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When I think about North Korea, what first comes to my mind is a mist over the calm and majestic surface of the Taedong River near Pyongyang. Next I always recall two lovers, locked in a tender and almost desperate embrace, sitting side by side on the shore. I saw them every day, while taking brisk walks at dawn. Now I don't know for sure whether they were real or just a product of my fantasy; a sad and gentle reminder of all that has been already lost, as well as of all that should have happened but never really materialized.
Currently, as Donald Trump's "armada" is speeding towards China and DPRK, I keep recalling those moments: the cliff, the lovers and a lone fisherman with his long rod at the other side of the river. Everything in my memory connected to those dawns is now motionless, serene.
Sometimes I wonder whether words still have the power they once used to have. In the past, a beautiful poem, a confession, or a declaration of love, were capable of changing one's entire life, and sometimes even the entire destiny of a nation. But is this still the case, in this time and age? As a writer I often feel futility, even despair. Still, as an internationalist, I refuse to succumb to pessimism, and I try to use words as my weapons, again and again.
I have already said a lot about North Korea. I have shown images. I have spoken about the unimaginable pain this country has had to endure. I have spoken broadly about its tremendous gesture - of helping to liberate and then to educate so many parts of the world, including the enormous and devastated continent of Africa.
Still the propaganda against the people of DPRK rules.
Let me try again; let me try again and again and again:
North Korea is a beautiful country, inhabited by human beings, with blood circulating through their veins. Despite what you are directly and indirectly told, these people feel pain and they are capable of experiencing great joy. Like others, they often dream, fall in love, and suffer when being insulted or betrayed or abandoned. They laugh and cry, they hold hands, get angry, even desperate. They have great hopes for a better life and they work very hard trying to build their future.