Rediscovering Freedom in North Korea

July 14th, 2013

Independence Writing ContestNorth Korea

North Korea and freedom. Do they belong in the same sentence? One would think not. Yet, the time I spent there could not have better illuminated what independence and freedom truly mean. In 2008 I had the good fortune to spend 48 hours in Pyongyang performing with the New York Philharmonic. As an American traveling … Continued

The final day of the trip we head south, to the DMZ, the 2.5-mile-wide swath near the 38th parallel that separates North and South Korea, a border so tense it could squeeze the breath out of stones. The paved road is wide and flat, seeming to stretch the length of the world. It is big … Continued

The next day is triumphal, the morning enormous as the sky. We visit the Revolutionary Regional Museum, fronted by ectype Siberian tigers, which still roam these mountains, and are traditional symbols of a unified Korea. Inside, the displays celebrate the North Korean victories over Japan and America, including a video of such shown on Toshiba … Continued

(Note: this piece does not explore or comment upon any political or ideological aspects of North Korea, nor does it pass any judgments or make critiques…there are many books and articles that do that…but rather this is merely an account of travel through a remarkable and little-known land as a guest of the state.) It’s … Continued