Be thankful for our families ...

Emma Beattie
Emma Beattie

North Korea. Bit of a touchy subject, and not one you’d choose to write about on a week’s work experience.

Recently, however, the strict regime was almost tossed aside in place of an act of kindness and, while a little upsetting, it was said to be a beautiful experience for all those involved.

Around 80 South Koreans were given the chance to cross the most heavily guarded border in the world to meet long-lost family. Seeing elderly women clasping photos of their younger selves in case their relative didn’t recognise them instantly silenced complaints I too often make about having to visit a friend or a relative just because I don’t want to put in the effort.

Two men in suits clung to each other, wiping their tears as cameras flashed not far from where they stood. Not surprisingly, the visits were bittersweet.

None of them will get the chance to reconnect again, whether it be in person, video chats or even monitored letters. And these were the lucky few.

To think that so many applied for the opportunity to see family and friends lost during three years of war and 60 years of brutal hate is frightening. I am guilty of not making enough time for my family. While, for now, that can maybe be put down to ‘teenage moods’, every time we hear news of North Korea, I, and many others, tend to forget that these are real people living in the midst of these events. They are not just names in newspapers that my uncultured self probably can’t pronounce, nor do I really have the ability to put myself in their shoes.

Actually, I might just go visit that friend I haven’t seen for a few days...

nEmma Beattie is an S4 pupil at Falkirk High School.