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A Rare Look At Life Inside North Korea And Its Brutal Dictatorship And Propaganda

A Rare Look At Life Inside North Korea And Its Brutal Dictatorship And Propaganda

#21 – Electric Fence Surrounding The Country

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theodysseyonline.com

One thing you won’t find in North Korea are beach resorts.  Why?  Because of things like this.  There is an electrified fence surrounding the coastline of North Korea to keep people off of the beaches.  In a country that has no electricity to over 2/3 of its citizens homes, this seems to be a dramatic waste of a scarce resource.  It’s so bad that most citizens don’t own electronic items needing power including radios or even refrigerators.  Why the need for the electric fence you ask?…

#20 – Comparing North Korea To China

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In the top photo, on the right side is China and on the left is North Korea.  This is a great comparison to how poor North Koreans have it in comparison to the Chinese.  So why the need for the electric fence?  During the winter this river freezes solid and many North Koreans try to use that as a means to flee to China by running across the frozen river The Military will send extra troops to the area to stop this and will even give foot chase to those running.  Even going so far as into China to retrieve someone and bring them back.  Typically it’s the poor trying to escape and the reason for that may be shocking…

#19 A Poor Man Gathering Grass To Eat

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Those in North Korea that are poor, which is around 90%, must eat whatever they can find.  They will rummage through garbage and even eat the wildlife like stray dogs, cats, birds, and even grass and leaves.  Eating grass has become so popular that the government even put out a cookbook on how to cook grass and how tasty it is.

huffingtonpost.co.uk

This is what malnourishment looks like.  With a thin neck, rounded and small features and a narrow mouth are hallmarks for someone who is not getting the nutrients they need for an extended period of time.

#18 – This Is The North Korea That Visitors Are Shown

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The impoverished side is not the North Korea that is shown to visitors however. Tourists are taken to an “average” North Korean family’s home where they can observe the “average” family having meals and using computers that have absolutely no electricity and black screens. This doesn’t stop the actors, sorry, “family”, from continuing to type on the keyboards as if they work. The treatment of actual North Koreans are far worse as was found out in depositions in 2014 in the US…

#17 –  Forced To Pick Up Her Newborn And Put The Baby Face Down In Water

cnn.com

“A North Korean prison camp survivor told of a pregnant woman in a condition of near-starvation who gave birth to a baby — a new life born against all odds in a grim camp. A security agent heard the baby’s cries and beat the mother as a punishment.  She begged him to let her keep the baby, but he kept beating her.  With shaking hands, the mother was forced to pick up her newborn and put the baby face down in water until the cries stopped and a water bubble formed from the newborn’s mouth.”

#16 – Tourists Are Restricted In Large Parts Of The Country

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Tourists are not allowed free reign in North Korea and all visitors are assigned two tour guides and a driver.  At each historical site, and every stop along the way, you’ll be greeted by another tour guide that will have a wealth of information about the building, monument, or park you are there to see.  This is a picture of a tour guide (Left) translating for the local guide (right).  Notice the business attire of the tour guide versus the more traditional garb for the local guide.

#15 – Going To School

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This is a photo of children going to school.  Despite a projection of wealth in other parts of the country, children are piled on top of one another in trucks like this to take them to their local schools.  Not all schools are built the same however.  Compare that to this state sponsored photo of a private school…

 

cnn.com

You can tell a stark contrast exists on what is shown to the public in this picture as opposed to the pile of children in a truck in the previous one.  State sponsored photo-op’s are not where it stops in North Korea.  Their media is state ran so you also get state sanctioned propaganda articles like this…

#14 – State Sponsored Newspaper

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This is The Pyongyang Times translated into English for the benefit of tourists.  It is an interesting read to say the least.

#13 – Like Colorful LEGO™

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In Pyongyang, buildings are colorful and are very squared off like LEGO.  However, many of these places are unoccupied and are merely for show.  However, this isn’t the biggest “We’re so prosperous” lie in North Korea.  That would be the next place…)

#12 – A Glorious Representation To The Real North Korea

thedailybeast.com

North Korea started construction on the Ryugyong hotel in 1987.  However in 1992 construction was stopped as North Korea suffered an economic crisis with the fall of the Soviet Union.  It stood unfinished until 2008 when construction resumed.  The exterior was completed in 2011 but, to this day, the inside is left unfinished and and is still unopened.  There were plans in 2012 and 2013 but those plans were cancelled.  At 1,083 feet tall and 105 stories, it’s a prime example, once again, that North Korea is only concerned with outward appearance of prosperity.

#11 – Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum

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This is a US Army helicopter that was captured and put in the, not kidding, “Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum” in Pyongynag.  The photos on the background show a couple of Americans surrendering and a gruesome photo of an American Pilot that was shot.  School children are brought here regularly for field trips.

#10 – The Arch Of Reunification

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The Arch of Reunification, officially known as the Monument of the Three-Point Charter for national Reunification, is a monumental arch south of the capital, Pyongyang, that spans a 6 lane highway, called the Reunification Highway, that leads to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).  It symbolizes North and South Korea leaning towards each other holding a sphere that shows a reunified Korea.

#9 – The International Friendship Museum

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This is the entrance to the Internation Friendship Exhibition.  This is where gifts to the leaders of  North Korea are stored for public viewing.  It houses things from stuffed bears to a signed Michael Jordan basketball that was gifted to Kim Jong-Il by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  This Museum is used mostly for propaganda to show the people of North Korea how popular their leaders are and how well respected, especially by those in the Western World, they are.  That isn’t where the propaganda ends though as you’ll see…

#8 – “The Great Comrade Kim Il-Sung and Comrade Kim Jong-Il will be with us eternally”.

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This is a major ministerial building in central Pyongyang.  The hanging banners translate to “The Great Comrade Kim Il-Sung and Comrade Kim Jong-Il will be with us eternally”.  It doesn’t stop with just propaganda.  Their governmental control of technology, as you’ll see in the next slide, is quite shocking…)

#7 – Big Brother North Korea Is Watching You

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Mobile phones are very popular in North Korea now and even those who are middle to lower middle class have them.  They are not top of the line phones, mostly consisting of flip or low-tech candy bar type phones, but they all come pre-loaded with censored software.  They all link to Koryolink which is DPRK’s major telecommunications network.  They are not allowed to access the internet and international calls are blocked.  As for tourists…?

japanesetimes.co.jp

Koryolink has a separate network for tourists and visitors that allow you to make international phone calls but you cannot call a number that is inside DPRK. The segregation of Americans from the actual North Korean people doesn’t end there…

#6 – Welcome To Haeju.  Please Keep Moving

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This is Haeju.  American tourists are not allowed here.  If a tour group has an American with them, they are not allowed to stop in this area.  Special permission has to be asked for and granted for anything.  This includes a bathroom stop.  This is a rare photograph as photography isn’t allowed here either.

#5 – The Masikryong Hotel

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This is the Masikryong Hotel at the Masikryong Ski Resort and is the most luxirious hotel in all of North Korea by far.  In juxtaposition to the Ryugyong hotel, that has been unfinished for 30 years now, this hotel was built in 10 months.  Since it is a Ski Resort, during the summer, there are typically more hotel staff than there are guests staying at the hotel.

tripadvisor.com

This is one of the more luxurious rooms in the hotel.  A stark contrast to how the vast majority of citizens live.

#4 – The Pyongyang Feature Film Studios

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This is the Pyongyang Feature Film Studios that is 10 miles north of Pyongyang’s City Center.  The sets that replicate European cities have amazingly accurate details.  Kim Jong-Il was rumored to have visitied the studios hundreds of times to watch movies being made as the was quite the cinephile.

#3 – A Look Inside The DMZ

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This is Panmunjom which is a military checkpoint in the DMZ that separates North and South Korea.  In the distance you can see a flagpole that stands at 525 feet high in a small village named Kijong-dong but better known as “Propaganda Village” in South Korea.  The buildings are largely uninhabited with many believing the lights in the houses are on timers to give an impression of people living in them.

#2 – A Statue Monument Of President Kim Il-Sung

earthnutshell.com

Propaganda abounds in North Korea and one of their favorites are the numerous statues of past leaders.  This is a monument of President Kim Il-Sung on Janam Hill in Kaesong.  This is a view of Kaesong’s older town that is preserved and has more traditional-style housing.  However, this isn’t the most impressive statue.  That would be…

#1 – Victory Over The Japanese

earthnutshell.com

This 160 foot, in length, monument on Mansu hill in the capital city Pyongyang.  It depicts the war against Japan in the Anti-Japanese Revolution.  It shows Soldiers, Farmers, and even Children fighting against the Japanese for freedom.  Each figure averages 16.5 feet in height!

Speaking of which, North Korea is a highly militaristic country, where even women are expected to serve…  (Click NEXT for a Bonus slide) .

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youtube.com

While these are some very attractive ladies, let’s hope that no one provokes them to use their military any time soon!

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