The Most Heavily Militarized Border in the World

DMZ

Living in a big city, it’s like anywhere else, you get caught up in the hustle and bustle and focus on the daily routine of your own life.  Living in a place like Seoul makes it easy to forget the reality of living in Korea.  Korea is still a divided nation at war and Seoul is only about one hour away from a nation without food, without Internet, without television, but heavily armed with nuclear weapons.  North Korea, the only communist nation left in this world, only a matter of tens of kilometers away from me, still exists and the world remains in fear of this small and weak country because of it’s leader and strength in nuclear power.  This weekend I had a chance to visit the border that separates the two Koreas and I was able to have a snapshot look into North Korea.  I saw many areas of the DMZ including the 3rd North Korean infiltration tunnel, the Imjingak Freedom Bridge (connecting South Korea to the DMZ), the Dora Observatory (looking into North Korea), Dorasan Station, the Bridge of No Return, and the Joint Security Area, which is guarded by both North and South Korean soldiers. Unfortunately we will never have a true picture of the real North Korea because what is available to us is in the form of propaganda villages and a false pretense of happiness displayed by the North Korean people living in Pyeongyang. You are automatically filled with fear from what has been taught in the US schools about North Korea.  But I was mostly filled with sadness for the soldiers.  They are at most 16 or 17 years old, have no notion of the outside world, come from a malnourished and impoverished childhood, and are brainwashed into thinking they are living the best life available to them.  They highest aspiration for them is to be in the military service.  They will never be able to experience the little things in life that bring us happiness like watching a funny movie or going to a bar at night with friends.  My visit to the DMZ gave me a refreshed look at my own life and a renewed appreciation for the freedom I have.

Art piece that shows the divide between the North and South

Last train station before heading toward the North

JSA (Joint Security Area)

North Korean Property

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