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(The Atlantic)   New North Korean pictures. Looking at 12 and 23 together will both break your heart and make you want to punch your monitor. It's what the unicorns would have wanted   (theatlantic.com) divider line 299
    More: Sad, North Koreans, North Korean pictures, North Korean leader, leader Kim, Republic of Korea Army, barbed wires, Kim Il Sung, command center  
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44817 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Jan 2013 at 2:46 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-03 01:36:42 PM

rynthetyn: my lip balm addiction: rynthetyn: miniflea: rynthetyn, if you want as unbiased a look as possible, read the first book I linked to in my above post. You'll hear directly from the mouths of North Koreans. It talks about the good as well as the bad, and it discusses the fact that many defectors are bitter over the decision to flee their homes. It really is an interesting read.

I added that to my long list of books that I don't have time to read.

Yeah - you "don't have time to read" and you sit here whining that you don;t have the right information or some stupid shiat. Get off your ass and go travel ya whiny fark.

You're adorable. You're completely brainwashed and are too stupid to know it.

Pro-tip, when in law school people don't have time to read anything outside of class and can't afford to travel to North Korea, which is a frigging expensive trip.

The grownups are talking, stop threadshiatting if you're incapable of contributing anything useful.


No, she made a very good point and you got very defensive.  You complained you didn't have enough information and when people offered you books, you made excuses.  Insulting the person who pointed that fact out isn't helping.

And nobody cares whether or not you're in law school.
 
2013-01-03 01:42:22 PM
cdn.theatlantic.com

Women of North Korea cry because they can not have The Great Leader, Magnificent Stallion of the East, Kim Jong-un.
 
2013-01-03 01:52:57 PM

karmachameleon: Now, why would you believe that the information we have about NK is "propaganda" intended to fit a "narrative"?


Because coverage of the place from elsewhere (including from people with NK relatives) is different and has more subtle details usually.

karmachameleon: And it still has absolutely no comparative value. Those were bad times in America, to be sure, but were they self-inflicted by a totalitarian government?


They were largely brought about by the bad side of capitalist business cycle, actually. One of those times where a bit of central planning and forethought might have avoided some of the worst of it.

Mind, I am definitely NOT saying that the NK economic policy is the way to go. But the dust bowl in the US didn't "just happen" either, not by a long shot.

Fissile: What's wrong with #12. Child labor was legal in the US until 1938. The average GOP supporter would cream himself to see such a scene in Murica.

[mrclark.aretesys.com image 450x320]

/Don't get so smug.


Child labor is legal is much of the modern capitalist world, and even where it officially isn't, it's often overlooked. If you want suffering, it's not only limited to Communist countries. Complete lack of any meaningful social mobility is also not limited to those countries.

...which is really the point of being skeptical. I don't see anyone saying they're just dying to go live in NK, and there's plenty about the NK political system that sucks balls, no denying that. It's a family-run dictatorship for heaven's sakes. Plus due to many factors, it's poorer than poor. They don't have to "officially try not to have infrastructure" - hell no, it's a poor failed state, they can't have fancy infrastructure right now even if they wanted to.

But as others pointed out upthread, coverage in the US often goes completely overboard the other way - they will say that the buildings on the north side of the DMZ are false storefronts (completely wrong), they will say that no one in NK has computers or any sort of modern technology at all (wrong again), that absolutely everyone is eating rats (no), etc. The various problems with poverty/child labor/sanitation will be covered as if surely they only happen in communist countries, etc.

As far as the internet goes though, it's telling that the official NK government websites are all hosted in Japan.
 
2013-01-03 01:56:17 PM

ciberido: It's Not Allowed.  Growing your own food and eating it yourself, or selling it for cash, is an admission that you don't trust the State.


Yeah. Not so long ago the government managed to completely screw over the various people who WERE actually running some black markets, too, by changing over the money. People were only allowed to convert over a certain amount of money, and they stop taking any of the old money, so... illegally hoarded money pretty much turned to paper (although I suppose people could still use it as a separate exchange amongst only themselves).

TFA mentions that The State is planning to allow people to keep more of their product. THAT I find interesting because China started out on its current path to more openness by doing a similar thing.
 
2013-01-03 01:56:39 PM

rynthetyn: Pro-tip, when in law school people don't have time to read anything outside of class and can't afford to travel to North Korea, which is a frigging expensive trip.


Nice hearing from you.
 
2013-01-03 01:59:43 PM
Each picture is sad in its own way. Even those showing smiling people.
 
2013-01-03 02:01:19 PM

rynthetyn: miniflea: I feel I should point out that it is a short book, easily read in a single afternoon.

It would have been nice if this conversation happened at the beginning of my break from classes, I'm back to stacks of casebooks starting day after tomorrow.


You're a very special girl.
 
2013-01-03 02:05:53 PM

JudgeItoBox: Child labor
Gun fetishism
Compulsory military service
Idolization of the military
Meritocracy
Plutocracy
Nepotism
Numerous examples of "Fark you, got mine" in action
Burning wood to make cars go

Looks like a Tea Party Republican's wet dream.


img.photobucket.com

And yet they are, by most accounts, to the extreme left of the political spectrum, which gives a certain credence to the Horseshoe Theory.
 
2013-01-03 02:06:44 PM

ShawnDoc: What's wrong with 12?  When I was growing up (starting around age 10) I used to help with baling and loading hay.  We'd do a couple tons worth a day.  What are you some sort of city slicker who's never seen a farm?  Its normal for the kids to help out with manual labor when they're not in school.

/The start of deer season was also treated as a week long holiday, and teachers knew not to schedule any major homework or tests during that time, due to how few kids would actually attend classes.


Subby has never done chores. Ever.
 
2013-01-03 02:15:19 PM
rynthetyn: I've lived and worked in Vietnam and traveled extensively in southeast Asia and some in China, and what I see in those pictures as far as living conditions is fairly typical of the way that all but the wealthiest people live in all but the most modernized parts of Asia. We obviously don't know how the poor live in North Korea, but when I see people taking pictures like the ones in TFA and using them as "proof" of just how bad North Korea is, it's a sign of people who haven't gotten out much or who are easily susceptible to propaganda.

Having lived and worked in some places like that myself, I have to admit, my first impression was "This doesn't look SO bad."  Human rights aside, it's the starvation that really horrifies me, not pictures of children carrying hay.

Honestly, I found picture #11 far more damning than picture #12.  Sure, she's in a nice clean apartment, but she looks cold, scared, and underfed.  Assuming that this photos are representative, I'd be more worried about why North Korea can't keep its citizens nourished and warm and less about why (some) children have to do farm labor.
 
2013-01-03 02:18:03 PM

Devil's Playground: Yeah! 'Cause it's so much better here in the civilized world, right? Right?


At least Obama doesn't put political dissenters in jail.

Unless maybe you count Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
 
2013-01-03 02:18:58 PM

xria: Bathia_Mapes: JerkyMeat: I wish the U.S. would get something right for once and assassinate that fat pugsley of a leader.

IMHO, things wouldn't change much.

The general rule is that if you assassinate a dictator, either one of his cadre takes over and kills a load of people to secure his position, or one of his former opponents takes over and kills a load of people to secure his position. Change has to come from within, and while sometimes the death of a leader can trigger that, more often it tends to reinforce the regime in the long term as it just tends to make the regimes propaganda more believable - external attacks tend to create support for a strong leader even if they have committed atrocities.


There are Chileans, many Chileans, who to this day see Pinochet as a hero.  The man was an absolute monster, but some 60, 000 people mourned his death.
 
2013-01-03 02:24:19 PM

itazurakko: karmachameleon:

But as others pointed out upthread, coverage in the US often goes completely overboard the other way - they will say that the buildings on the north side of the DMZ are false storefronts (completely wrong), they will say that no one in N ...


Theres a few at the top who live quiet well, the other 95% though, well, lets just say that this is one country that doesnt have a growth of population. They are very hungry, and theres no reason for it.
 
2013-01-03 02:31:18 PM

BorgiaGinz: On the one hand, rynthetyn is not wrong to be skeptical about US propaganda. On each of my 3 visits to the DMZ, the U.S. military escorts told visitors that the imposing building across the border was merely a fake front and that the building is not real. Turns out that they were lying, because you can see video of visitors entering that building from the NK side, and nowadays that bit has been dropped from the U.S. script.


There's a mosque like that in southwestern Nepal.  If you look at it head-on you think it's gigantic and beautiful.  From most other angles you can see that it's really only one wall, with a hut tacked on to the "back side" so that there is, just barely, a building you can walk through the door into.  It's a bit mind-boggling, really.

I think the reason wasn't so much an attempt to fool anybody as it was that they ran out of money or something, but I really don't know the story.  I'd love to go back and see if it's changed any in the years since.
 
2013-01-03 02:46:11 PM

ciberido: BorgiaGinz: On the one hand, rynthetyn is not wrong to be skeptical about US propaganda. On each of my 3 visits to the DMZ, the U.S. military escorts told visitors that the imposing building across the border was merely a fake front and that the building is not real. Turns out that they were lying, because you can see video of visitors entering that building from the NK side, and nowadays that bit has been dropped from the U.S. script.

There's a mosque like that in southwestern Nepal.  If you look at it head-on you think it's gigantic and beautiful.  From most other angles you can see that it's really only one wall, with a hut tacked on to the "back side" so that there is, just barely, a building you can walk through the door into.  It's a bit mind-boggling, really.

I think the reason wasn't so much an attempt to fool anybody as it was that they ran out of money or something, but I really don't know the story.  I'd love to go back and see if it's changed any in the years since.


Tried to Google it but couldn't find it, would be interested to see photos if you can remember what it was called.
 
2013-01-03 02:51:34 PM

Eponymous: jso2897:
The orientation is unimportant. The issue is totalitarianism - what happens when people are not allowed to vote on who runs their country, and how.
So the next time you read some post that extolls the virtues of voting restrictions to keep "poor and stupid" people from voting - remember these pictures.

Such a pretty strawman you built there....so anyone that wants someone to have a valid ID to eliminate voter fraud (non-citizens, absentee fraud, dead chicagoans voting, pay for votes, etc) is now in favor of totalitarianism?


upload.wikimedia.org

Speaking of strawmen, voter fraud in the USA is a sham.  "Voter fraud" is a dogwhistle for  disenfranchising voters who would likely vote for Democratic candidates.  This was all over Fark around election time.  Seriously, read up a little before you mock other people.
 
2013-01-03 02:54:55 PM

Loadmaster: Devil's Playground: Yeah! 'Cause it's so much better here in the civilized world, right? Right?

At least Obama doesn't put political dissenters in jail.

Unless maybe you count Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.


No. He doesn't count. You don't get to be a criminal, then afterwards yell "help! Help! I'm being repressed!".

He had already pled to Federal bank fraud (an identity theft scam involving stolen SSNs, bogus accounts and bouncing checks), because of this (and a prior conviction for meth manufacturing) he was sentenced to 21 months in prison and 5 years Probation. Two main terms of his probation:

1. He couldn't use any aliases.
2. He couldn't use a computer without explicit permission of his probation officer.

As soon as he got out of prison, the first thing he did was to start work on The Innocence of Muslims, under an alias of "Sam Bacille" and using a computer to edit and distribute the film.

You can be a hateful Islamophobe and it's perfectly legal, see Terry Jones (the "burn a Koran") preacher. Being on Probation for a felony like fraud then explicitly and deliberately breaking the 2 rules that were keeping you out of Federal Prison and saying you are a political prisoner because while you were breaking the terms of your release because you were making a political/religious statement in the process.
 
2013-01-03 02:59:18 PM

Altourus: ciberido: BorgiaGinz: On the one hand, rynthetyn is not wrong to be skeptical about US propaganda. On each of my 3 visits to the DMZ, the U.S. military escorts told visitors that the imposing building across the border was merely a fake front and that the building is not real. Turns out that they were lying, because you can see video of visitors entering that building from the NK side, and nowadays that bit has been dropped from the U.S. script.

There's a mosque like that in southwestern Nepal.  If you look at it head-on you think it's gigantic and beautiful.  From most other angles you can see that it's really only one wall, with a hut tacked on to the "back side" so that there is, just barely, a building you can walk through the door into.  It's a bit mind-boggling, really.

I think the reason wasn't so much an attempt to fool anybody as it was that they ran out of money or something, but I really don't know the story.  I'd love to go back and see if it's changed any in the years since.

Tried to Google it but couldn't find it, would be interested to see photos if you can remember what it was called.


The town was Nepalganj (or "Nepalgunj") and the year was 1996.  I didn't see any pictures on the Internet either, but I didn't spend a lot of time looking.  I don't know what the name of the mosque was.  I have a photograph somewhere but it's not digital since I took it back in 1996.
 
2013-01-03 03:18:31 PM

gorgon38: Theres a few at the top who live quiet well, the other 95% though, well, lets just say that this is one country that doesnt have a growth of population. They are very hungry, and theres no reason for it.


There are three main layers, actually. The "middle class" such as it is lives pretty boring poor lives, but they are not the ones eating rats in normal years. That's the lowest level. The people in the middle blame those on the bottom for causing their own problems, because they are criminals or not sufficiently politically loyal (same thing) or they have "bad ancestry" (part of which means some ancestor of yours within three generations was a criminal). What, you're in a prison camp? You should have known better than to speak out, what did you think would happen? Etc.

That's how you keep people subjugated. As long as people have an underclass to blame for their own problems, they don't rise up. Don't want dissent? Get the "regular upstanding people" to look down on any protesters for being insufficiently loyal. Of course this works just fine in other countries too, including the US.

In bad years though, yeah, "normal" level too is very very hungry. But they still have that status difference, and it makes all the difference.

Every so often boats from NK go adrift and end up rescued (or found dead, depending on how long they were drifting) by the Japanese coast guard. Some of those rescued want to go back to NK, others ask to be sent to SK. In the true famine years, the there were military people found hungry (long term hungry, that is, not just starved in the drifting). It does vary by year.
 
2013-01-03 03:21:33 PM
"North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un smokes a cigarette

He truly is history's greatest monster."

What exactly has the new leader done other than defy international restrictions on missile technology?

It would be cool if he follows through with his peace statements about the south.
 
2013-01-03 03:25:07 PM

Hobodeluxe: Gig103: Obligatory Oatmeal comic: (hotlinked)
[s3.amazonaws.com image 275x290]
[s3.amazonaws.com image 275x290]

It's a shame the North Koreans suffer while South Koreans enjoy a GDP of over $1 trillion US

all because of international sanctions.
because you know, communism is evil.

meanwhile in the US


[povertysevolution.wikispaces.com image 200x217][povertysevolution.wikispaces.com image 432x269][economiccrisis.us image 750x485]

[cdn.cstatic.net image 500x393][bittenandbound.com image 400x280][www.bittenandbound.com image 400x280]


Except in the US you can criticise the president without being sent to a prison camp.
 
2013-01-03 03:39:42 PM

Hobodeluxe: Gig103: Obligatory Oatmeal comic: (hotlinked)
[s3.amazonaws.com image 275x290]
[s3.amazonaws.com image 275x290]

It's a shame the North Koreans suffer while South Koreans enjoy a GDP of over $1 trillion US

all because of international sanctions.
because you know, communism is evil.

meanwhile in the US


[povertysevolution.wikispaces.com image 200x217][povertysevolution.wikispaces.com image 432x269][economiccrisis.us image 750x485]

[cdn.cstatic.net image 500x393][bittenandbound.com image 400x280][www.bittenandbound.com image 400x280]


Oh how cute. I bet you believe that after the revolution is over and the one percenters are captured and executed. Do you really believe that your revolution overlords will be happy to spread all the filthy lucre to anyone who's in dires? I don't think so.
 
2013-01-03 03:46:19 PM

rynthetyn: my lip balm addiction: rynthetyn: miniflea: rynthetyn, if you want as unbiased a look as possible, read the first book I linked to in my above post. You'll hear directly from the mouths of North Koreans. It talks about the good as well as the bad, and it discusses the fact that many defectors are bitter over the decision to flee their homes. It really is an interesting read.

I added that to my long list of books that I don't have time to read.

Yeah - you "don't have time to read" and you sit here whining that you don;t have the right information or some stupid shiat. Get off your ass and go travel ya whiny fark.

You're adorable. You're completely brainwashed and are too stupid to know it.

Pro-tip, when in law school people don't have time to read anything outside of class and can't afford to travel to North Korea, which is a frigging expensive trip.

The grownups are talking, stop threadshiatting if you're incapable of contributing anything useful.



You find the time to spend on the net, browse Fark and read this thread, and to reply. That's probably a couple of chapters of the book already.

And students don't have any spare time? At all? No students in law school ever go to a movie or play a video game?

Tours to N Korea are very strictly controlled. Where you go, what you see, who you talk to etc. I can visit the US and wander around freely. Doesn't that tell you something?
 
2013-01-03 03:54:27 PM

sethstorm: JesusJuice: How do you make a truck run on a barrel of burning wood?

Biogas


Actually it is a mechanical/chemical process where wood is heated up until and prior to cumbustion where wood then chemically decomposes releasing flammible gasses which are then collected mixed with air and seprately cumbusted in a stardard engine.

They used to do this in Germany during the war when the oil became scarce and synthetic fuel factories bombed. VW had a military and civilian model.

GM and ford made converter kits as well to use.

The difference between this and Biogas is that Biogas is processed externally to the vehical and typically use fermentation while wood burning cars do it all at once
 
2013-01-03 04:39:21 PM

peterthx: Silverstaff:
Seriously, put the strawman down. Look at the Nordic Model nations (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland) for countries that combined socialism, democracy, freedom and prosperity. Link

With the exception of Iceland (who had a large ocean buffer) all those nations were occupied by Nazi Germany and owe their freedom and prosperity to a non-socialist country.

/appropriate Godwin


Sweden was neutral dumbass.

Also, I thought all republicans wanted America to become a land of hot blondes?
 
2013-01-03 04:54:40 PM

strapp3r: i do believe there is a meme hiding in this pic

[cdn.theatlantic.com image 850x566]


That is one giant crowd - how will Ecto-1 ever get through it in time to bust some ghosts?
 
2013-01-03 05:04:45 PM
After the fall, i want to hear from the "truman show" actors for the tour groups.. the restaurant with just you as a guest.. the traffic lady with no cars.. the lady in the bar who only serves tour group people..

what do they call the tour group people.. what did they do when they went home.. what if there was no tour group that day?
 
2013-01-03 05:15:04 PM

Alassra: North Korea is in a position similar to Cuba (not exactly alike, but very similar) in the fact that the citizens have to be the ones who rise up and say, "Enough of this garbage, we don't want to live like this anymore". Until then, we can be saddened, disappointed, guilt-laden and unhappy all we want, but it won't cause meaningful change.


The citizens dont know any better. NK is one great big allegory of the cave. There was a 60 Minutes piece on a few weeks ago about a guy who escaped from a North Korean gulag. his crime? His grandfather, whom he never met and died 40 odd years ago was a political prisoner. Such crimes warrant a 3-generations punishment so grandpa fathered children with another prisoner and they in turn had arranged breedings by the guards to produce him. He grew up inside a gulag and knew nothing of the outside world. No concept of family - he ratted his mom and brother to the guards for an extra ration of food and said he felt no emotion when they were executed. What prompted him to escape? Another prisoner, 1st generation, had come into the camp and told him about the outside world, still in NK mind you and how you can sort of kind of walk places without a gun in your back 24/7 and if you're lucky you can actually eat a chicken and it tastes pretty damn good.

his story is somewhat similar to the rest of NK. They are bred from birth to hate the outside world, think that they wont the war, think that they actually beat Brazil in the last world cup and that there's no place they would rather be. Occasionally you hear of people who get word from the outside - a newspaper, radio transmission - anything which actually lets them know that their entire world is one great big Truman show. Those people throw themselves at electrified fences to get out, which is sad considering the choice of suicide is really the only thing an individual can make in a society like that.
 
2013-01-03 05:49:40 PM
Link

"Seoul Train" a 2004 documentary of the NK underground railroad trying to get people out of the country and into China. It shows the poverty and squalor the poorest people live in. Many people are starving to death and the Kim's do not care a whit. Watching little kids eating dirt to survive stays with you.
 
2013-01-03 06:11:54 PM

shortymac: Sweden was neutral dumbass.

Also, I thought all republicans wanted America to become a land of hot blondes?


Read the history of their "neutrality". It wasn't exactly like Switzerland now was it?

The point dumdum is that it's easy to be socialist when you have someone else fighting your wars for you.

Not to mention those countries have largely homogeneous populations with homogeneous interests.
 
2013-01-03 06:52:45 PM

sethstorm: JesusJuice: How do you make a truck run on a barrel of burning wood?

Biogas


Correction, Wood Gas
 
2013-01-03 06:53:40 PM

traylor: sethstorm: JesusJuice: How do you make a truck run on a barrel of burning wood?

Biogas

No, it's wood gas.


Noticed that early on, didn't get a chance to correct it.
 
2013-01-03 07:11:46 PM
Never in the history of fatfacedom has there ever been a more punchable face. I bet it feels like punching a wet sandbag.
o.onionstatic.com
 
2013-01-03 07:44:20 PM

itazurakko: they will say that no one in NK has computers or any sort of modern technology at all (wrong again), that absolutely everyone is eating rats (no


Who exactly says that? It would be fare to say very few people have computers in North Korea. Also that most in South Korea have them, but nobody would say every South Korean has a computer and no North Koreans do.
 
2013-01-03 07:47:02 PM

Elegy: Wildfires


Fair enough! Wouldn't have thought they were that big, but I guess if you combine pics of moving fires over 9 days that'd be what you'd get...thanks for the link...
 
2013-01-03 08:20:04 PM

RicosRoughnecks: itazurakko: they will say that no one in NK has computers or any sort of modern technology at all (wrong again), that absolutely everyone is eating rats (no

Who exactly says that? It would be fare to say very few people have computers in North Korea. Also that most in South Korea have them, but nobody would say every South Korean has a computer and no North Koreans do.


Various articles I've seen in the US press. But you can see, yes, they do have computers in classrooms and the like. They're not cardboard props or anything like that.

What they DON'T have is internet that connects outside the country. Even their official national face to the rest of the world is hosted in Japan. But intranet they do have. They use Windows, even.

Pic in TFA shows people with cellphones, also.

I'm not claiming that everyone has a computer in their house, or anything like that. They're poor. But some of the stuff that comes across over here you'd think that people are only banging stones together - it's not THAT backward. It's like the tales of the DMZ buildings being only a facade that was also false.

Anyway, here's hoping that Jong Un makes some changes toward opening for the better, and they can have a non-crash landing.
 
2013-01-03 10:48:52 PM
i.huffpost.com

brandontreb.com

Tell me I'm not the only one who sees this.
 
Esn
2013-01-03 11:19:24 PM

volodya: Meethos: rynthetyn: I want an no propaganda look into North Korea!

Protip, going to North Korea doesn't get you a "real Korea" tour. You get 2 to 4 days of propaganda. If you want to see what you will see without the travel expense, watch the Vice Guide North Korea episode. They actually go and film the tour that you will go on.


Reading these my bullshiat detector went off. I have done 38 days in the DPRK with Koryo Tours. True, the 2-4 day tours show you nothing. The multi-week tours do. Look, do you think a crumbling state such as North Korea can keep you from seeing the back side? You are very wrong. While we cannot photograph the military and the misery, we do see it. They cannot hide it.
[farm5.staticflickr.com image 500x333]
Rural apartment building

We do see the poverty, children in work brigades, people working in the worst conditions (during a typhoon), hunger, deprivation etc.

[farm7.staticflickr.com image 500x333]
Living conditions in Kaesong

Remember that the observations are only as good as the observer. Take a 20 something from the states who has never been to a developing country or a socialist dictatorship and you will get a reflection of that. If you have been to shiat holes of the world and shivered during winter in the USSR then you will understand more of what you are seeing.

The first rule is that this is Korea. If you do not understand Korea and particularly Korean Confucianism then you will think all that you see is "communism." This is a closed Korean state. You are viewing this society through the Cold War and you should abandon that construct. This is Korea. They will want to show you the best of their country - not to justify their ideology but because they are Korean. They have not had a nation state as long as others have. Aside from the fact that Korea is divided (diaspora, Koreans in China, North and South) they have not matured. Look at the history of military dictatorship in the south. How many protest the neo-fascist tendenc ...


Ah, thank you for that. Finally a post from someone who knows what the hell he's talking about.

I do agree that the Vice guide really reminded me of typical "ugly American" frat boy tourism - the journal of that fellow who went on the railroad from Vienna to Pyongyang is much more interesting. As are your photos.

Those little towns you photographed remind me a lot of a certain town I saw close to the border crossing between Finland and Russia (in the north) on the Russian side. Except North Korea looks much cleaner. They really do seem to have an obsession with cleanliness, don't they... cleanest-looking "communist" country I've ever seen.
 
2013-01-04 12:13:23 AM

volodya: Meethos: rynthetyn: I want an no propaganda look into North Korea!

Protip, going to North Korea doesn't get you a "real Korea" tour. You get 2 to 4 days of propaganda. If you want to see what you will see without the travel expense, watch the Vice Guide North Korea episode. They actually go and film the tour that you will go on.


Reading these my bullshiat detector went off. I have done 38 days in the DPRK with Koryo Tours. True, the 2-4 day tours show you nothing. The multi-week tours do. Look, do you think a crumbling state such as North Korea can keep you from seeing the back side? You are very wrong. While we cannot photograph the military and the misery, we do see it. They cannot hide it.
[farm5.staticflickr.com image 500x333]
Rural apartment building

We do see the poverty, children in work brigades, people working in the worst conditions (during a typhoon), hunger, deprivation etc.

[farm7.staticflickr.com image 500x333]
Living conditions in Kaesong

Remember that the observations are only as good as the observer. Take a 20 something from the states who has never been to a developing country or a socialist dictatorship and you will get a reflection of that. If you have been to shiat holes of the world and shivered during winter in the USSR then you will understand more of what you are seeing.

The first rule is that this is Korea. If you do not understand Korea and particularly Korean Confucianism then you will think all that you see is "communism." This is a closed Korean state. You are viewing this society through the Cold War and you should abandon that construct. This is Korea. They will want to show you the best of their country - not to justify their ideology but because they are Korean. They have not had a nation state as long as others have. Aside from the fact that Korea is divided (diaspora, Koreans in China, North and South) they have not matured. Look at the history of military dictatorship in the south. How many protest the neo-fascist tendenc ...


Superb post and fascinating pictures - thank you!

/Seriously!
 
2013-01-04 12:26:31 AM

itazurakko: Honestly? The pics in this article didn't look too bad or odd.


It's like some of you aren't even embarrassed to admit so openly that you don't know what you're talking about, or aren't able to make connections beyond the superficial of what you see.

/Those teenage porn videos don't look so bad, they look like they're having a good time...
 
2013-01-04 12:29:42 AM

ciberido: karmachameleon: I have first-hand experience with communist countries where freedoms come at a premium, countries that were behind the Iron Curtain, and I know with my own eyes, ears and other senses what the quality of life was like in those countries. I can only imagine it's even worse in a family dictatorship like North Korea. I saw both the best of what they had (not very good) and the worst (more appalling than anything you could imagine exists in the US, where I have also seen the worst of what we have to offer). And when it comes to the plight of the North Koreans, you just sound like another asshole who doesn't know what the fark he's talking about. So consider keeping your trap shut until you pull your ignorant head out of your ass and learn a thing or two about the rest of the world, you entitled little prick, because when you post nonsense like this as if the comparison were valid, you tell us everything we need to know about you, while simultaneously saying nothing worthwhile about the subject you're attempting to enlighten everyone on.

Conversely, you're "I've been everywhere and seen everything and you know nothing" tirade makes me far LESS likely to take what you say in the future very seriously.

Learn a little humility.


I haven't been everywhere and seen everything. I've been to these places and seen these things, and I'm sharing my relevant experience here. If you read that as a tirade, so be it. I don't care what you think. But I'll speak my mind to ignorant Americans who look at pictures like that, knowing where they're from and what conditions they were taken under, and still have the balls to compare that to any situation existing in America. And I need to learn a little humility? Ironic.
 
2013-01-04 12:34:31 AM

itazurakko: karmachameleon: Now, why would you believe that the information we have about NK is "propaganda" intended to fit a "narrative"?

Because coverage of the place from elsewhere (including from people with NK relatives) is different and has more subtle details usually.


So, are you stating that it's false that North Korean is run by a dictator and a totalitarian regime? (Link goes to definition just so we don't have any confusion on that front.) That this is merely American propaganda? Is that your contention?

karmachameleon: And it still has absolutely no comparative value. Those were bad times in America, to be sure, but were they self-inflicted by a totalitarian government?

They were largely brought about by the bad side of capitalist business cycle, actually. One of those times where a bit of central planning and forethought might have avoided some of the worst of it.

Mind, I am definitely NOT saying that the NK economic policy is the way to go. But the dust bowl in the US didn't "just happen" either, not by a long shot.


So, the answer is "no", those conditions were not self-inflicted by a totalitarian government regime. Thank you for confirming that there is no comparative value between the two.
 
2013-01-04 12:38:56 AM

karmachameleon: itazurakko: Honestly? The pics in this article didn't look too bad or odd.

It's like some of you aren't even embarrassed to admit so openly that you don't know what you're talking about, or aren't able to make connections beyond the superficial of what you see.

/Those teenage porn videos don't look so bad, they look like they're having a good time...


You haven't been there either, and you get your news in English... meanwhile no one in this thread is claiming that it's some paradise they want to visit. Only that things are less one-dimensional than some like to imply. That's it.

/doesn't watch porn videos
 
2013-01-04 12:51:43 AM

itazurakko: I'm not claiming that everyone has a computer in their house, or anything like that. They're poor. But some of the stuff that comes across over here you'd think that people are only banging stones together - it's not THAT backward. It's like the tales of the DMZ buildings being only a facade that was also false.


So, what exactly is your point in all of this discussion? Surely you're not saying that because they're not living in Nazi concentration camp conditions that it's ok, right? So, what are you saying?

Here's what I'm saying: even if living conditions are "fine" for everyone (and we know that they're not, but just for the sake of argument let's say that they are), these people still live in a prison under the thumb of a totalitarian government. They cannot leave. They cannot start a business. They cannot do as they wish, or say as the wish. They have no say in their own future and fortune. They cannot access the outside world at all. And that is wrong. All wrong. Flat, 100%, absolute, black-and-white wrong - period. For me, the discussion starts and ends there.

Here's what you're saying: ???

Please fill it in, because I want to hear this. What it sounds like you're saying, is that you're mitigating and marginalizing how awful it is by trying to show that much of what we think we "know" isn't true and it isn't really that bad over there. That completely ignores the fact that these people are literally prisoners in their own country, but hey - that's what it sounds like you're saying. If I'm wrong, please fill me in on what you're really saying and what your point is.

I don't think anyone here is saying that everyone in NK lives like gutter rats. Many of us have already said many times, day-to-day living conditions are probably ok for many in NK. I noted that in my visits to communist-ruled countries, I was conflicted - I was meeting people who lived under some grim conditions and lacked basic freedoms that I took for granted, and yet many of them were happy and full of love and hope and generosity, they were well fed and had clothes and roofs over their heads, and they were curious about me, and frankly, often didn't know there was something better out there. But that's not the main point - you do get that, don't you? If I take a prisoner and feed him well and provide him with entertainment to the point that he's actually happy, does it justify my taking him prisoner and keeping him locked away?

Taking away choices is the wrong thing for a government to do. Agree or disagree? And by choices, I mean the most basic things such as what to watch on TV or what to eat for dinner that night or where to go on vacation.
 
2013-01-04 01:01:44 AM

karmachameleon: So, are you stating that it's false that North Korean is run by a dictator and a totalitarian regime? (Link goes to definition just so we don't have any confusion on that front.) That this is merely American propaganda? Is that your contention?


Of course not. I quibble with the idea that everyone is 100% starving except for a tiny elite, and that all but the elite are living the equivalent of life in the prison camps, or that every town outside of Pyongyang is absolutely the same as the prison camps with absolutely nothing to eat. Or that people have no idea what life in SK is like. Because it's false. Heck, if it WERE that way, people would be more likely to rise up possibly. Their multi-level divide and conquer system works much better to keep people in line.

Believe it or not, there are people who cross the border out of NK (to China, usually) and RETURN. Voluntarily. There is trade.

karmachameleon: Many of us have already said many times, day-to-day living conditions are probably ok for many in NK.


Then you are not the people I was addressing.

Bottom line is, if you read news about NK from the US, and you read news about NK from SK and Japan, it's very different. There is more nuance in the latter. There is much more contact.

Trust me, I am no fan of the government in NK. All I'm saying is that the initial headline for the article, somehow implying that these pictures would be the terrible of the terrible, or that it's so shocking that wow, some poor farm kids existing in the same country as well off people partying it up in the capital is somehow unique to the crazy place that is that exotic Asian NK, just rings off to me, is all. Things are more complicated than that, and wealth disparity and utter lack of mobility is hardly limited to NK, or even to communist countries.

Heck, if anything it was interesting to see pictures from a town that wasn't either (1) Pyongyang, or (2) satellite photos of some prison camp, on an English-language website. Pictures of the middle. Because the middle doesn't get featured very often here.

(Again, doesn't mean I'm anxious to move there, trust me...)
 
2013-01-04 01:24:13 AM

itazurakko: Then you are not the people I was addressing.


Fair enough, although I don't believe I've seen anyone else post that everyone in NK is 100% starving either. I think most of us recognize there are nuances, and of course the sources that are geographically closer are more likely to produce more enlightening information.

What I have seen in this thread are several outright apologizers (not you), and I think that's unacceptable. At the very least, the people of any nation should be able to freely come and go (relatively, of course I understand wanting to keep paperwork and passports in order). If everything else about NK were the same, except that its people could freely leave, I wouldn't say a word. That way, if they didn't like it there, they could just leave. It's the fact that they're kept there, no matter the conditions, that bothers me.
 
2013-01-04 03:39:32 AM

o5iiawah: Alassra: North Korea is in a position similar to Cuba (not exactly alike, but very similar) in the fact that the citizens have to be the ones who rise up and say, "Enough of this garbage, we don't want to live like this anymore". Until then, we can be saddened, disappointed, guilt-laden and unhappy all we want, but it won't cause meaningful change.

The citizens dont know any better. NK is one great big allegory of the cave. There was a 60 Minutes piece on a few weeks ago about a guy who escaped from a North Korean gulag. his crime? His grandfather, whom he never met and died 40 odd years ago was a political prisoner. Such crimes warrant a 3-generations punishment so grandpa fathered children with another prisoner and they in turn had arranged breedings by the guards to produce him. He grew up inside a gulag and knew nothing of the outside world. No concept of family - he ratted his mom and brother to the guards for an extra ration of food and said he felt no emotion when they were executed. What prompted him to escape? Another prisoner, 1st generation, had come into the camp and told him about the outside world, still in NK mind you and how you can sort of kind of walk places without a gun in your back 24/7 and if you're lucky you can actually eat a chicken and it tastes pretty damn good.

his story is somewhat similar to the rest of NK. They are bred from birth to hate the outside world, think that they wont the war, think that they actually beat Brazil in the last world cup and that there's no place they would rather be. Occasionally you hear of people who get word from the outside - a newspaper, radio transmission - anything which actually lets them know that their entire world is one great big Truman show. Those people throw themselves at electrified fences to get out, which is sad considering the choice of suicide is really the only thing an individual can make in a society like that.


His book, "Escape From Camp 14", is an excellent read.
 
2013-01-04 02:08:32 PM

Stryyder: [cdn.theatlantic.com image 850x530]

8 out of 10 would bang.

You think the fuzzy collar is standard issue?


You think they have the resources to do a brazilian wax over there? Pluck maybe.

Or were you referring to the coat?
 
2013-01-04 09:18:47 PM

itazurakko: RicosRoughnecks: itazurakko: they will say that no one in NK has computers or any sort of modern technology at all (wrong again), that absolutely everyone is eating rats (no

Who exactly says that? It would be fare to say very few people have computers in North Korea. Also that most in South Korea have them, but nobody would say every South Korean has a computer and no North Koreans do.

Various articles I've seen in the US press. But you can see, yes, they do have computers in classrooms and the like. They're not cardboard props or anything like that.

What they DON'T have is internet that connects outside the country. Even their official national face to the rest of the world is hosted in Japan. But intranet they do have. They use Windows, even.

Pic in TFA shows people with cellphones, also.

I'm not claiming that everyone has a computer in their house, or anything like that. They're poor. But some of the stuff that comes across over here you'd think that people are only banging stones together - it's not THAT backward. It's like the tales of the DMZ buildings being only a facade that was also false.

Anyway, here's hoping that Jong Un makes some changes toward opening for the better, and they can have a non-crash landing.


In general, pretty much nobody there has a computer in their home. That is an institute of technology and even then those are some REALLY old LCD monitors. As in first gen LCD monitors that appear to be at least a decade out of date. And those are the ones they are happy to show off and brag about. The same goes for the cell phones. They all appear to be a decade out of date or more at a government celebration where the richest people in the country are celebrating.

The general population has little to no access to any technology in their homes past a government controlled TV and or a government controlled radio. I remember laughing at one of their propaganda photos trying to show how well off a "typical" home in NK was complete with a computer. This was a few years ago but it appeared to be an XT or 286 from the early 80s and it was just sitting there without a single cable attached to anything. No power, no video cables, no keyboard plugged in (I don't remember there even being a mouse), nothing. It was a complete joke.
 
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