Sunday, April 28, 2013

North Korea: Revealed

Image: The Telegraph
The tyrannical state of North Korea is often described as a "blind spot" or a dark region of unknowns, within the context of the global theater. Even places where Americans aren't allowed or encouraged to go—Burma, Cuba, etc.—are still open to research and visuals. North Korea takes great pains to block out all outgoing information and preclude all incoming information.

This is impossible, of course. The popular saying "information wants to be free" has no greater poster child for its campaign than the North Korean population. Within the last few years, defection rate has kicked up to 1,000-3,000 people annually, from only a few hundred per year in the '90s. What has made people so confident to break free and seek refuge elsewhere is the amount of information that has seeped through North Korea's borders. The totalitarian regime itself has inadvertently cultivated an apt audience: through mismanagement, pride, and gibbering insanity, the ruling family in Pyongyang has cut off international trade and refused emergency fuel supplies. Factories cannot run when electricity only turns on twice a year (to observe Kim Il-sung's and Kim Jong-il's birthdays), so they collapse and are stripped for parts. It is mandatory for workers to show up for the workday, even when there's nothing to do, and their food rations have been scaled back to unsustainable amounts. This has stoked resentment and desperation in the working class.