According to the Traditional Korean Calendar, today is actually the 9th month, and the 9th day, when the chrysanthemums are in full-bloom. Just like 추석 (秋夕/Chuseok), people visit the graves of their ancestors, and offer these chrysanthemums. This is a chance for the family to get together.
And just like my other post today, I’m gonna’ rain in on everybody’s party. This is a travesty. It’s great these families, after being divided for so long can meet up, but the fact that the political situation doesn’t allow them to regularly meet each other? That’s ridiculous, and both governments should really be ashamed. South Korea right-wingers hate engagement of any sort, and think that driving the North to extinction is the only way unify. Yeah, everybody’s been wishing for that for the past 60 years, and they’re still here.
If regular travel were to be encouraged, yes, money would eventually end up in the coffers of officials, but at large, North Korea knows it can’t “look bad” in front of their Southern counterparts, and would be forced to make things better for the local inhabitants as well. Granted, this is assuming tourism was still limited to specific areas, but rather than having the government determine tourist zones, this would be completely decided by the market (i.e. tourists heading to various places in North Korea), and just like the 장마당s (North Korean market places) sprouted about when the distribution system essentially ended, and the government couldn’t afford to give its people basic necessities. However, what stands in the place of solutions out of the box seems to be antiquated thinking on both sides, and vested interests. Oh, and those ridiculous 국가보안법 (國家保安法/National Security Laws)…
I guess we can just keep these families separated to the day they die. They can continue to hope for a dethawing in relations between the two nations, so that they can eventually sign up to be put on a wait list, and then expect a call from the government to see if their approved to see their family that they haven’t seen in many years.