Philippe Gigantés on Korean fighting cocks

In Korea, cocks are allowed to fight till they kill one another, and to egg them on to greater excitement red pepper is rubbed into their eyes. Newly born calves are allowed to spend the night in the open at 70 degrees below zero. Many die. The puppy which grows as the children’s pet is put in a sack and beaten to death slowly so that the meat will be tenderer for eating. Death and pain are such commonplace things that in the mountains of North Korea, they do not shock the inhabitants of that rugged country. That is why, perhaps, with the cold at its highest, their miserable hovel burned out by some strange machine for reasons they do not understand, they sit outside in the road and hardly moan. What has happened to them is not really remarkable. It is just another installment of pain and death. These things have to be, and in the summer there will be more puppies, more calves, more babies, and it will be possible to dig the now frozen earth to get clay for the new mud hut. It’s hard to defeat them, because they are already defeated, they have nothing left to lose.

Philippe Gigantés, I Was a Captive In Korea (1953)

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