Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No guards to hear you scream

I reckon it's human psychology to express curiosity for phenomenon that deviate from the ordinary. And when it comes to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea, curiosity can take on morbid tones. The reason isn't difficult to pin down: it's dubbed as the Hermit Kingdom and is culturally, technologically and philosophically different from any other country on the planet. The history and achievements of its dictators have been fabricated, their personalities elevated to a godliness and it is perhaps the only country where a dictatorship has been inherited and a dead man is their Supreme Leader. George Orwell, for all we know, could have had a prophetic vision of North Korea in 1948 that set the standards for dystopia: denial and manipulation of information, cultural and social isolation, racist ideologies, the starvation of the proletariat and a blatant disregard of national priorities. Hitchens comparison of Heaven to North Korea isn't too off the mark either: the idea of compulsory love, where the believer has to love and fear his maker. It's Hell for the blasphemer and the gulags for the dissenter-- the latter being worse than any Hell imaginable.

The situation has mutated into a scenario where there is no way out. The masses of the North Korean peninsula have been brainwashed and coerced into buying the cock and bull story that their country is to be envied and that their leaders are demi-gods. The country has been ruled with an iron fist where bureaucracy and corruption is rife and human rights are non-existent. Their ideology of self-reliance (Juche) is a farce since they are forced to accept foreign aid. Even if the State dissolves voluntarily or through military intervention from the West, the financial woes faced by South Korea into annexing a nutritionally, economically and ideologically different North is terrifying. Top it all off, the South's policy of non-aggression through the Sunshine Policy was considered a failure three years ago.

Now, we have Dennis Rodman in North Korea, enjoying a basketball game with the current dictator and calling him a "friend for life". Rodman's ignorance of the geo-political landscape is clearly evident as he tweeted that he hoped to run into PSY (of Gungnam Style fame) while he was in Pyongyang. While some Americans laud this act as a diplomatic ice-breaker, others have been more harsh on this move. Sending an eccentric basketball player who was paid an undisclosed amount by Vice TV to engage a dictator guilty of human rights violations, just to get a television show on HBO is irresponsible and baleful. While thousands languish in the Soviet-styled gulags, starved, tortured (think spinal rearrangement) and punished for seeking a better income or for learning the truth about their warped reality from pirate stations in South Korea, it is vile that a man is wined and dined by a dictatorship that is responsible for killing its own citizens during the Arduous March
All for the consumption by the morbidly curious masses on their LCD screens.

Note: The title of the post is part of a quote by Jung Kwang Il who escaped in 2004. Read his story here.


prateek mathur said...

A well researched post!

Vyaas said...


Seeker of Truth said...

Juche apparently is the world's 10th largest religion.

Seeker of Truth said...

...Staying with the religions of communist standard-bearers, here's Maduro on Chavez.

Mr. Maduro told the nation that Mr. Ch├ívez’s spirit came to him as a tiny bird that flew into a chapel where he was praying.

So now at campaign rallies he whistles like a bird.

Maduro has been reading his Bible.

Seeker of Truth said...

From the outskirts of Hyangsan