North Korea recently hosted the largest parade in the country’s history, celebrating a change in power.
By anointing his son leader-in-waiting, Kim Jong-il has kept North Korea on course as a reclusive and destitute state defiantly pursuing nuclear weapons but not removed the longer-term threat of instability.
For the parade, North Korea made a rare exception and let foreigners in to document the event, here is just one of those videos.
Millions have been reported to have died from starvation in North Korea, yet North Korea has one of the strongest militaries in the world for their size.
According to the paper’s informants “elderly people in North Korea who lived through the Japanese occupation (which ended in 1945) say even under Japanese rule, trains ran on time and food rations were distributed smoothly. They say Kim Jong-il is worse than the Japanese because millions have starved to death and the economy has collapsed”.
As for Kim Jong-un, defectors are quoted by Choson Ilbo as saying North Koreans feel neither respect nor fear. They view him as a child.
If interested more in North Korea, I recommend reading this great graphic novel by Guy Delisle, Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. Delisle was an animator brought in to North Korea to teach animation, while he was not able to take a camera with him to document his trip, he did so with pencil and paper in stunning detail and he captures great cultural insight.
From my experiences teaching in Seoul’s public schools I found it interesting that students are still taught to hope for reunification of the country, of course both sides would want to reunify under there own terms, it just so happens that economically they could not be more polar. I wish I had some pictures of some of the reunification art posters my students made, they were beautiful.
And just to state, I’m sure North Koreans are just a lovely a people as anywhere else in the world, it just so happens they have some horrible leadership… The current state of North Korea is an example of why democracy and republics are important…