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North Korean guard looking south
North Korean guard looking south
Reymer Kluver

SEOUL - The distance between the North Korean border town of Hyesan and South Korea’s capital Seoul is 440 kilometers (273 mi) as the crow flies. It took Park Kun-ha five years to complete the journey.

His way turned out not only to be a lot longer but tortuous, taking him through the jungle of large Chinese cities, Southeast Asian rain forests, labor camps, and even prison. It was a modern odyssey during which he became the victim of crime and a thief himself, as well as rag collector, beggar, harvest hand and tile carrier. He made it to his destination in the end – only to discover that he wasn’t really welcome.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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