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The Enigma That Is North Korea

Enigma: Someone or something that is very mysterious or difficult to understand.

There aren’t many nations that have kept themselves recluse from the rest of the world in the 21st century, save a few like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China and everyone’s favorite DPRK. But why does North Korea hate the United States in every way they can think of? And why do they think they live on a planet of their own, the Hermit Kingdom? In a favorable environment or being on the right side of the Korean border, the North Korean citizens may have flourished.

  1. The bombing of Pyongyang

Source: BBC

From 1950 to 1953, North Korea was bombarded by the United States military over the invasion of South Korea during the Korean war. Nearly 3 million North Korean (20% of the population) civilian lives were claimed along with over 75% of Pyongyang’s area because of the heavy bombardment of schools, hospitals, farms and war crimes. Most hatred directed towards North America stems from this event.

      2. Run by a Dic-tator

Source: Quora

The expansion for DPRK or “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” is very misleading because it isn’t a democracy, nor is it run by and for the people, almost similar to the situation in China and its ruling party. There has been just one family – WPK (Working Party of Korea) ruling the country for the last 70 years, which is nothing but a totalitarian and dictatorial regime. If any person decides to speak out against the regime, then the individual and his family members up to three generations are either executed or imprisoned for life.

     3. The Hermit Kingdom

A hermit kingdom is any country or organization that walls itself off from the rest of the world. Although such restrictions exist, North Korea has participated and won in several Olympics (except L.A and Seoul) as well as the Football World Cup (most notably, defeated Italy 1-0 in 1966).

     4. Everyone Can Vote Only For One Listed Candidate

The country appears to be a socialist and democratic nation that conducts valid elections every 5 years, but in truth, the political party headed by Kim Il Sung’s family- WPK has enjoyed a monopoly over the cabinet (90% of the seats) since its foundation. The recent elections held on March 2014, saw the already installed supreme leader Kim Jong-un win with a resounding 100% of the votes! To be fair, there is only one name listed on the ballot sheet. Do the math.

     5. Dangerous Borders

The country that cannot afford to feed half its population thoroughly somehow manages to have the fourth largest military force in the world, with approximately 2 million soldiers standing guard in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) between South and North Korea. Vice has covered this pretty extensively on the Hermit Kingdom (watch on Youtube) along with other dangerous borders such as India-Pakistan borders.

      6. Not Everything On North Korea Is A Fact

The Korea-DPR website actually promotes tourism and tries to dispel a lot of misinformation about North Korea with respect to History, education, gender equality, etc. but it is difficult to gauge how much of it is true or propaganda. Some ridiculous articles on North Korea are accepted as facts when the source is rarely cross checked (mostly published by Chosun llbo, a South Korean Newspaper).

       7. State Media Is The Best Propaganda

The state media broadcast claims that the supreme leader single-handedly built the infrastructure of the nation to make Pyongyang a crown jewel of the Korean peninsula. This fabrication has been exposed by few brave souls who have had to sneak in a video camera (which is banned and punishable) and record real-life experiences in the streets of Pyongyang. The condition is similar to most ghettos in the world where informal laborers reside.

        8. Power Out

Source: Reuters Mail

The country experiences power outages every day for almost 12 hours, and yet they claim to have electricity generation plants to run their expansive industrial zones, boosted by the state-run media.

       9. Escorted Like A Boss

Outsiders visiting the country are given a guided tour of the nation and are in the company of their guide, guard, and The Secret Police! Such high security to visitors ensures there is no room for you to be left alone and experience what the real DPRK may actually be like.

       10. Food For Show

The supermarkets and restaurants in North Korea have a variety of food items on show and also products that are manufactured in USA (the sworn enemy of the kingdom). The food that is available on the shelves and fridges in their supermarkets are only to give the appearance that North Korea isn’t far behind their western counterparts.

Also check out The Dalai Lama, Self-Immolation And Tibet. This article was originally written by Abhay Dogra.

Pic Credit: Japan Times
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One thought on “The Enigma That Is North Korea

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