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When it comes to traveling around the world, there are some countries that seem to end up on most people’s lists. Whether it’s the culture or the sights, maybe the history or people, that draw us to certain places, we want to believe the best about these countries we’ve dreamed of seeing in person.

Some (probably all) countries have their good and bad sides, though, and here are 14 not-so-happy facts about countries that have fairly good reputations overall.

14. Not actually fun facts.

South Korea has some fun stuff going around:

spy cam / hidden camera epidemic

government encourages women to marry and give birth but won’t do anything to change harsh working hours, conditions and requirements, plus little benefit to actually raise families; pregnancy out of wedlock is considered shameful

celebrities can be shut down if they speak out to extremities or get on someone’s bad side (Ailee comes to mind here)

netizens are oft harsh in judgment of others, especially celebrities and politicians (Tablo of EPIK HIGH comes to mind)

the Korean War and its consequences are darker than what your average history books will tell you; even the “nicer” South Koreans have a darker side regarding destroying of villages suspected of being northern spies or activists, and the like

Presidents in Korea hardly ever go scandal-free

it’s still quite patriarchal here; natives still want sons, military service is of great honor despite being enforced by law, lots of overall power trips

suicide rates skyrocket, mental illness being treated as taboo (although it’s getting addressed a little more nowadays)

authorities, particularly the police, can’t handle a domestic violence dispute; a drunk man with an episode is judged as “being under the influence” and gets a slap on the wrist; a domestic case can be dismissed if one side (either the aggressor or the intimidated victim) tells authorities that it’s not a big deal

in fact, laws and judgment in general are weak here

13. Oh, Ireland.

The Tuam Mother and baby home.

Babies being illegally adopted without their mothers consent. Often the mothers were told the baby died. Often money was exchanged in these adoptions.

Some babies did actually die, It’s estimated up to 800 babies died in this one home. Their remains were found in the septic tank.

Cover ups and shoddy investigations are still on going. Most recently the public were told they were to blame for it for sending their daughters there in the first place.

12. I think this happened in Republican Spain, too.

In Argentina, the right wing government took the babies of pregnant left wing prisoners and adopted them into military families during the Dirty War.

11. Human experimentation. Shudder.

Sweden and the Vipeholms experiments.

“The Vipeholm experiments were a series of human experiments where patients of Vipeholm Hospital for the intellectually disabled in Lund, Sweden, were fed large amounts of sweets to provoke dental caries (1945–1955).The experiments were sponsored both by the sugar industry and the dentist community, in an effort to determine whether carbohydrates affected the formation of cavities.”

They had people with mental disabilities eat very sugary candy too see it’s effects on their dental health. They got like very sticky toffee, encouraged them to really get it all around their teeth and they for sure weren’t allowed to brush their teeth. Just horrible.

10. Officially, anyway.

Spain expelled the Jews in the 1490s. No Jewish children were born in Spain again until the 1960s.

Some Jewish families kept hidden in remote locations, trying to look Christian while practicing Judaism. This lasted for a long time and some communities started practicing a mix of Jewish and Christian doctrine.

Part of my family comes from that background.

9. Slavery wasn’t an American concept.

Netherlands slaved the shit out of Africans. And the Belgium did some shit in Africa that would make Joseph Mengele go: “woah, calm down buddy”

There is a picture of a man being presented with the hands and feet of his daughter because he failed to meet his quota. Probably the darkest picture I have ever seen.

8. If you visit, bring your bug spray.

Mosquitos in brazil can literally kill you from one out of five illness.

7. I guess not all Canadians are nice.

In Canada the police would frequently take native men for “midnight tours” or “starlight drives” where they would drive them miles out of town and kick them out of the car.

This happened in the middle of winter and they would take their coats and often times boots as well before they kicked them out.

6. Is the donkey…ok with it?

In parts of Colombia it’s tradition to have s^xual relations with female donkeys as a way of practicing safe s^x before marriage.

In one episode of The Grand Tour (season 3? idk), the team are in Colombia and Jeremy Clarkson spots a man having s^x with a donkey, and then he interviewed the locals who all enthusiastically explained it was just a thing they did.

I was kind of incredulous when I saw it, because I thought, no way that is real. But then, how in the wide world of fuck would The Grand Tour get away with fabricating such an outrageous fake national custom and not cause an international incident for Amazon.

Turns out it was legit. Fml.

5. A popular horrible idea.

In around 1910 the Australian government decided it was a good idea to steal indigenous children from their mothers and send them to schools to be taught. Some of them never even saw their parents again.

They were called the stolen generation.

And consider that this is an Indigenous community (like many others) that survived through tens of thousands of years of oral tradition, carried from person to person, only to have it wiped out by this policy forever.

How much knowledge was lost through this practise because they couldn’t teach their children? It’s not just the human loss, but the cultural losses that are absolutely horrific.

4. And again.

Canada has an incredible racist history involving taking aboriginal children from their homes and bringing them to residential schools where they were beaten, underfed, and forced never to speak their language. Many of them died.

3. False promises.

During ww1 Poles were drafted by both sides with the promise that upon victory their nation would be restored from the partition that had destroyed it decades earlier.

Hundreds of thousands of Poles killed each other trying to free their homeland.

2. Not K-Pop!

Haven’t seen South Korea mentioned.

This country was a U.S. sanctioned military dictatorship until relatively recently. Government corruption is still a huge problem, to the point that several Presidents have been thrown in jail; most recently in 2017.

Their current prosperous but stagnating economy was built on decades of worker suppression and anti-union political and cultural attitudes that allowed large corporations like Samsung and Hyundai to exploit people and throw them to the wayside. The majority of people living beneath the poverty line are elderly. Most have no pension from their job and barely get a pittance from the government.

Attitudes about work in the culture here lead people to suffer from severe stress which they typically cope with by becoming alcoholics. The leading cause of death among children is suicide, as many are expected to work well over ten hours a day at extracurricular academies and cram schools and do not have any free time.

K-Pop Idols are recruited from about 13 years old to basically go to singer boot camp and receive no other education. Their production companies strictly control their lives, all the way down to their diet, and most have no career options when they’re no longer young and attractive enough to draw people’s attention. Some of these companies also withhold large portions of performer’s earnings and do not hand them over once the contracts are completed.

Aside from that, it’s a great country that everybody should visit!

1. Japan has some sh%t to answer for someday.

Japan is responsible for the deadliest mining disaster in human history, essentially killing over 1,500 Chinese. They took control of an area of northeastern China during 1930-1945; and turned the Chinese living there, basically into slaves.

There was an explosion in the mine; and, to stop the loss of money from the coal burning, they sealed the vents, killing everyone below. Family members tried to save their loved ones, but guards pushed them away and even erected electric fences to stop rescue attempts.

Over the next 10 days, the bodies were recovered and experts determined that nearly all had died from the gases and many could have survived. The Japanese initially reported the death toll at about 30… the number of Japanese that died; almost completely disregarding all of the Chinese lives lost. They did update it eventually, but were more focused on getting the mine back running.

In a separate mining disaster, which is also one of the deadliest; a Japanese company, who owned the Mitsubishi Hojyo mines, truly believed a myth, that if you had oranges in your mouth, you couldn’t be poisoned by carbon monoxide… no, I’m not joking. After an explosion, the tunnels filled with the poisonous gas and the company chucked down hundreds of oranges and sent in rescue teams whose mouths were full of orange slices. The fire kept spreading, so they also sealed this mine to protect the coal they wanted to sell… this trapped and killed almost 700 workers and rescuers.

These aren’t going to stop me from visiting, but they are certainly interesting.

What’s a dark or unknown fact about your country? Let’s see if you can shock us in the comments!


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