Posts Tagged ‘North Korean Politics’

In North Korea, the amount of anti-American propaganda that is steadily fed to the populace is overwhelming.  In the following Huffington Post article, correspondent Jean H. Lee outlines how this indoctrination starts as early as kindergarten.  A very fascinating read about how children are taught to hate.

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According to Article 86 of the North Korean Constitution:

National defence is the supreme duty and honour of citizens. Citizens shall defend the country and serve in the army as required by law.

Because of this, young men and women are required to serve in the North Korean military.  According to NorthKoreaNow.org:

North Korean men and women must serve in the military for anywhere between eight and nineteen years. Mandatory military service benefits the North Korean government in two key ways. First, required service builds North Korea’s military power. Second, mandatory military service controls the country’s young-adult population. Propagandized military training, which further indoctrinates fear of state surveillance, discourages the most active and able-bodied members of North Korea’s population (15-30 year-old men and women) from organizing, mobilizing, dissenting, resisting, and revolting.

And finally–  to read a very interesting (though slightly dated) exploration into what military conscription in North Korea is like, visit the following link from country-data.com.

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From the National Post:

In the supposed workers’ paradise of North Korea, inequality is assigned at birth, a study by a U.S.-based human rights group says.

Education, jobs, access to scarce food and health care, and even whom you marry all hinge on how loyal your forebears are viewed to have been to the Kim dynasty that took power six decades ago.

The study released Wednesday by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea says all adults in the socialist state are categorized as one of three classes: loyal, wavering or hostile.

The non-government human rights group says it amounts to a caste system.

Despite the emergence of informal markets since the late 1990s challenging state control, the study says the class system persists and is behind the discrimination and abuses faced by the lowest echelons of the North’s closed society.

“Throughout its 64 year existence, the Kim regime has claimed that North Korea is an egalitarian workers’ paradise,” said the committee’s executive director, Greg Scarlatoiu.

“Yet, inequality is assigned at birth, perpetuated throughout a person’s lifetime and cruelly enforced by those in power to benefit themselves and their supporters.”

The North Korean government denies such a discriminatory class system exists.

The study, titled Marked for Life, is based on interviews with 75 North Korean defectors. It also cites a 1993 manual issued by North Korea’s Ministry of Public Security to guide its officials on investigating a citizen’s socio-political classification, or songbun (ingredients).

The ministry maintains a file on everyone from the age of 17 that is updated every two years, the study says.

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A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.  A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.

In North Korea, everything is run in totality by the government.  All news, all media, and art are carefully monitored and controlled by the regime.  By carefully crafting the message they send to its people, the North Korean government has been able to create one the longest lasting personality cult in modern history– centered around the Kim family.  North Korea is the only non-monarchical country to have successive blood-related changes of power.

Inside the countries borders, it is impossible to go anywhere without seeing propaganda posters, sculptures, or other works of art of the “Great Leader” (Kim Il Sung), the “Supreme Leader” (Kim Jong Il), or the current dictator, Kim Jong Un.  Their names adorn everything, massive sculptures populate the cities, and their portraits are hung on everything.  Every household is required to prominently display the portraits of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un in the living room.  Every newscast espouses the virtues of the Dear Leaders.  When one of the leaders dies, the people turn hysterical.  From a young age, North Koreans are taught that, instead of praising God or any other higher power, to thank and give praise to the Kim Il Sung (for bountiful harvests, for good fortune, for everything).

The indoctrination is total.

Through carefully transmitting a very finely constructed narrative around the leaders, the North Korean government has been able to elevate the Kims to near-deity status.  For example, before he assumed control of the government and his father’s passing, a myriad of rumors began to circulate about Kim Jong Il:

He was walking at three weeks and talking at eight weeks. He wrote six operas in three years at university, as well as no fewer than 1,500 books. The “Lodestar of the 21st Century” is also credited with 11 holes-in-one and a 38-under par the first time he picked up a golf club and is equally a genius at architecture and directing movies.  [Full article on the Cult of Personality from The Telegraph can be found HERE.]

Because there is nothing that the North Korean people can read, hear, or watch to refute this information, most of them buy whole-heartedly into the cult of personality surrounding its leading family.

Or, if they do not buy into it… they certainly keep quiet about it in fear of harsh retaliation by government police.

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South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta held security meetings regarding North Korea today.

From Chris Lawrence at CNN on October 24th, 2012 05:24 PM ET:

The United States and South Korea still have no clear insight on the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, nearly a year after he replaced his father.

“We still don’t know whether or not he will follow in the footsteps of his father, or whether he represents a different kind of leadership for the future,” U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted Wednesday.

Read the entire article after the JUMP.

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