Bounty versus Scarcity. . .

. . . in this case, I am not referring to money, but food. Basic, necessary, life-sustaining food.

Today, on my favorite website to pass the time at, I saw a photo slide show, one of which is the inspiration for this post. It seems that someone traveling with an group of sumo wrestlers managed to take pictures while on an “honored guest” tour of North Korea (just typing that sent tiny little wanna-be shivers heading for my skin). He was able to either post the photos while in the country, or to post them after, but either way, there were 13 images of North Korea as they want their most treasured visitors to see it.

This is an image from inside a grocery store. Notice how, at most, things are stacked only about three deep? This helps visually “bulk up” the appearance of the wares on the shelves, in my experience. And most people don’t look past the first few items of a group, anyway. At first, nothing struck me as really odd about this picture. I mean sure, there are obvious differences between this display and one in an average urban grocery store here in the U.S. The individual packages are not crammed in, two or three high, until the shelf cannot possibly hold any more, with a nearly identical shelf of goods above it.

No. These goods are quite obviously separate and distinct components of a meal. The top holds curry mix, which is basically a chunky, spicy gravy, for those of you who don’t know. It can be read or green, vegetarian or not, but I recognize the packaging and believe it is boxes of golden curry, a dish I’ve yet to actually try.

The next shelf is home to 1 kilogram bags of what is likely rice or milled grain.

The bottom appears to be bags of dried meat or dried vegetables. I cannot see a weight, nor read the language, but these are fairly educated guesses based on close examination of the photo.

So, we have one barely (according to urban Western standards) stocked display case with curry mix, rice or grain, and veggies or meat.

In a grocery store.

Whose shelves in the back ground are just shy of empty.

And this is their version of bragging.

I just spent lunch in the cafe at Whole Foods.

See much disparity here, ’cause I sure do.

I cannot wait until global social mores can be agreed upon and general human dignity and empathy rules the day instead of greed, power struggles, and corruption. I shudder to think of how many innocents struggle the world over because of heinous decisions made by those who have no business making decisions in the first place. I firmly believe that education is a key tool for the betterment of humanity, but as I have no idea what is taught in North Korea, I have no idea if even that will help. I would love for the people to call upon the humanity of their leaders, but that doesn’t seem to possible. Are they truly inept and cruel, or are they just holding on to a sinking ship? I just don’t know. But I do know I feel a wee bit guilty for all the food I currently have in my house and I do not like that feeling. 😦

Categories: education, humanities | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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