Pride is an amazing thing.
I remember an old Irish aunt of mine who had gotten so sick that she had to go to the hospital. But she never phoned anyone in the family. Alone all her life, single all her life, she did everything on her own all her life. Proud. Stubborn. That was her way.
I remember when my mom asked her some time later why she never called for help, she said, "I just didn't want to be a bother, dear."
My aunt is gone now. But I think of her often when the issue of pride comes up. How stubborn we can be. How stupid we can be. All for not wanting to put someone out, or maybe being figured out... for being all too human, all too fragile and all too needy.
I guess what's got me remembering my Irish aunt is this North Korean incident last week.
It’s hard to know the facts here. The country is still too proud, or stupid, or both to say.
This much we do know. Hundreds were killed or injured in what by all accounts was a horrific train collision.
We don't know what caused it, or the real casualty count from it. We do know that it was so bad that North Korea even now is reeling from it.
But the country's so stubborn, so thick and so vehement that it continues to turn its back on those who want to help.
South Korea says it will send men, money and equipment. North Korea says, no, no and no.
The U.S. promises chemical specialists to monitor dangers in the area. North Korea says stay away from the area.
Russia offers aid. North Korea offers a decline.
Even friendly neighbor China gives food and supplies. North Korea will only accept them at the border.
Pride is a funny thing. In my aunt's case, it hurt her. In North Korea's case, it hurts the whole country.
Only in a closed society can it look at scores of helping hands and offer only a finger.
It's a pity the long-suffering people there can see neither the helping hands, or the terse, jutted finger, shooing that help away.
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