Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Day in the Life of North Korea

Here’s a great video to watch if you have 22 minutes to spare on a depressing yet educational experience: A Day in the Life of North Korea. Pieter Fleury is a Dutch filmmaker who was granted unprecedented access to film Pyongyang; by “unprecedented access” I mean he was allowed to carry a video camera into the country. I have little doubt that the people he filmed were hand-picked by the government.

Verily, the dispensers of Kool-aid in North Korea have become drunk on their own product. Obviously they showed Fleury scenes which (they thought) would impress Western viewers with the wonderfulness that is their country, yet the simple fact that they find this compelling highlights the soap-scum left over from their brainwashing. Here, for example, is the educational story a pretty young kindergarten teacher tells her charges:
The Story of the Returned Boots
Little comrades, when you have heard my story you will know that our General is the most praiseworthy man on Earth. When he was young, he was a child just like you. Comrades, do you know what boots are? In winter these boots feel wonderfully soft. When you wear them your feet stay dry. The Great Leader was so happy with his boots he put them on right away. And he ran straight to his comrades. But suddenly Great Leader Kim Jong Il stopped running. Why did he do that? Because he was sad. That’s because he saw his friends were still wearing wet sneakers. That is why our thoughtful General ran right back home. And when he came outside he was wearing wet sneakers too.
Wow! He wore wet sneakers, too? What a great guy! Those nasty things I've heard about him must all be wrong.

I’m pretty sure Fleury did a full-length movie; the link above is to a 20-minute excerpt which (apparently) aired on the English-language Al-Jazeera network last New Year’s Eve. And here’s an extra-spooky thought to keep in mind when you watch it: Pyongyang is a city reserved for North Korea’s elite. That garment-factory worker living with her daughter in a tiny apartment in a bleak and charmless building has it better than the majority of North Koreans.


Anonymous NoStar said...

And when he came outside he was wearing wet sneakers too.

The US equivalent is Clinton saying, "I feel your pain."

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Number 6 said...

The fact that the teacher asked the students if they knew what boots are is telling.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

At least they all said yes, Number 6.

6:16 PM  

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