black businessman

Three Books About North Korea

I don’t know why, but I’ve recently gone through a phase of fascination with North Korea, possible the world’s most mysterious country. This fascination led me to download and devour, in the space of 5 days, three full books written by North Korean defectors who work to expose, through their stories, the reality of life under the Kim dynasty. 

I thought I’d do a brief write-up/review of these three books here, for anyone who might also be interested in learning more about life in the Hermit Kingdom. 

I began with Escape From Camp 14, a book that my best friend’s husband recommended to me years ago but which I’d never gotten around to reading. Of the three books I read, this was, by far, the most horrifying and the most interesting. I’m going to spend a little more time discussing it than I normally do in these reviews. 

Unlike any other North Korean defector, Shin was born into a political prison as an irredeemable, a person who is guilty from birth for the crimes of his or her blood relatives. He and his peers are the product of engineered, loveless marriages between two prisoners; the sole reason for his existence is to provide backbreaking labor in the gulag for the duration of a short, miserable life. There is no real school. There is no healthcare. There is barely any food. Families do not love each other. Torture and executions feature predominantly in the background of life. It is, in short, so horrendous as to be unbelievable. 

And, as it turns out, there is a reason for that. Shin’s story has been revealed to be, in part, false, created by a mind that was so deranged that it could not separate fact from fiction. In the latest editions, the author recognizes and explains this in as full a manner as he can. There is no doubt that Shin was tortured and lived much of his life in the manner described, but his narrative is unreliable. (I read the introduction before the book, but even if I hadn’t, the circumstances surrounding Shin’s inspiration to escape and the escape itself would have rung somewhat false.) While some parts have been explicitly clarified, chances are, there are other elements of Shin’s story that are untrue. It is wise to read the book with this knowledge in mind. 

It’s because of the element of unreliability that I found this book so fascinating. I cannot even wrap my head around how the brain of someone who was raised in the conditions in which he was raised would operate. No amount of empathy on my part would allow me to truly see the world as he sees it, to process events and relationships in the way he processes them. His is a brain warped by unimaginable isolation and torture. Even if many of the details of his story are technically false, experts have concluded that enough is true that Shin’s story provides a fascinating window into the suffering of North Korea’s lowliest class, a wretched group of human beings subjected to a short and brutish life. 

I highly recommend this book, but it’s not for the faint of heart. I also recommend reading the book as follows: skip the introduction in which the author clarifies the inaccuracies Shin has admitted to him, and read the book with the understanding that some parts are false. Then read the introduction to learn what has been uncovered about his story since the book’s initial publication, and what psychologists and North Korea experts have to say on the topic. Whatever you judge the level of fact or fiction to be in the narrative, Escape From Camp 14 is a sobering read that will stay with you for awhile. 

The Aquariums of Pyongyang is one of the first books based around the true story of a North Korean defector, Kang Chol-Hwan. Hwan lived a relatively easy life (by North Korean standards) in Pyongyang with his parents and grandparents, until he was 9 years old. His family was put into a gulag called Yodok because his grandfather was outspoken about his objections to the government. 

Perhaps the most fascinating part of this story isn’t the description of the gulag, which is, of course, horrifying, but the story of Hwan’s grandmother and her fervent dedication to socialism. Her beliefs led her to bring her whole family from a wealthy and comfortable life in Japan to Pyongyang at the behest of the budding Kim dynasty. For years the cognitive dissonance tore her apart; how could the ideology in which she invested so much of her energy and herself yield such an oppressive state? In the end, she spent ten long years in a gulag, a victim of the very system around which she’d built her identity. I cannot think of anything sadder than this. 

While not as stomach-churning as Shin’s story, this story provides some insight into life in North Korean before the fall of the Soviet Union led to an economic collapse and a terrible famine in the 1990s, and of course, shows yet again the cruelty of the North Korean gulag. 

Yeonmi Park is a well-known activist working to expose the cruelty of the Kim regime to a world that seems to have forgotten the suffering they inflict on their people. She had previously shared her story many times before In Order to Live was released as a final, complete version of her escape from North Korea through China. 

Park’s account differs from the previous two in that the lion’s share of her story centers around her and her mother’s harrowing escape through China where they are trafficked and abused. Her age and childhood as the daughter of a fairly successful North Korean black market businessman provides illustration of another facet of North Korean daily life, one that is profoundly different from Shin’s or Hwan’s, but that centers around the same themes: the misery of surveillance, constant food shortages, and lack of agency. 

I have heard that parts of Park’s story, like Shin’s, are inconsistent and perhaps not wholly factual. Indeed, parts of the book stuck out to me as sanitized, particularly the circumstances that facilitated her escape to South Korea from China. But, you know… I don’t care. Trauma victim’s don’t always have stories that stay consistent or make sense, and Park is still incredibly brave for offering her story to the public to be consumed and criticized. 

More than the two previous reads, Park offers insightful commentary on the struggles that North Koreans face even when the make it to South Korea, the promised land where they gain citizenship and a free life. The scars of life in North Korea will never truly fade for those who escape, and the lack of obvious solutions is saddening, but requires acknowledgement. 

There are many other books about life in North Korea, and I’ve added a few to my TBR list. If you have been thinking about reading any defector’s story or other books about North Korea, I highly recommend it. They aren’t easy reads, but important ones for understanding the horrible situation under the Kims even today. 

anonymous asked:

I can imagine Black Hat taking everyone to a retirement home as a meeting spot for a client and told everyone to spread and be on lookout. But Black Hat finds out the client is some 80 year old man who wants to get back on his kids for stealing his insurance money. Black Hat being a businessman(and a good person even though he won't admit it) helps the old man out, get the money back and become good friends with the oldie. He visits as much as he can and at same time try show the others (1/2)

Awww!

I’d like to propose that it’s not the good deed that convinces Black Hat to take the deal, but the intent of revenge this old man has. He’s a crotchety old grouch that wants these entitled little jerks to suffer, and Black Hat loves it.

A black businessman in white Mississippi

Robert K. Wier (1886-1974) kept track of his membership dues in this copy of the constitution and bylaws of the Journeymen Barbers’ International Union. Wier’s barbershop was the first African American-owned business on Main Street in Starkville, Mississippi (home of Mississippi State).

This undated photograph shows Wier’s barbershop in Starkville.

In 1977, Wier’s wife, educator and community leader Sadye Hunter Wier, worked with historian John Marszalek to publish A Black Businessman in White Mississippi, a book about her husband’s life.

asexual kaz brekker
  • ace kaz who doesn’t know if his asexuality was there from birth or if it is a product of his trauma
  • ace kaz who embraces it all the same
  • ace kaz who is glad of his asexuality because it helps him cope with his extreme touch aversion
  • ace kaz who might be the only boy in ketterdam who can walk through the pleasure districts of the barrel purely on business terms and not care a jot for the the things that go on around him
  • ace kaz who subtly flaunts his asexuality with accents of purple on his usual black & white & grey businessman ensemble (a tie, a handkerchief, polished purple buttons, pURPLE GLOVES??? I’M LIVING) its no coincidence that purple is the color of both asexuality and kruge
  • ace kaz who turns his asexuality, like everything else about him, into a weapon - the guiles that other men fall for have no effect on him
  • ace kaz who finds security in his relationship with inej knowing that she will never ask of him what he cannot give
  • ace kaz who loves inej with unbridled passion; living proof that an asexual relationship is in no way “lesser” to other relationships
  • ace kaz who never loses his virginity  a n d   t h a t ’ s   o k
  • ace kaz
north carolina piedmont gothic
  • You rarely worry about the dead rising from the graves; the clay is too tough for even the living to penetrate. But as you walk in the graveyard, you hear a scream and banging from below, and realize: that’s not the scream of someone who’s dead
  • You go to uptown Charlotte one afternoon and find that every person there is the exact same businessman: black suit, receding hairline, and muttering something under his breath that is impossible to hear through the static
  • Lake Norman is beautiful on a sunny day. But as you sit on the dock you notice something strange and dark in the water, coming to you from the Duke Energy power plant. The dock begins to shake—
  • “Lexington BBQ is the best,” your friend says one afternoon, offering you some of her homemade BBQ. You smile and thank her, biting into it. Something red rolls down your mouth. You wonder why you didn’t see her neighbors this morning
  • There is a woman who lives down the street, but you can never hear her voice because of the hissing and buzzing noises emerging from her coat, and always leave her presence covered in dozens of mosquito bites
  • There is a church deep in the woods. When you go there, you find that none of the patrons ever blink. You hear the hymns reverberating from the walls of your house days after leaving the service
  • It’s the summer of the cicadas, and they are everywhere. They litter the sidewalks, the streets, your house, your clothes. You feel a little sick, and when you double over, cicadas come spilling forth from inside you
  • It snows a half inch, and people are screaming. They rush to the grocery stores or abandon their cars on the road. The next day, the sky is red, and there is a gentle drizzle of what seems like blood. Everything is calm
I Knew I Shouldn’t (Part 6)

Originally posted by imaginealotofthings

Loki x OC

Warnings: Language


Loki POV

“The tea was a nice touch, Amora.” I commented casually, watching her from across her table as she dabbled with her vials. “Trying out your potion on Dreyna and I.”

Keep reading

Sneakers

(A/N: written for @inkstay‘s July prompt “how does the cat spend her sixth life?”)


At first, there’s a twitch,

matted fur coming alive,

stretching a long, curved back,

as if mocking the heavens,

“Not yet,” it seems to say


Five down, four more to go,

a happy middle

with a nice clean slate


Her tail curls into a question mark;

she wonders what to do next

as she saunters out of the alley,

just another street cat,

homeless and at home all at once

She’s a blur on the city streets,

weaving between shoes:

polished black means businessman,

stilettos mean fashionista,

but sneakers are the most interesting.

If they’re small, it’s a child,

bar that, it could be anyone:

student, wait staff, tourist,

jogger, criminal, what have you.

All she had to do was dream up a story

as she filed along like the rest of them


The scent of fresh bread

catches her attention and

she makes a detour down another alley

where the backdoor to a bakery sits.

She waits for the door to open,

Patiently cleaning herself

so as to prompt ample charity


The door swings open and reveals

a pair of pastel pink sneakers

with baby blue laces and

stickers on sides.

“Who are you?” the sneakers ask;

she gives a short meow,

staring with wide green eyes


“Nice to meet you,” sneakers says,

crouching down with a discarded

loaf of bread, which is then torn

into small and manageable bits

for her to eat her fill of.

She purrs as she eats,

sneakers watching her

with a lopsided grin

until someone from within calls out


Sneakers reaches out to her,

says “it’s okay” when she draws back,

pets her head and neck when she returns

before inevitably retreating,

the door closing solidly behind

She pauses her meal to watch,

surprised by the first moment of

pure charity from an adult

in all of her six lives.

When she finishes, she sits

and waits for pink sneakers to return,

ignoring the tempting rats as they dart by


It is dark when pink sneakers comes back,

another loaf of bread in her hand.

She lets out a soft meow

and sneakers smiles, feeds her,

then bids adieu


She follows sneakers,

still purring,

a new mixture of bliss and hope

welling up from within.

Sneakers notices the tail,

smiles, and asks

“Do you want to come home with me?”

She can only meow,

but sneakers understands.

“This way,” sneakers says.


They weave through the city street,

seemingly invisible to the masses,

darting happily along.

She stops at the crosswalk,

licking her paws until it’s safe,

when sneakers keeps walking.

A car speeds forward,

sneakers was going to get hit unless—

She springs forward,

lets a loud meow sound,

just enough to get sneakers’ attention,

just enough to make sneakers run,

but not enough for her to—


The car strikes,

The girl in pink sneakers watches,

petrified at the other end of the crosswalk,

staring at the black cat

with matted fur

where it lay motionless,

dead


Hours pass before

a twitch,

matted fur coming alive,

stretching a long, curved back,

peeking around nervously

only to see an abandoned pair of sneakers

sitting in the corner while

their owner sat on the couch,

tears on her cheeks


The black cat gives a short meow

and the girl jumps a little

before rushing over to where

the once lifeless cat lay


“You’re alive?”

She meows.

A moment passes

then the girl scoops her up

and holds her close


It was the first time

she had woken up

with someone still there


She hoped that her seventh life

would be her longest

Welp, I’ve finally done some faceclaim picking so here, have some family info!

Lark (Frankie’s little brother)
Age: 19-20
Occupation: Bandit
Status: missing
FC: Jai Courtney, thanks to Hannah for helping <3

Eunice (Frankie’s mother)
Age: 46
Occupation: Businesswoman, black market master, thief, dealer, licenceless surgeon
Status: presumably dead
FC: Helena Bonham-Carter

Saul (Frankie’s father)
Age: 49
Occupation: Businessman, black market master, thief, dealer, forger
Status: presumably dead
FC: Steve Buscemi

America’s first Black billion dollar businessman, Reginald Lewis, African American, his wife, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Filipina, and their family. Reginald was the richest African American in the US in the 1980s, building a billion dollar multinational company in Beatrice International - a global food, beverage and grocery store conglomerate. Even today, only a very small number of African Americans have ever owned a billion dollar business - there are only 4 today. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 50 from brain cancer in 1993. Loida, took over as CEO of the billion dollar company after his death and she successfully ran the company for six years before selling it. Some call Reginald’s story the greatest untold rags to riches story in America and a movie starring Jamie Foxx as Reginald has been floated for some time. This would be a great story to see on the big screen. Much honor, respect, and love to Reginald, Loida, and their family!