Thursday, May 6, 2010

Where have you been Sarah?

The short answer: North Korea.

Huh?

The long answer to follow.

A few months ago I heard an interview on NPR with the author of a new book called "Nothing to Envy" about North Korea. The interview is from January but I could have sworn I heard it later in the year- no matter the days are just passing too fast as it is. Anyways I was just mesmerized. I really had no idea how isolated North Korea is from the rest of the world. I have heard of Kim Jong-il, of course, but did not know how he came to power or how North Korea was formed. My father served in the Navy during the time of the Korean Conflict but he did not see any action and I don't even think he got close to Korea but I would need to confirm.

Here is a country with no internet. No outside media. Very little food. Few export partners. And I can't help them because their leader does not want my help. He, and his father before him, have created a country isolated and crippled by their own stubbornness. I wanted to learn more so I put the book on hold at the library.

I also put "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" on hold. It arrived first. I remembered it from an article in Bookmarks a while ago about the best books on North Korea. It's a whopper! 876 pages. It is very well written and the author keeps it moving and keeps you interested. Those who know me are shocked at my choice for a really big, non-fiction book. Yes, it's a departure but I'm enjoying it. I would like to finish it soon, though, to move onto other titles.

I wanted to share one thing while I work on finishing this book. The book details an incident from 1968 when members of the Pueblo, a small U.S. Navy ship, were taken hostage by North Korea. The crew members were held from January of 1968 to December 1968. The Pueblo was the first surrender of a U.S. Navy ship during peacetime since 1807.

My G'pa Jackson kept a journal most of his life and each day would make a little note - White Sox scores, the weather, who he saw, etc. This is what he wrote on December 23, 1968, the day the Pueblo crew was finally released by North Korea:

Cold in 20's, windy. Flurries. Lunch with Office Section. Time at CA. Pueblo crew released. Astros in moon gravity pull. Word new Buick in town. Shop at night. Talk to Palmers.

Thanks to my Mom for looking up the entry. (I was 2 mos. old at the time and The Palmers are my Mom & Dad).

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