Next post: Christ stopped at Eboli

Next post: Christ stopped at Eboli

Hey guys!

I know I’m a silent one and it must be so annoying that I don’t post that often, which I’ll try to improve (I’ve got some travelling coming up, so I’m going to make it up to you). But before that, I’d like to discuss a book with you.

I have been reading Christ stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi (Cristo si è fermato a Eboli / Christus kwam niet verder dan Eboli) and it has left me heartbroken and shivering. In his book, Levi describes the lives of the people in the region Basilicata, Italy, where he is banned to by the fascist Mussolini-regime. He finds himself in a region of huge poverty, malaria and earthly people. They seem to have passed every ideology which crossed the region; the Greeks, the Romans, the Middle Ages, the fascism… They don’t bother, because no one is trying to improve THEIR situation and in a way, they seem to have accepted their fate.

In his descriptions, Carlo Levi has brought me to another Italy than I knew. After reading his book, Basilicata is certainly on the to visit-list.

I’m using the book in an art assignment in school, and I’ll save the rest of what I want so say about Christ stopped at Eboli until I can post it all together.

(feature image: Aliano, Basilicata, Italy)

XX

Charlotte

Over de grens (Dear Leader) – Jang Jin-sung || Books

Over de grens (Dear Leader) – Jang Jin-sung || Books

Hi everyone!

Over the past few weeks, reading works have been rather sloppy and I set the goal: reading at least one book per month. When I used to be younger, I’d easily accomplish that goal but now it seems to be a lot more difficult.

I read Dear Leader in Dutch and the book left a huge impression on me, as it gives a look over the high walls of North-Korea, perhaps the most enclosed country in the world.

Jang jin sung 3

Jang Jin-sung, a poet close to Kim Chong-il, the leader in that time.  As a poet, his job is to fake South Korean poetry to brainwash the population of North Korea and to actually make them believe that the whole world adores the NK system. But bit by bit he sees through the rough philosophy of NK and tells us this about ‘the great leader’, a sentence who stuck in my head from the minute I had read it:

“Startled I realized that the tears I had seen during the encounter were not the tears of a human; they were the tears of someone who was desperate on becoming a human.” – Jang Jin-sung on Kim Chong-il

Lending out South Korean literature is prohibited or actually impossible for non-Party members and there even are strict rules for members. Jang Jin-sung takes a magazine home, which is forbidden. He gives the magazine to a friend, Yongmin, who loses the magazine along with some other prohibited writings of Jang Jin-sung. This is considered a serious crime – all ‘publications’ should pass the Party control before being published or spread – and the two are forced to run off, which is not easy in North Korea, as the citizens are almost controlled by every move they make. They choose to cross the Tumen river, the Northern border, to get to China and via China to South Korea. They astonishingly make it across the river, but the euphoria is soon to be over, as they clash with the fact that the Chinese are often not very welcoming and scared to house a NK refugee, even for a short period of time. The two friends are forced to rely on strangers, who often do not have good intentions. They live on vain hope – almost literally.

Jang Jin-sungJang Jin sung 2

This book got me, certainly with huge migrations going on today (think of the Middle East) and also because the reserve of North Korea fascinates me. I cannot believe how a country can hold it’s own people so strict on a leash while those very own people are starving and have hardly any chances in life.

I surely recommend this book to people wanting to know more about life in North Korea and wanting to know what it’s like to leave everything you know for a really long shot chance.

XX,

Charlotte