Memories of North Korea - Macleans.ca

Memories of North Korea

A book excerpt describes the misery that was life under Kim Jong-il

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In an excerpt from This Is Paradise!: My North Korean Childhood, author Hyok Kang, who escaped North Korea’s repressive regime in 1998, describes an austere childhood marked by hunger, forced labour, and absolute devotion to the country’s dictatorship. Three years before Kang left with his family for China, the famine had taken hold of North Korea, leaving its residents to eat weeds boiled into a that “was so bitter we could barely keep it down.” School was six days a week and lessons consisted of rote repetition of “lessons we had already learned about the childhoods of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.” And at the end of every school day, students would toil in the fields for two to three hours. “We actually went there not to work,” Kang writes, “but to glean anything we could find to keep from starving to death.”

The Telegraph

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