!Pdf ⚖ Aquariums Of Pyongyang: Ten Years In The North Korean Gulag ☫ PDF or E-pub free

!Pdf ♠ Aquariums Of Pyongyang: Ten Years In The North Korean Gulag ⚑ North Korea today is one of the last bastions of hard line Communism Until recently, no one ever managed to leave the country No organized, active opposition movement exists, either at home or abroad Western historians and researchers have had little access to information about North Korea apart from official Party documents and propaganda This book marks the first time that a victim of the regime, a survivor and escapee, has provided a personal and documented insight into the labor camps, the organized famine, the farcical trials, the repression, and the political conditioning within this hermit kingdom Kang Chol Hwan was arrested at the age of nine along with other members of his family when his grandfather made remarks about life in a capitalist country that were judged to be too complimentary He grew up in the camps and has escaped to South Korea to document his personal life as a testimonial to the hardships and atrocities that constitute the lives of some several hundred thousand people living in the gulag today Kang s account of his internment reveals the life and death conditions of the camp, the relentless forced labor, and the mental repression that drove the two hours of daily political training that followed twelve hours of backbreaking work His memoir documents the political bartering of food and the ideological uses of malnutrition Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this book brings together unassailable firsthand experience, setting one young man s personal suffering in the wider context of modern history A friend happened to be reading this while I was reading Nothing to Envy , and recommended Aquariums of Pyongyang to me.As with one of the people whose story is told in Nothing to Envy, Kang s family is part of the Chosen Soren Korean residents of Japan who are sympathetic with North Korea As a relatively well off member of North Korean society, his childhood seems rather idyllic until the arrest of his grandfather and the internment of many of his family members in the Yodok camp system A friend happened to be reading this while I was reading Nothing to Envy , and recommended Aquariums of Pyongyang to me.As with one of the people whose story is told in Nothing to Envy, Kang s family is part of the Chosen Soren Korean residents of Japan who are sympathetic with North Korea As a relatively well off member of North Korean society, his childhood seems rather idyllic until the arrest of his grandfather and the internment of many of his family members in the Yodok camp system.From the age of 9 to 19, Kang manages to survive the horrors of living in this system, surviving hunger, disease, brutality, cold through shear will It s an amazing story I found the part of the book that dealt with his internmentcompelling than the story of his life after release and after his escape to the south.It was interesting to compare his story with those of the interviewees in Nothing to Envy Kang got out in the early 90s, before the famine in North Korea was at its worst Yet as a camp resident, it s almost as if he went through the horror that the rest of the country experienced, only ten years earlier Much of Kang Chol Hwan s memoir of life in North Korea s notorious Yodok prison camp is eye opening stuff, especially when he tells the story from the inside he served a ten year sentence there from the age of nine, as an innocent by product of being part of an allegedly subversive family A lot of it, unsurprisingly, is classic misery memoir, albeit enhanced considerably by the insight that it gives into North Korean society, particularly from within institutions that even North Koreans aren Much of Kang Chol Hwan s memoir of life in North Korea s notorious Yodok prison camp is eye opening stuff, especially when he tells the story from the inside he served a ten year sentence there from the age of nine, as an innocent by product of being part of an allegedly subversive family A lot of it, unsurprisingly, is classic misery memoir, albeit enhanced considerably by the insight that it gives into North Korean society, particularly from within institutions that even North Koreans aren t supposed to know about tellingly, he reveals and presumably himself knows little about the ultra secret hard labour camps from which few ever emerge As one might expect, life in the camp is relentlessly brutal, with few concessions made for age children were spared summary executions, but they could just as easily perish in a mine collapse.The book s downside is that Kang, very possibly for reasons beyond his control which may be partly down to the fact that the book I read was effectively translated from Korean to French to English , isn t an especially compelling narrator, and the book does tend towards the repetitive I also felt that the final section, in which he successfully escapes the North and ends up as a South Korean citizen via its embassy in Beijing, was somewhat rushed he clearly couldn t wait to get away, but he conveyed this feeling all too effectively to the reader This isn t a spoiler, by the way this is made clear in the introduction, and Kang clearly wouldn t have been able to write the book at all if he hadn t successfully got out of the country.Still, as a companion piece to Barbara Demick s Nothing to Envy still the best account of day to day North Korean life that I ve read, largely thanks to its plurality of voices , it s an illuminating and often sickening read not least for the unanswered and possibly unanswerable question of whether Kang s family suffered any further repercussions resulting from his escape Another horrific tale of life in the prison that is all of North Korea this one told about life within a prison itself Perhaps because this is the latest in a list of books about All Things North Korean that I ve been reading in the last couple of years, I was not as horrified by this story as I was by some of the others I ve previous read Both Nothing to Envy and In Order to Live A North Korean Girl s Journey to Freedom affected me fardeeply, and I would recommend both of those b Another horrific tale of life in the prison that is all of North Korea this one told about life within a prison itself Perhaps because this is the latest in a list of books about All Things North Korean that I ve been reading in the last couple of years, I was not as horrified by this story as I was by some of the others I ve previous read Both Nothing to Envy and In Order to Live A North Korean Girl s Journey to Freedom affected me fardeeply, and I would recommend both of those books over this one There was an emotional distance in Kang s writing that kept my horror a bitat bay Still I believe any and all books written by or about North Koreans who have managed to escape from that hideous place are worth reading I already knew that North Korea was a crazy place, but this book underlines how its regime is both terrifying and utterly odd I won t even get into the logic of naming a man as President for eternity, four years after his death In one of the most powerful images in the book, the author looks across the Yalu river one night On one side is noisy, busy, lit up China Across the bank, North Korea is dark and silent as North Koreans describe it, calm as hell Some interesting snippets of infor I already knew that North Korea was a crazy place, but this book underlines how its regime is both terrifying and utterly odd I won t even get into the logic of naming a man as President for eternity, four years after his death In one of the most powerful images in the book, the author looks across the Yalu river one night On one side is noisy, busy, lit up China Across the bank, North Korea is dark and silent as North Koreans describe it, calm as hell Some interesting snippets of information I gained 1 Most cars in South Korea are painted silver.2 Traditionally, Koreans are born aged 1 They get a year older not on their birthdays, but every January 1st However, this is no longer used officially in N Korea.3 When the author was a child, children in every class displayed a league table showing the physical strength of each child Fights were then organised between the top ranking students from different classes.4 In the Confucian tradition, a woman who marries joins her husband s family Even if they then divorce, she still belongs to that family, and her own parents will probably reject her if she tries to return home If the man marries again, he and his new wife have to live with the ex wife.5 The camp inmates were so desperate for clothes that if they were sent to bury someone, they would always strip the body naked first.6 Teachers in the camp school were all armed, routinely referred to children using terms like You son of a whore, and routinely beat and humiliated the students a favourite punishment, for example, was making them spend the whole day standing naked in the courtyard The author points out in an understated way that, Trust between student and teacher was utterly impossible under such conditions 7 Each inmate was allotted one pair of socks to last a year They ended up wrapping their feet in rat skins most of the time However, the children have a special pair of socks given to them on Kim Il sung s birthday, which they can only wear when entering a room dedicated to him 8 Before China and South Korea established diplomatic relations in 1992, accepted practice for ships travelling between the two countries was for them to bear Honduran flags The Aquariums of Pyongyang Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag This author, Kang Chol Hwan, was born in 1969 in Pyongyang, North Korea Kang lived in a very large, luxurious, multi room apartment in privileged comfort almost unheard of in communist Northern Korea His family enjoyed the rare conveniences of a refrigerator, washing machine, colored television set and even a car Kang s family wealth came, not just from his grandparent s high social status, but his grandfather s mass fortune acqu The Aquariums of Pyongyang Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag This author, Kang Chol Hwan, was born in 1969 in Pyongyang, North Korea Kang lived in a very large, luxurious, multi room apartment in privileged comfort almost unheard of in communist Northern Korea His family enjoyed the rare conveniences of a refrigerator, washing machine, colored television set and even a car Kang s family wealth came, not just from his grandparent s high social status, but his grandfather s mass fortune acquired while living and working in capitalist Japan Kang s grandfather was one of the most affluent Koreans in Osaka, Japan before he returned to North Korea Kang s early childhood in North Korea was a happy one But slowly and methodically his very powerful and rich family had all of their material wealth stripped from them by the communist party of North Korea Then, one day, in July 1977, Kang s grandfather did not return home from work He was never seen or heard from again and to this date nothing is known about his ultimate fate He was accused of treason but it seems that it was his hyperactive, outspoken and activist wife who was the root cause of his arrest and disappearance Kang s grandmother had significant disagreements with some people who would go on to become top leaders in North Korea and they eventually had their revenge on the entire family.North Koreans believe that political deviance is hereditary, so extended families are routinely rounded up and incarcerated in gulags for the political crime of one family member This is what happened to Kang s family State Police barged into the Kangs luxurious apartment, picked out all of the material goods in the home they wanted to keep for themselves, arrested the entire family, then loaded them into a truck and sent them off to Camp 15, the Yodok gulag Nine year old Kang, his 7 year old sister, his grandmother, his father and his uncle were all sent together to Yodok Only Kang s mother, being the daughter of a successful North Korean spy, was spared this fate Because Yodok is a relatively mild camp, most inmates are allowed to live with their families Kang s book describes the brutal every day life in the gulag Prisoners in the gulag are constantly kept on the verge of starvation Inmates are so famished they eat whatever rodents, reptiles or insects they manage to catch rats, snakes, frogs, salamanders, worms and bugs They often eat the smaller ones raw, swallowing them whole while they are still alive and kicking The prisoners are housed in crowded in primitive dirt huts with walls made of dried mud The huts are not heated, even in winter when temperatures fall below 4 F Prisoners commonly suffer frostbite, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pellagra, and other diseases, with no available medical treatment Cruel beatings and other violent punishments are routine and many prisoners become extremely sick, crippled, or permanently disabled while in the gulag Kang witnessed 15 executions while in the camp Kang s family was release from the gulag ten years later, as abruptly and mysteriously as the unexplained arrest itself, ten years earlier Kang s experiences in the camp taught him to be him highly suspicious of North Korea and it s state censored news, so after his release, Kang began to listening to South Korean and foreign broadcasts This is a huge crime in North Korea that can easily a sentence of a lifetime in a gulag The state security police discovered Kang s secret radio listening sessions After Kang was warned that the secret police were planning to arrest him, he escaped by crossing the Yalu River into China and then into South Korea.Kang has had no contact with any member of his beloved family that he left behind in North Korea In 2011 though, it was learned that Kang s shy little sister, Mi ho, and her young, 11 year old son have been arrested and returned as prisoners to the very brutal Yodok gulag We live in a capitalist world And here if your grandfather supposedly committed a crime and if is proven guilty, he is going to serve time in jail Think of the shame it would bring to your family and relatives But on the other hand, imagine you are living in North Korea Well, you guessed it right Shame is going to be the least of your concerns when someone from your family is alleged of counter revolutionary activities If that happens, you, alongwith all of your relatives are seen as cri We live in a capitalist world And here if your grandfather supposedly committed a crime and if is proven guilty, he is going to serve time in jail Think of the shame it would bring to your family and relatives But on the other hand, imagine you are living in North Korea Well, you guessed it right Shame is going to be the least of your concerns when someone from your family is alleged of counter revolutionary activities If that happens, you, alongwith all of your relatives are seen as criminals of the nation So, off you go to a North Korean gulag That s what happened to Chol Hwan Kang and his family in North Korea But Counter revolutionary Holy shit I can t help but laugh at the farcicalness of the Communist ideology How bloody insecure are you about your ideals Why all the needless state induced censor and fake anti capitalist propaganda They even ran a campaign in North Korea saying Let s Earn Some Dollars For Kim Il Sung which included activities like foraging the woods for herbs and other medicinal plants that might fetch some dollars on international market Ha The bloody irony But enough about my rant Let s talk about this book Sure, it s horrific But in my opinion, Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea and Escape from Camp 14 One Man s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West are better accounts than this one If you are going to read only one book about North Korea, make sure that book be Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea As a trained Korean cryptolinguist, I was aware of some of the ways in which the evil regime of Kim Jong Il represses its citizens, but this book painted a clear and detailed portrait of a people so crushed beneath the boot heel of their gov t as to make any lover of liberty despair.Living in the freedom of the U.S., it s hard to even conceive of a place where the gov t seems to be trying to map out new territory in the abuse of human beings Written from the first person perspective of a man wh As a trained Korean cryptolinguist, I was aware of some of the ways in which the evil regime of Kim Jong Il represses its citizens, but this book painted a clear and detailed portrait of a people so crushed beneath the boot heel of their gov t as to make any lover of liberty despair.Living in the freedom of the U.S., it s hard to even conceive of a place where the gov t seems to be trying to map out new territory in the abuse of human beings Written from the first person perspective of a man whose family started out in what passes for relative comfort and stability, it follows their descent into the bowels of North Korea s gulags, and then escape and flight into China There, they faced the constant threat that the Chinese gov t would find them and send them back to certain execution in North Korea Eventually making their way into South Korea, they faced the antipathy of their erstwhile countrymen, brought up on a steady diet of high quality propoganda sponsored by the North and its agents.A moving and powerful book, this one belongs on your mind for as long as Kim Jong Il sits in luxury while his people eat grass and dirt just to have something in their bellies The rating I am giving this book is for the writing, not the story The writing tends toward overly flowery and even tedious nocturnal visitation for dream, for heaven s sake and I had a very hard time pushing myself through the sentences.I also read this book after reading Who knows how much aid is siphoned off to buttress the armyReading this now was akin to as if I dragged my nearly 30 year old body back to 5th grade and subjected myself to a science class that incorporated creationism in its teachings Outside Kang s testimony, the facts mentioned are often heavily simplified and or twisted and or truncated that they re borderline useless for if one wants to dothan simply be engrossed and or enraged by a testimonial narrative of oppression and resist Who knows how much aid is siphoned off to buttress the armyReading this now was akin to as if I dragged my nearly 30 year old body back to 5th grade and subjected myself to a science class that incorporated creationism in its teachings Outside Kang s testimony, the facts mentioned are often heavily simplified and or twisted and or truncated that they re borderline useless for if one wants to dothan simply be engrossed and or enraged by a testimonial narrative of oppression and resistance If these are Kang Chol Hwan s own words, it s rather ridiculous for someone to shell out 40 for what, by the end, devolved into copy paste reactionary propaganda not to mention the grammar errors If this Pierre Rigoulot the interlocutor, a Korean woman who managed interpretations between the two credited authors, goes unnamed hadthan a hand in Kang stangential dismissive outbursts, it ll be evenridiculous to pay around the equivalent of a full tank of gas for a rant that had the potential to bethan a decent recountal All in all, one of theinflammatory texts that have survived the various purges of my shelves I definitely learned quite a lot, but I m sure this work has been used to silence the legitimate concerns of Korean and other leftists that the work touches on so dismissively Having read Human Acts, The Guest, and various other works ground in the history of Korea, South as well as North, I find it rather difficult, if not impossible, to not think otherwise.I had my doubts going into this work simply because of how much I have learned about the bigger picture of certain highly maligned, leastwise in contemporary times, sections of the world, most recently thanks to Mishra s From the Ruins of Empire Simply put, white people in the US who read this usually have a very specific goal in mind, as what history is used in context only gets away with being presented as such by this being a memoir by a verified former North Korean survivor of the work reeducation camps I don t doubt Kang s testimony regarding his time in North Korea, but considering how his doing well in South Korea was not actually ensured at all by any form of capitalism, it s rather ridiculous how much he moves away from his direct observations in order to glorify theostentatious aspects of a system of government where everything is for sale This continues to the point that I shudder to think of what kind of impact reading this would have had on me way back when I first added it, as what use I got out of it probably shows up in other works in far less sensationalized terms that doesn t give the idea that the US blesses anything it invades and brainwashes and destroys The British in India and China was the bogeyman that drew Japan into Korea and subsequently created the terror that drove the Koreans to any promise of humanity, and back then, the pretensions of capitalism weren t quite so solidified by the failures of various communistic governments in the wake of US interference I really wouldn t recommend this work to anyone with any degree of knowledge of North Korea An introduction to the subject through a work like this will require a great deal of critical post destabilization later on if a reader wants to have any semblance of global historical context, while a continuation of building knowledge would result in the sort of exasperation you can observe on my part I suppose this work would be beneficial in the hands of someone who s interesting in researching the issuein depth with the benefit of a multitude of other works Otherwise, the average white denizen of the US is just going to lap this up as evidence that they are indeed the best and vote into power the whole miserable cycle of imperial rack and ruin all over again Not the prettiest picture, but then again, no one comes to this sort of work expecting such, so for my review to have this tone is rather fitting, ironically I just hope people realize that the horrors of North Korea are never going to be solved by ignoring the horrors of its white saviors, cause I m sure, once North Korea s torn down, France or Britain or the US or whomever will be watching and waiting to gauge how the winds are blowing and when it s safe to move right back in Here is the dilemma one always faces when trying to help a population that has fallen victim to famine causing political and economic systems aiding the population also means maintaining the regime.