work you may be planted, but maybe not. You can buy off a Chinese DVD player, or you don’t buy off and rush into the camp.
And just imagine that everything has finally settled down somehow, and a catastrophe happens here. Some of your relatives are sent to the camp, your friend knocks you into the political police, his wife is caught on the border with the party of ginseng. And you understand that not only you, but also your children and grandchildren forever spoiled their karma. And you decide to run.
No one way ticket
Running to the south is not at all to the south. Through the South Korean border now only a soldier can really escape, who was sent to guard her. An ordinary person will not even go there. It is necessary to run to China. Moreover, many of the defectors want to go there, but they will find out about the opportunity to go to South Korea later.
Northerners have connections with China, many have relatives there, and the state has long turned a blind eye to the fact that North Korean people, especially from the border areas, go to their neighbors to earn money. In addition, in China there is a rather large ethnic group of local Koreans, citizens of China, among whom it is possible to dissolve. The border is not guarded too tightly - you can cross it for a bribe or, if you know the terrain well, secretly cross the river. In China, Koreans can hang for months, years, or even for life. During the famine there remained hundreds of thousands of Korean illegal immigrants. According to one northerner, of those who deliberately flee to South Korea, only one in five gets to Seoul. Therefore, the next chapter in stories A typical defector should be called "Living in China."
“My mother and I reached a small farm and hid in a pigsty.” There, the owner discovered us, said that he would surrender us to the authorities: for the capture of an illegal migrant there was supposed to be a reward in 5000 yuan. Mom began to beg him to give a mobile phone - to call his uncle: he has long been living in China, he has his own factory there. And that: "Give me the daughter and call". We pretended to agree. Uncle, an influential person, by telephone, strictly ordered him not to touch us. Then he came and bought us for 5000 yuan. (Lee Nahyong, 38 years.)
“My wife ran too slowly, the Chinese border guards caught us and sent us back,” the refugee continues, as he was knocked out by two Korean KGB agents. - In Korea, a car with two police officers was waiting for us. We had to give them in the face, and again we ran to China over the ice, this time successfully. We settled with a friend, he made us fake passports. He has a house near Yanji - something like a small hotel. There we lived for two and a half years - we did the cleaning, fed the dogs, and slowly learned Chinese. Then friends called me to work in a South Korean company in another city. I had experience in Chinese-Korean trade, and I earned good money pretending to be a southerner. But once they sounded on me.
In China, all North Korean refugees are considered illegal labor migrants who must be deported to their homeland, where they are likely to be sent to prison, although this is not always the case. Northerners who do not have the opportunity to naturalize in China often take over the criminal world, women often become prostitutes.
“You probably know that the“ one child policy ”has led to the fact that in China there is a huge male population advantage,” says American Tim Peters, a Baptist who helps refugees. - Therefore, poor northerners often undergo sexual exploitation, in the form of prostitution or forced cohabitation. Often, Korean women and Chinese men have children. But there is always the danger that the mother will be sent back to North Korea.
“My uncle said that he couldn’t hide and support us forever, and I had to get married,” says a woman who was hiding in a pigsty. - I was given for a Chinese, I lived with him for three years, gave birth to a child. One day my son said: “Mom, why don't you speak Chinese? I am ashamed of you. ” Then I left him with my grandmother and decided to go to South Korea.
Here the third stage begins - “Flight from China”. The South Korean embassy in Beijing, not wanting to spoil relations with the Chinese authorities, almost never helps - except to very high-ranking defectors who are of interest to the state. Therefore, it is necessary to run through a third country: Mongolia, Laos or Vietnam. All this is also far from friendly modes. Friendly - Thailand, but you still have to get to it. Here, for example, how the superman who had raised all the policemen on his way fled through Mongolia. By the time he left China, he already had a two-year-old daughter.
“In 2002, my wife, my daughter, and I stocked up with water, food, and reached the Mongolian border, which runs through the desert, on the crossbar. There we had to overcome several rows of barbed wire. Somewhere we raised it, somewhere we had to dig the ground. For twelve hours we walked through the desert towards the railway. We got to a station, the Mongol police caught us there. "Oh, - we say, - we are South Korean tourists, got lost, help to contact the embassy". They called the embassy, here we told everything as it is, and we were taken to Ulan Bator, and after two weeks we were sent to Seoul.
But the failed Vietnamese scenario with the participation of a broker - an intermediary who takes people for money:
- The broker brought us to a restaurant in Hanoi and said that his Vietnamese partner would come up in half an hour. But for these half an hour, the police caught us and the broker. Three weeks we marinated in the office, eventually sent back to China. And we don't speak Chinese, we don't know anything at all. Boarded the ferry and sailed to Vietnam again. They us back to China. We are back to Vietnam. Us - again in China. Three times they swam back and forth, and then they found a hotel in China. The next day they sent us another broker, he said that he would take us to the border with Laos. There we 10 hours went through the mountains through the jungle, and on the other side we were already met by a Laotian broker. He drove us to Thailand by car, where he was immediately identified: skinned, dirty — it is clear that it was from North Korea. The police sent us to the South Korean embassy, where there is a special center for the maintenance of such refugees.
“My mother and I reached a small farm and hid in a pigsty.” There, the owner discovered us, said he would surrender us to the authorities and receive a reward of 5000 yuan. Mom began to beg him to give a mobile phone - to call his uncle: he has long been living in China, he has his own factory there. And that: "Give me the daughter and call"
A broker is an 60-year-old aunt with a bag that you never suspect in underground activities. Ms. Choi Minsuk (name changed) officially works in South Korea as a social worker, caring for the disabled and the elderly. But in fact, she is engaged in something completely different: for money, she helps North Korean refugees to pull relatives out of the DPRK.
Every year, the underground network of Ms. Choi runs from 50 to 70 people. The service costs eight thousand dollars, plus a thousand more, which she herself receives. To earn this amount, an average North Korean refugee takes about five years. But you can still count on lifting, which the defector will then receive from the state - about 5000 dollars. Once, Minsuk went through all the stages of flight from the DPRK and in the process established the necessary connections.
- Prepayment - four thousand - I immediately transfer to the bank account of the Chinese partner. Of these, three and a half thousand he gives to a North Korean broker. This is an ordinary person who lives near the border and knows who to bribe. The second half goes to everything else: people are taken to Yanji, where there is an underground refuge, then to the border with Laos and through Laos to Thailand.
From Yanji to the border with Laos more than 4000 kilometers. In China, go seven days on public transport with transfers. The broker gets on a long-distance bus with a group of refugees, but does not show that they are familiar with them - they communicate only with looks.
- Here we do not guarantee anything - sometimes the documents are checked only by the driver, sometimes by all passengers. If a refugee is found and deported to Korea, the prepayment will not be refunded.
- Do you give a discount to children?
- No, that you! It is even harder with children: a baby can scream at the most inappropriate moment and draw attention to itself, so they have to prick sleeping pills.
In friendly Thailand, the chain of brokers is running out, and the refugees are pulling out specially crafted flags of South Korea to make it easier for the police to understand who they are. According to Ms. Choi, the flow of refugees has recently decreased: the border has become tougher to guard, tariffs have increased, and they also say that Kim Jong-un returns family responsibility for crimes - as a rule, under Kim Jong-il it was practically not applied.
American Tim Peters does not like being compared with brokers, although, in fact, he does the same, only for free. His Baptist organization Helping Hands has built a “secret road” - several underground communities in China, Laos and Vietnam, a shelter for Korean-Chinese orphans, centers for helping North Korean women who have been victims of violence. Sometimes Peters has to buy out his charges: for example, once in Vietnam, a police officer locked a refugee at home and said that he would send him back to China if he did not pay the ransom.
- We differ from brokers in that in case of unforeseen problems they can always abandon a client. And we are responsible for the person until he is safe.
Peters believes that if China changed its policy on refugees, the Kimov regime could collapse in a few months.
- If the South Korean embassy in Beijing agrees to accept northerners, the rumor of this will spread like a forest fire. People will run, and nothing will stop them. An association that has been talked about only in theory for many years will happen in a matter of hours. But, unfortunately, China has its geopolitical interests: it is going to use the North Korean port for its trade and does not want to spoil relations with Pyongyang.
The only thing Peters does not do is help in crossing the North Korean border.
- We do not convince people to flee from North Korea and do not help them in this. But if they decided and got into trouble, then we are on their side. By the way, our secret road also works for you - we recently helped several Koreans who had fled from a labor camp in Manchuria to which North Korea sends its citizens to work to get to Moscow. They cut down Russian forests there and this work extinguishes North Korean debt to Russia.
The Russian special services are not much friendlier than the Chinese - they often catch Koreans right in the FMS office, where they go to ask for refugee status, and send them home.
After arriving in Seoul, northerners are checked in South Korean counterintelligence for several weeks. Candidates for citizenship are asked to tell about themselves in detail, they may be asked to draw a map of their native city. This is necessary to make sure that he is not a northern spy and is not a representative of the Korean diaspora in China: Chinese Koreans in terms of dialect and appearance are similar to the northern ones and also often go to Seoul for a good life. After the investigation, the defector is sent to the temporary residence center of Hanavon, where he has been studying the basics of capitalism for three months.
Sonbun in the country of samsung
- It turns out we were deceived! We were told that under capitalism it is impossible to live without money, but it turns out quite differently. There are social benefits, housing for the needy, and free education. I had no idea that South Korea has become so developed!
All they brought with them was the useless certificates of education and a stack of photos. Here is their wedding: Choi Sehwan and Sin Sokhe on the background of a sullen government building with the inscription "Juche". Here is the anniversary of a high-ranking comrade - there are several plates of rice and meat on the table, an abundance unprecedented for the common man. Here is their son in a group of boys gymnasts. And the signature: 15 April 93 of the year. Ninety-third is the year of the Juche era, that is, since the birth of Kim Il Sung. Today is the year 102. In general, it is surprising how accurately the cult of Kimov in North Korea reproduces the Christianity it persecuted: there are also 10 commandments there, there is a weekly ritual of repentance, there is even an analogy of penance - political labor prisoners in labor camps do not attend propaganda events because they are considered unworthy of joining Juche idea. And, of course, the holy trinity: god-father, god-son and god-grandson.
Sehvan and Sohe recently graduated from Hanavon, where they received pillows, blankets and a basic set of life skills in capitalist society: they were told how to buy a ticket on the subway, how to use an ATM, what taxes and medical insurance were for three months. They were taken to restaurants and supermarkets, taught to buy clothes and get a haircut at a hairdresser.
In no country in the world does a state treat refugees so humanely. According to South Korean law, no DPRK exists, so refugees immediately receive a passport of the Republic of Korea, a bunch of social benefits and elevators, which, it is true, usually go to the broker to pay off the debt. For the family Sehwan paid his sister, who moved here a few years earlier.
Now Sokh is studying to be a nurse, and Sehwan is studying auto mechanics. In the workshop, he does not tell anyone where he came from. But this is already evident: it is much lower than other students and is two times older. It will not be easy to find work: here, as everywhere in Asia, there is a cult of age, and it is unlikely that anyone would want to subordinate a short, shy little man to whom, according to the rules of the Korean language, it is necessary to apply respectfully and obsequiously. And he has not even mastered such elementary words as “sykkhejul” (from English schudule, business schedule), “allam sige”, (from English alarm, alarm clock), “symatha” (from smart, smart), “nethovykhy” ( from network, network) “handyphon” (from handphone, mobile phone), and many other Anglicisms, which South Korean speech is full of.
In his homeland, Sehwan received a dollar at the 3 factory per month. He went to work, and his wife earned: she sold corn brew, mediated billet of an edible fern popular in Asian cuisine, took the order for the next batch, sent peasants to the mountains to buy eagle and delivered it to the state enterprise, which supplied products to China. On average, it was about 800 dollars per month, but this is only in season, in summer.
- Soviet dissidents wrote that the camp taught them something good. My experience suggests otherwise. The only thing I learned about people is to what extent they look like animals when they are on the verge of life and death. With the difference that animals do not take food from the young
The situation of the northerners in the South is generally unenviable: most of them are sitting on social benefits, some go to crime. If they get a job, they are not the most prestigious, and on average receive two times less than the average southerner. Women accustomed to prostitution in China do not find anything better than to do it in South Korea. “It’s hard to live in North Korea, because there’s nothing to eat. It’s hard to live in China, because you’re afraid of everything. And it’s hard to live in South Korea, because you don’t understand anything,” Andrei Lankov quotes the words of a northerner. The attitude of the southerners to refugees here is about the same as in all developed countries of the world: a mixture of fear, shame and fastidious pity. If one of the local Koreans marries a northerner, then he tries not to advertise it: a woman without a family, without social roots, with some incomprehensible problems is, of course, not exactly a prostitute, but still on the verge of decency, something like a wife -disabled. Many do not withstand such tension and re-emigrate: for example, they fly with a South Korean passport to London and seek asylum as North Koreans. There are even a few cases of escape back to the North, where the authorities are trying to extract ideological benefits from the returnees and send them to lecture on the horrors of capitalism in the country.
But what is interesting: the social route of the northerners in the South is largely determined by who they were in their homeland. The people who successfully integrated into the social hierarchy of the Juche country are relatively successful here too. And people from the bottom and in the South find themselves on a social bottom. The secretary of the party cell will not go to the janitors, and the crane operator’s son won’t think of going to university.
“If a person taught at a university, was a doctor or a high-ranking official, then here he is likely to somehow restore his status,” says Korean studies Andrei Lankov. “If he worked in the field of state security, then the local Ministry of Unification will also give him money for secret information. But former tsekhoviki and fartsovshchiki in the South Korean business can not find a place. Because they work on completely different rules. Moonshine and negotiation skills with Chinese smugglers are in little demand in chaebols. So it turns out that a sonbun plays an important role here - there is no stamp in the personal file, but it remains in my head.
As a child, Kan Cholkhvan was very fond of aquarium fish. In Pyongyang in 1977, almost every child had fish, but Kahn had a real passion - he had a dozen aquariums in his room, which he thought during all school lessons: how is there a guppy without him, has the water cooled Is feed?
Cholkhvan had a happy Soviet childhood - with a refrigerator, a vacuum cleaner, and even a color TV set that included the clean hands series. Grandfather was a big boss - he once dragged the entire family from Japan under the influence of the Communist organization "Chosen Soren" ("Association of Japanese Koreans), who agitated for the repatriation of Koreans cut off from their homeland after the defeat of Japan in World War II.
When they came for them to Yodok, the police officer at first did not allow me to take an aquarium. But nine-year-old Cholkhvan gave such a tantrum that he was told: "Ok, take it." For the next ten years of his life, Cholkhvan dug the earth, ate rats and lizards, suffered from "pink disease" pellagrai, buried the dead and praised Kim Il Sung during self-criticism sessions. He saw how the man’s mouth was stoned, who, before being executed, tried to cry out that the leader was a son of a bitch. As his peers, they are thrown into the cauldron with sewage and forced to crawl on the floor in front of the class, repeating: "I am a dog." How to beat a pregnant woman for what she wants to "give birth to a traitor."
Yodok is a family-type zone for relatives of political prisoners. The conditions there are considered quite mild: in the camps for the political, many die during the first year. Cholkhvan got to Yodok like a grandson of an enemy of the people - along with his father, uncle, sister and grandmother. How his grandfather, a big boss, became an enemy is not clear. Most likely, quarreled with someone from the Association of Japanese Koreans. In addition, the Kan family lived defiantly according to Korean standards: for example, they had a Volvo car brought from Japan, which the state had to pass. Anyway, all the relatives were in the camp, except for Kahn's mother: she was the daughter of a hero of the revolution, so she was forced to divorce her husband and was not taken to the camp.
Kan lived in Yodok from 9 to 19 years, then was amnestied, but five years later, when the threat of a new arrest arose (he listened to South Korean radio), he left for China, and then for South Korea. He wrote a book in collaboration with a French journalist and became one of the most famous defectors in South Korea.
In communication, Kahn is a man in a case, very phlegmatic and reserved. Yes, he overcame negative experiences and was able to successfully adapt to a capitalist society. Yes, he is still tormented by fears and dreams about camp. He speaks of all this with a polite smile, benevolent just as much as the standards of secular communication demand.
“Soviet dissidents wrote that the camp was for them a school of life, helped to get to know the people, taught them something good,” says Kan. - My experience suggests otherwise. I learned to deceive and steal, after the camp I became aggressive, I always wanted to fight. The only thing I learned about people is to what extent they look like animals when they are on the verge of life and death. With the difference that animals do not take food from the young.
- What happened to the fish? They died?
“The very first winter,” Kahn smiles, opening his case just as much as necessary. - I tried to take care of them in the camp, collected some worms, but when the temperature fell below zero, they just froze. But at that moment I didn’t really care.
Listening to the stories of refugees, one wonders: why these monstrous stories are mostly of interest to foreign journalists, why are these characters not hunted by the South Korean media?
To get an answer, you need to go not even to the North Korean border, but to the PSY concert, where boys and girls with plastic cat ears swing luminous sticks in time with the song Gangnam Style. Or look at the Seoul skyscrapers through the new invention of Samsung - a window that can work as a computer monitor. Window transparency is adjustable - you can look outside and check mail at the same time, or you can just check your mail. Or just go shopping: no country in the world has such a variety of creative shoes.
“Our organization with a turnover of several tens of thousands of dollars exists on voluntary donations,” Peters explains. “Guess how much we received from southerners this year?” 200. One Christian community transferred us 200 dollars. Everything!
Nobody cares about North Korea here. And that, as American Peeters says, the most shocking thing is most shocking.
“Our organization with a turnover of several tens of thousands of dollars exists on voluntary donations,” Peters explains. “Guess how much we received from citizens of the Republic of Korea this year?” 200. One Christian community transferred us 200 dollars. Everything!
There are no North at all on the South Korean maps: even in primers, only Hanguk is offered as a homeland for children - South Korea is South Korean. Self Northern - Pukhoson. “Puk” is the north, “Chosun” is an ancient word for the Korean state. In the North Korean textbooks of geography, the southern part of the country is Namchoson: also “Chosun”, but only “Us” - the south. On the northern maps there are both Seoul and other areas of the country - in accordance with the administrative division adopted in the South. This largely explains the lack of remorse among the traitors of the motherland: they do not flee abroad, but to their own Korea. And they discover that the Korean brethren have long forgotten about them. Rather, pushed to the periphery, as a person displaces dirty and scary images that pop up from the depths of the subconscious.
- If you ask an ordinary South Korean student about Pukchoson, he will look with surprise and ask: where is it? It seems to me that this is not the best policy if a country wants unification, ”23-year-old Kim Hyansuk, who ran for her mother, wonders.
At the official level in South Korea, of course, they talk a lot about unification, but in reality no one wants it:
“For South Korea, there is nothing worse than entering the war and winning it,” says Andrei Lankov. - North Korea, of course, will lose, but before that it will have time to do enough artillery volleys to destroy half of Seoul, which is located 50 kilometers from the border. And after that, the government will have to not only rebuild the city, but to do something with 20 by the millions of northerners who really want to eat and are used to voting for whom they will say. Take the example of East and West Germany and multiply it by ten. For a South Korean public figure to say that he does not want unification is political suicide. But for the country itself, suicide is unification.
The most guarded frontier in the world has long become Disneyland. American guides lead tourists to military sites. You can take a picture with the border guard, you can even stand on the territory of North Korea - in the meeting room, which is de facto all on the UN territory: the border formally passes through the table. You can throw a coin and look through binoculars at the misty outlines of the northern Potemkin villages, which Southerners show almost like their own pride. In the village on the other side, the lights have been turned on and off for many years to show that someone lives there. But for the South Korean eye, this outdated attraction cannot be compared with the PSY concert.
The Korean contrast is striking precisely because it seems to be a radical expression of what happened in the world at all. The twentieth century, with its horrors, questions of life and death, which are staggering in the stories of refugees, suddenly turned out to be marginal and not interesting to anyone. Consumer paradise in these categories does not need.
In the souvenir shop on the border, I buy a beautiful military bag with pockets and a bottle of North Korean alcohol. Next to me, a middle-aged man from Seoul takes a sip - he tastes North Korea. Frowns, swears, but does not throw the bottle. He says that he will put it at home in the kitchen. For patriotic reasons.