Growing up through successive revolutions and counter-revolutions gives you a finely honed sense of what is socially approved (particularly when it can change on a dime.) And I got pretty good at seeing the difference between what was said aloud “We’re all for democracy and we accept all different opinions” and what was real “if you don’t toe the socialist line, we’re going to destroy your school career, your job, your hopes of any sort of advancement.” It’s not hard to “read” if you stop listening to the words and instead pay attention to what actually happens.
The weird thing is that most people either don’t have that ability or subsume it because it’s easier to believe what they’re told.
When I applied to come to the US as an exchange student, I went to the consulate to get my visa fresh off my brother’s office and my brother had…
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