In July, North Korea’s “Mass Games” were held, this time to commemorate the “end” of the Korean War. I say “end” because in the eyes of North Korea, the war didn’t end in the Fifties.
On July 27th 1953, North Korea signed an armistice with the US-backed coalition under UN command. The armistice was supposed to end aggressions in Korea until a “final peace settlement [was] achieved.” Well, that peace settlement has never been achieved, and North Korea now views the armistice as their victory over a UN-backed South Korea. They call the war, “The Fatherland Liberation War”. And actually, North Korea has publicly denounced their cooperation with the armistice multiple times since then, includingrecently this year.
“Arirang,” or “Mass Games,” boasts up to 100,000 participants doing highly synchronized acrobats, dances and human mosaics that showcase national unity as opposed to individualism. It is CREEPY. If you haven’t seen a video, you must watch it. Spectacularly frightening.
North Korea has been doing exhibitions like this since the 1940′s, but only on such a large scale since 2002. The festival happening now celebrates their “victory” in the Korean War, and there will be a performance once a week for about a month. The KCNA (North Korea’s news agency) stated that the performance will celebrate the great General Kim Il Sung and his feats in winning the Korean War, and also celebrate the powerful General Kim Jong Il in leading the Songun Revolution (also creepy).
I’m just going to come out and say it: North Korea creeps me out.
First of all, even its name is a façade – the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” Let’s explore what those words mean. Democracy means a government by the people, or majority rule. North Korea is a Socialist Republic, which means they hold elections, so technically they do vote for their leaders. Let’s be real though; it’s not a government by the people. It’s a government ruled by the Kim family. Republic means a government in which the power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote for officials and representatives that are held accountable to them. North Korean people do not have representatives; they have one centralized power that controls all aspects of society.
If you research the North Korean government, you will hear multiple terms such as communism, tyranny, dictatorship, totalitarianism, socialism, Stalinist, de factomonarchism and nationalism. It could be a little bit of all of these categories, but the one thing that they all have in common is collectivism.
And, collectivism is creepy.
North Korean society is divided up based on a system called Songbun. Just read the first paragraph. If that doesn’t utterly disgust you, then stop reading now and never return to this blog again.
They have political prison camps, where “political undesirables” are jailed for life-sentences in the most inhumane conditions one could imagine. No need for details here.
There is a personality cult surrounding the founder of North Korea, Kim Il Sung and recently deceased leader Kim Jong Il. Fantastically creepy.
I could keep going, but I think I’ve made my point. North Korea is creepy. Did you get that? On a larger scale, collectivism is creepy.
[Originally published on Wollstonecrafty]