North Korea may just be one of the worst places to live in the entire world. Known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the people of the country, it is portrayed by the media time and again as a country secluded from the rest of the world, isolated under a military dictatorship that watches an individual’s every action. There is no freedom; there is no escape. Once a North Korean, always a North Korean.
Amid the chaos following the end of World War II, North Korea emerged in 1948 dominated by its “Great Leader”, Kim Il-sung. He was taught Stalinist ideology, taught Korean since he was born in China, and made into the perfect Stalinist robot fresh out of the factory and shipped back into North Korea. Once there, he eventually chewed up Stalin ideals and started a de-Stalinization movement. Thus, the Juche Ideology was born: the doctrine that many people are familiar of when they think of North Korea. Even after his death and his son Kim Jong-il picking up the reins, Kim Il-sung will always and forever be considered by the people to be the eternal supreme leader of the DPRK. That is one of the main points taught in every North Korean educational system in the Juche Ideology: what they are doing and what they are currently aspiring to do in the future is for the sake of their home country. After the passing of Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un was declared into office Dec. 17, 2011 and boy, has it been a joyride ever since.
There seems to be an overall misconception of what North Korea really is: a totalitarian country where there’s no Internet and everyone wears the same gray uniforms. On the surface, Kim Jong-un may seem like a naïve leader picking up where his father left off. At first, I thought he was scrambling for solid ground and making a feeble attempt at doing justice to what his predecessors left behind. I thought Kim Jong-un was just a bully. Don’t get me wrong: he still is, but there’s more to it.
North Korea has been starving their people by forcing them to work with very little benefits and restricting them from any outside influence whatsoever. They’re infamously known for propagating lies about the rest of the world being an evil entity that the Kim family has been saving the people from. The irony in all this is that the people of N. Korea seem happy to serve their country. Take it from a number of tourists from outside of the country and their impression of the people that N. Koreans are very content with teaching willing and respectful tourists about their way of life and their Great Leaders.
Despite the obvious about DPRK and the government’s oppression against their own people, Kim Jong-un’s leadership so far has taken a different twist compared to his father and grandfather. He quickly started his role as leader by alienating himself and the country for his first six months in power, putting N. Korea back on the track of developing nuclear warheads. As evident by the new miniskirt fashion replacing Mao-style work uniforms and appearances of Mickey Mouse and Rocky Balboa, Kim Jong-un may be taking to step to opening his borders for those to see. North Korea’s leadership last September also mentioned word of education being a center for policy changes and reinforcement. Tourism has been prevalent lately through North Korea, even though the tours are strict and government-run. He’s even gone so much as admitting failure after the first missile launches in April 2012.
North Korea definitely needs help saving for the sake of the people. A Stalin-style communist country, where it’s pretty much totalitarianism at this point, is going to crash and tumble eventually. Historically, communist and totalitarian governments are bound to end with examples such as the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong’s regime, the right wings of Nazi Germany, and Italy under the power of Benito Mussolini—all of which have fallen. North Korea may or may not crash down as hard—they may just follow modern China and slowly lean towards Capitalism—but everyone will just have to wait and see.