The last thing I did before I left Korea a couple of weeks ago was to ride the new DMZ Train, a quirkily decorated train that transports visitors from Seoul north to the DMZ, or the Demilitarized Zone that separates the democratic south from the communist dictatorship of the north. That was an interesting experience in itself, passing through Dorasan Station, where the heavily staffed and military guarded terminal awaits the daily smattering of tourists, but in reality waits patiently for a time in the future where Koreans from both the north and south can pass freely around a unified nation.
However unlikely that seems right now, with the political status currently declaring the two nations as officially in a state of war, that is what Dorasan Station was built for. In a move by the south’s Government, which smacks to me of international propaganda, Dorasan Station appears to be little more than just a political statement by a nation wanting to be seen to be doing the right thing.
But in some quarters there remains hope, and on visiting the Dorasan Peace Park that sits adjacent to the station, the message is clear. On two sides of a long and tiled wall within the park grounds, hundreds of decorated tiles demonstrate the message that, at least in the minds of many of South Korea’s current student generation, a hope of reunification is alive. Below are some of the tiles.
Having lived in South Korea myself for a few years, and having spoken to many Korean friends and students about reunification, it seems in my opinion that despite the constant government declarations that they are committed to the peace process, in reality it’s about as likely as Kim Jong Eun’s claims of having a pet unicorn being proven.
It is a very sad plight faced by the innocent victims of the north’s despotic and murderous regime, but while the south’s students keep that hope alive, and brilliant organizations like L.I.N.K, or Liberty in North Korea continue their great work at raising awareness, then my hope remains too.