KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cure for Depression

Well, hell's bells! We Democrats have the House of Representatives and Senate now too!

I just may be able to stop taking my antidepressant—or at least get my dosage lowered!


Anonymous said...

I found you blog while looking for info on PeaPod. I noticed your comments regarding the war, and your banner saying "stay out of North Korea". I respect your opinions, but have to wonder when I see the North Korea banner - how much do you know about the country? About the conditions the North Koreans live under? Have you ever read about the starvation, the murders, the life they live and why? I lived in South Korea for a year, and visited the DMZ - I saw two North Korean soldiers, around my age at the time - 20 or so, maybe younger - beaten bloody by their supervisor for waving at us and smiling. I'm still not sure it wasn't a set-up intended to intimidate us, but if it was it had the opposite effect: I feel nothing but pity for those men, and fury at their situation. They're literally starving to death as a country because their leader is a controll freak. He's fat, his people boil grass and hunt bugs for food. It's nauseating to me to think about the things he does to his own people.
I understand that some people feel that nations must respect other nation's sovereingty, but to make this non-interference choice responsably you must also understand the consequences of leaving them alone because we don't have the right to invade: they will starve and die. They are starving and dying right now. But it's not on the news because the news can't get into that country.

Of corse that might be their choice as a nation. But they have no contact with the outside world, so you'll never know. And when I say "no contact" I mean it: they do not have phone contact, internet, newspapers, or travel. They cannot leave and visitors cannot go in. They are, and have been for some time, completely- utterly- isolated. They know nothing of the outside world except what their leader tells them.

There are, of course, exceptions - military and political figures have some outside contact, and the occasional foreigener is brought in and kept in a hotel to perform some task, and then kicked back out - but on the whole, nothing.

So - I respect your opinion, as I hope you respect mine. But you seem like an intelligent, compassionate person - so I wonder upon what information you base your decision, because the information I base mine upon gives me nightmares.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thank you, Anon, for your thoughtful and respectful comments.

Yes, I understand that Kim Jong-il is a control freak and quite possibly mentally ill, or at least very, very odd, and that he treats his people poorly. But invading a country because we don't like its leader isn't the best way to help its people. I believe war is morally wrong, but beyond that, civilians usually take the brunt of war—far more of them die than do their leaders. This is exactly what has happened in Iraq, though the United States really invaded that nation for reasons having to do with oil, business, money, and revenging Bush 41.

The best things that the United States can do are to stop rattling sabers and start talking, and then provide aid in the form of food, clothing, and forums for education. People whose physical and educational needs are taken care of can much better take care of themselves and decide the fate of their leaders.

Anonymous said...

Madam Katherine,

Your argument is kind, and idealistic. I'm afraid that all too often the term idealistic is used to mean unrealistic; I'm not trying to use it in that sense, although I think the logistics of such an endeavor would be difficult at best.
That said - I do have to doubt that it would work in practice. To essentially support through food aid an entire country which is currently incapable of providing food for itself, while it's leader cheerfully redirects the distribution of food to his military and away from the civilians? And although your desire to educate is admirable, we can't provide forums for education to North Korea - we have no access, they already have their own forums for education. There they learn how evil the west is, and how we want to take over their country - never mind that most Americans haven't the foggiest how to locate North Korea on a map. They learn about their great leader, and how wonderful he is, and how he protects them from the nasty Americans. You should read some of the reports from people who have managed a visit to the country, get a clearer picture of the situation.
You want to give them education, but first - first you would have to fight their governemnt for the rights of the North Korean people to have access to information outside their narrow allotment.
Do you see the catch-22?


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Yes, Anon, but any country whom Bush (or any other U.S. president) calls part of the "axis of evil" will of course think America is evil. Establishing good inter-country relationships requires diplomacy, tact, and willingness to hang in for the long haul. On both small and large scales, one on one or nation to nation, it's always easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. And that's something Braggadocio Bush doesn't understand.

Anonymous said...


Do you honestly think that tact and good diplomacy would do anything useful with regards to North Korea? That it was the recent Bush's comments that caused N. Korea to act as they do, and feel about America as they do; that if we just got someone nicer and friendlier in office, someone they'd like better, their attitude towards the U. S. would change?

They say that people see the world as they are - you seem to see the world as a polite and kind place, a reasonable place. You are likely a kind and reasonable person; the sort of person more people ought to be. I'd guess that your life has been reasonable as well, and that you don't have much experience with people who behave as the leader of N. Korea behaves.

I understand that your experience with the world has taught you certain things, and that I'm unlikely to change your mind. But you have to understand that the average North Korean's life is vastly different from yours, and the things they have been taught bear no relation to the things you have been taught. I really, really hope you'll do some research on the subject; read some acounts of visitors to North Korea, and people who have escaped that regime.


It might not change your opinion - but it will certainly enlighten you as to the problems you'd encounter with the tactics you'd like to employ with that country.


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