Saying Goodbye to Otto Warmbier

Before I say anything else, allow me to state the obvious. Otto Warmbier did not deserve to die as the result of his incorceration in North Korea. That is obvious.

So how did it happen? From the record so far, it appears that Warmbier removed something from his hotel room to return it to the US as a souvenir. That is strictly forbidden in North Korea, and Warmbier was arrested at the airport where the artifact was discovered.

After that, Warmbier was incarcerated for 17 months. We have no idea what happened during that time. But we can make a conjecture based on what we know now. The young man, who had been healthy before his trip,  died very shortly thereafter being let go. In other words, he was brutalized and died from the trauma.

I am reminded of a stroy written by Somerset Maugham years ago called “Christmas Holiday”.  It is a good read. In this story, Maugham brings out a clash of mindsets — one from a comfortable and trusting setting and the other from a not so comfortable and not trusting one. Guess what happens? I call it a reality sandwich.

Young Otto had the false impression that he would be treated differently because he was American. Sadly, he did not understand that his being American would make his detention all the more dangerous.  He did not understand that reality is more complex and dangerous outside of the protection of home.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s