If you’re a chick and want a good magazine subscription, I highly recommend Marie Claire. It’s only $10/year, and if you’re the impulsive-buy-on-a-whim type that I hope you are, you can get 3 years for just $15. That’s only 1 meal out to eat for 1 person without tip, so you can do this. Please subscribe because I don’t like this new trend where magazines are becoming obsolete and are going to only free online versions. I wanted to start a Budget Travel subscription for the first time, and I couldn’t because they are only online now. I like getting a magazine in the mail just like I enjoy going to the library, and if libraries ever become outmoded, that will be a day of mourning for me.
Anyway, if I am going to convince you to invest $10 in something, I better make a sales pitch. (I’m known for up-selling. Not really. When I worked at Bruegger’s, I convinced many people, mostly men, oddly enough, to buy the most expensive sandwich, but I’m not a sell-out. [Women were more steadfast in their lunch choices, probably for diet reasons; this particular sandwich was a 2:1 meat to vegetable ratio.] I convinced them because I believed it to be the best sandwich on the menu and wanted them to enjoy a tasty meal. I received no commission for anything, just telling them what was good if they asked or if there was a long line and they were taking entirely too long mulling over the menu).
Anyway, all of the stupid girl stuff is included, but you also get very well done human interest stories with each issue. This last issue talked about a North Korean woman who is only 1 of 146 who have successfully escaped to America, and included the how, when, and why. The dictatorship survives primarily because they deprive their people of information. Secondarily, it survives because they deprive their people of sufficient food. (Your people can’t overthrow you if they are too weak. But, your people will not wish to overthrow you if they believe the lies and evil you tell them).
And, why wouldn’t they? As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think what everyone initially ponders. Why would somebody believe such ridiculousness? That North Korea is the best country ever? That we have it great here? Here, where we have no freedom, barely enough food to survive, and are scared for our safety? Scared that we might be turned in by a neighbor?
Then, I quickly remembered the psychology behind brainwashing. Brainwashing is successful due to the isolation. They isolate their people completely from the rest of the world. Their radios are North Korean, and their information is all filtered so that they can control all information their people receive. They only know that their country is the best, or at least that is the ultimate goal of the dictatorship. (But, obviously, some people put it together and “defect” to other countries. Others might put it together, but are too afraid, but it’s impossible to know the statistics on that). It’s pure evil, of course. But, it’s pure evil done by someone who understands the psychology of man, but grossly misuses it.
It infuriates me to read this. Infuriates, saddens, etc. Why do I get to be born into a country where I feel safe? (Except in parking garages by myself at night and public restrooms alone in baseball stadiums in cities with high violent crime rates). Anyway, why do I get to be born into a nice, comfortable life and others have to struggle to survive?
Because of this (my comfortable life), I have an ethical obligation to help others. I believe this and so does Lauren Conrad from the reality show, Laguna Beach. You would know this if you had read the most recent issue. (I guess I’m not going to get you to buy something if I use that most infamous of teacher lines: “You would have known if…”). I was both surprised and proud that she said that and believes it (she uses her money to help others just as all celebrities should do).
Some will say, “Well, people who are wealthy can do whatever they want with their money.” True. They can, but they shouldn’t. (Usually people say this in context of taxes, government-esque things). But, I believe we have an obligation to help others when we are able to do so (and by “able”, I don’t mean when it is convenient for us. I mean when we are able to help, as in financially, emotionally, etc. Which means most people can help others).
No, I am not wealthy. I am a nurse. Did you not see the title of my blog? I have enough, don’t need anything more, though. I chose to be a nurse, had the freedom of choice which many people around the world lack. So, if we have a duty to help others who are struggling, how do we help those in North Korea? There is a place in China that is a safe haven for these people (refugees from North Korea) where people work to help them, some of them American. This was the protagonist’s first taste that Americans were not pure evil, but people wanting to help her. (If you didn’t know, they brainwash their people into saying that Americans are evil, will harm them etc).
But, how to help the people stuck in North Korea? It always both perplexes and angers me how such evil can still exist in 2013, a time where information is so easily accessible and transportation so efficient. A place with the most guarded border in the world, their own, to keep their people from escaping to South Korea. And, there’s The Aquariams of Pyongyang book staring me in the face. A book I have been interested to read, but have been avoiding for obvious reasons.
It’s tragic enough that the people of North Korea have to experience such atrocity. But, they are not the only people who do, and while I know it’s impossible to help everyone, how is America supposed to balance being humanitarian while not interfering? And, how is America supposed to choose which country they will help? The greatest good for the greatest number? The “worst” dictator, “worst” atrocities? (I place “worst” in quotes because I believe it’s not right to quantify atrocity as human lives are the consequence of the atrocity).
Is this the kind of thing that keeps you awake at night? I hope so. Because this is what keeps me awake at night. Knowing I get to sleep on a nice, pillow top dream of a mattress while others around the world are kept awake at night from hunger. Disease. Terror. Some that don’t know that pillow top mattresses exist. And that America means freedom.