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North Korea is a bit of a black box, right? It's got this rogue nuclear program.
It's under heavy international sanctions. There's gulags. There's famines.
The people appear to worship this deified kid of a national leader. To understand why that is, you really
have to go back to 1910 when Japan first colonized Korea. And Japan at the time was its own super
crazy fascist imperial state, which Americans know all about because we fought a war with them.
Japan wanted to convince Koreans that they were a subset of the Japanese race and to rally them to the imperial cause.
And then Japan collapsed, 1945, the North came under Soviet occupation but the ideology stayed there. So we think of North Korea as like
this last holdover of Soviet-style communism, but actually it's the last holdover of Japanese
fascism. And you still see that today. North Koreans are told that they are the purest
race on Earth and that their superiority means that they need a strong leader to protect
them from the outside world and then they have this leader who's kind of deified because
he's a holdover from the Japanese emperor who was actually, you know, a quasi-religious
figure. So then in 1991 the Soviet Union collapses, stopped giving North Korea all these subsidies, and the North Korean government needed to find a new way to keep its citizens' support because they were so poor that they could not feed their own people and 1 in 10 North Koreans starved to death. So that's when Kim Jong-Il, who was the leader at the time, came
up with the Songun policy, military first, which is this big lie they tell the country
that they're constantly at this like low-boil war with the entire outside world, especially
the American imperialist dogs, so you have to give up everything towards the military
cause. It's really effective. Everybody buys into it. There are studies that show that
even North Koreans who leave the country and see how poor North Korea is, most of them
actually come back willingly. When Kim Jong-Il died, there were millions of North Koreans
crying in the street, and even defectors say that was more real than fake, which is kind
of amazing given that the country is really poor and 1% of its population lives in prison camps.
And then one effect of this that works really well in the North Korean government's
favor is that this militarism also distracts the U.S. and the rest of the outside world,
so we're so worried about their nuclear program and their crazy attacks on South Korea that
we actually don't bother that much with the way they treat their own people,
who are the real victims of the North Korean system.
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What made North Korea so bizarre

35590 Folder Collection
BH published on October 19, 2017    Sh, Gang (Aaron) translated    Sabrina Hsu reviewed
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