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Dec 13, 2004 | On North Korea

I don’t why but I have this unfortunate interest in North Korea. I just wonder how peasants and workers live in such a cocoon, and whether or not there is an underground faction to overthrow Kim Il-sung. It’s more an interest in human behaviour and sociology, and what would happen should Kim be overthrown. Would the North Koreans refuse to accept the news should it really happen? What would happen should they find out about the world they were so well shielded from? Would North Koreans come to accept wealth and capitalism? Would they be able to realise that so much happened in their life that they weren’t aware of? It would be really interesting to parallel the social aspect of North Koreans with Germans, if there is any parallel to begin with. Andrei Lankov, a historian who spent a year in North Korea as an exchange student, writes in his book From Stalin to Kim Il Sung- The Formation of North Korea 1945-1960:

The study of the North Korean present has never been easy. Even by the standards of other Communist countries, Pyongyang is notably secretive. All official press is exclusively devoted to intense propaganda, few if any statistical data are allowed to be published, and it is hard to trust publised material anyway… No dissidence, however limited, is tolerated, so the amount of unofficial information about the country is virtually zero. No foreigner is allowed to do independant research in [North] Korean libraries, let alone archives… The official history is regularly and radically rewritten in order to suit the ever-changing political situation and conform to the slogans of the moment.

Oh, and by the way I shall resume my Eclipse of Souls series, but I will refrain from publishing it until it’s done and ‘shipped’ in PDF format.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 13th, 2004 at 8:14 pm, EST under the category of Travels. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.