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Articles tagged "Defectors"

From the Archives: Exiles

This month’s North Korean defectors join the numerous WWB contributors writing in exile. Most of April's Iraqi writers, many of November's banned Chinese writers, virtually all of our July and August 2011 Arab Spring authors, and many others write from countries not their own. Some are political refugees, expelled from their countries, often after brutal prison terms; others emigrated voluntarily, if not happily, fleeing starvation, oppression, poverty, and political and...

Introduction

Two days ago, I stood at the DMZ with one of the authors in this issue, Jang Jin-sung. We looked across toward North Korea together from a guardpost on the South Korean side. Only a barbed wire fence below separated him from home. A flock of birds flew over us in an arrow formation, pointing north; but neither he, nor those he loves on the other side, can cross that border. North Korea is enclosed by borders. In material terms, North Korea is a large holding camp, as most Koreans living...

I Want to Call Her Mother Again

My mother’s last words to us as we stood in the middle of the empty potato field, her voice carrying above the razor-sharp wind that seemed to carve away at our flesh, still ring in my ears. “You’re on your own now. I don’t have the strength to go any farther with you two.” Despite the howling wind that ripped and tore at my body, I felt no pain. Even when my frostbitten toes began to rot and ooze with pus, it did not hurt. Nothing could have hurt more than...

A Blackened Land

So many miracles have happened to me in the last few months. I left behind my beloved homeland where I was born and raised and made my way through hell, just under the nose of the grim reaper. Today, I enter through the gates of heaven. The Republic of Korea! This is heaven. When the gates of this paradise open wide—a heaven once glimpsed only in fairy tales—that beautiful world I so ardently longed for will spread out before me. I will no longer be forced to struggle against...
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