When I was a kid, I had no interest in books and went to school solely for fun. I enjoyed bunking classes to visit the beach, travel, or hang out with friends. Even though it may seem strange to others, I cherish the memories of how my school life was back then. The teachers were enraged, and they called our parents every time we did something wrong.
Although I am not a studious person, I enjoy reading books, especially Southern Gothic Fiction, Biography, Autobiography, etc. As I finished To Kill a Mockingbird, a book called A Girl With Seven Names caught my attention. It was a biography and autobiography of Lee Hyeonseo, who escaped from the North Korean dictatorship. Despite hearing about North Korea in the news and on social media, I had no idea how mysterious it really was. Since then, I have been delving more about this enigmatic nation.
Before I discuss North Korea, I’d like to take you back 111 years to the beginning of South and North Korean history.
Except for Japan and China, Korea was a single nation that had been isolated from the rest of the world. Korean citizens were governed by the Korean Empire until Japan invaded the peninsula on August 29, 1910, resulting in the abolition of the empire. To establish control over the Korean Peninsula, Japan erased Korean culture, language, and history, and forbade Korean students from speaking Korean in schools and universities. Citizens were forced to do manual labor and show devotion to the Emperor by the Japanese army.
Between 1932 and 1945, Japan subjected women from Korea, China, and other occupied countries to sexual slavery, while men were enslaved.
In spite of being physically and emotionally abused by Japanese troops, Koreans were not ready to accept defeat without a fight. Over 20,000 Korean freedom fighters had come to bear arms in Guerrilla Warfare against the Japanese.
By 1922, communism had gained traction in Korea, particularly in the north, due to the influence of China and Russia. Many people who participated in guerrilla warfare adopted communist ideology. One of the communist guerrilla leaders was 17-year-old, Kim Song Ju. He was born in Korea but raised in China.
In 1929, along with other communists, Kim Song Ju was arrested and jailed in China for activities with the group. While in exile and under communist control, Kim Song Ju joined the Communist Party of China. Kim fought the Japanese in Manchuria before joining the Soviet military for training in World War II. He was the youngest communist leader in the Marxist organization.
In 1947, Japan had to surrender to its allies, the United States and the Soviet Union, after 35 years of colonial rules. Even though the United States of America and the Soviet Union had agreed that Korea would be free and independent, the Soviets occupied the north while the United States of America controlled the south.
The United Nations called for elections to establish democracy throughout the entire Korean Peninsula in November 1947. The Soviets, however, refused to comply. They feared free elections would erode their stronghold in the north. Elections were held only in the southern half of the country. And Syngman Rhee won the presidency in 1948.
North Korea, on the other hand, took a completely different path. That was where the story of the dictator Kim Song Ju, the anti-Japanese communist guerrilla leader, had begun.
Kim had taken on a new name by this point, Kim ll Sung, which roughly translates to Kim Become The Sun. The Soviets chose Kim Il Sung as their puppet in North Korea. However, because Kim was raised in China, he actually spoke very little Korean. The Soviets had written out and translated his speeches before they were recited. Soviet also emphasized Kim’s past as a guerilla leader and portrayed him as a national hero in order to build and strengthen his Korean identity.
Kim quickly set out to assemble the institutions that make North Korea what it is today, establishing the People’s Army in 1948 and placing his old guerilla comrades in senior leadership roles. Kim formed the North Korean Federation of Literature and Arts, through which he sought to obtain complete control over the nation’s cultural output. He also began to cultivate a cult of personality, portraying himself as a god-like figure in the eyes of the Korean people through art and media.
Three months after Syngman Rhee’s election in the south, Kim declared the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, with himself as the leader.
Kim, however, had desired to reunify the two nations as a single country under his dictator rule. He invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, with the support of a reluctant Joseph Stalin and China’s new leader, Mao Tse-tung. The ensuing war pitted South Korea and the United States against China, North Korea, and, indirectly, the Soviet Union, resulting in the deaths of millions of military and civilian personnel. With the signing of a cease-fire agreement in 1953, the Korean War came to an end. However, because a formal peace treaty was never signed, the two Koreas are still technically at war.
Since then, North Korea has closed its door for freedom to ṭhe citizens. It has been 70 years now when North Korea became isolated from the rest of the nations. Trying to figure out what kind of life the North Korean people lead is like diving into a deep and mysterious ocean. We will never be able to get a better look inside and explore further.
Yet, the life of North Korea is still a massively controversial subject for decades. Many citizens are scared of telling the truth. Even the Media from the inside of North Korea has boundaries and rules. However, there are some who risked their lives to escape the dictatorship and tell the untold stories of North Korea.
When Kim Il-sung took over as a North Korean leader, he had some goals in his mind. Kim ll sung was more a man of will than of knowledge. He was a greedy pig who desired to have everything at his feet. To maintain power for himself and his descendants, Kim il-Sung isolated North Korea from the rest of the world. Citizens were unable to communicate with or even learn about other countries. Kim il-Sung desired that his subjects revere him as God and supreme leader. He knew that if North Korea had known how other countries allow citizens to pick their leader and participate in democracy, they would have overthrown Kim ll Sung. That resulted in the nation’s fatal poverty, which continues till today.
Though North Korea was following Soviet Union communist ideology, later Kim ll sung coined Juche as the political party in his country. In layman’s terms, Juche is a derivation of Marxism-Leninism with Maoist influences. Juche ideology is standing on three pillars.
1. Independent economy
2. Independent political culture.
3. Social Independence
Kim ll Sung was a legend to his people. Teachers in North Korea teach their students about his sacrifices to build their country and how he suffered for his people’s happiness. And the poor children think that the Kim family is the one who saved their homeland and built everything in their country. They believe that there was nothing that existed before him. They also think that he fought more than 100,000 battles against the Japanese and even defeated the Yankees. According to them, he could travel day and night without resting and appear east and west at the same time.
The Kim dynasty was officially begun after the death of Kim ll Sung, as his son, their dear leader Kim Jong iI acquired the leadership. There are stories that, when Kim Jong ll was born, there were miraculous signs in heaven, including a double rainbow, birds singing songs in human voices, and a new bright star in the sky. He was their beloved leader and God’s son. Kim ll Sung, however, was a psychopath tyrant obsessed with power and fame. Despite the fact that his mission was to protect his people, he took pleasure in torturing and executing hundreds of them.
Soon after Kim ll Sung’s death, the government had stopped paying salaries. In 1990, out of nowhere, a famine had appeared like a plague. People were starving and dying. The official explanation for the famine was that it was caused by Yankee-backed UN economic sanctions, combined with crop failures and freak flooding that had exacerbated the situation. But the real reason behind this was the collapse of the Soviet Union and the refusal of the new Russian government to continue subsidizing them with fuel and food.
People were going insane. Many vagrants, including children, were reported in the village’s streets. As the famine deepened, there was even a rumor about the increase of cannibalism. On the other hand, everything was usual in the Revolutionary Capital. Kim Il-Sung, lavished money on nuclear missiles and weapons, as well as his opulence, while his people starved to death. Nonetheless, the people believed that the heroic family had saved their homeland and worshipped him.
The way he manipulated adults and children was insane.
Everything the children are learning about America is negative. Teachers have instilled resentment in their students toward America by telling them that they have turned South Korea into a “hell on earth.” They were told that minors begging for food can be found all over South Korea. They have also been told that American soldiers are cruel to the people of South Korea.
In their cartoons, Americans are portrayed as snarling jackals, and in propaganda posters, they are portrayed as thin as sticks with hook noses and blond hair. In their spare time, they have been taught how to kill a Yankee if they see one.
Life purification, also known as self-criticism, was an educational session. It starts in elementary school and lasts for the rest of a person’s life. Everyone must take a seat, level an accusation, and confess. “No one was excused for being shy, no one was exempt from responsibility,” she writes in her book A Girl With Seven Names.
In her book, she also discusses how they manipulate children when they are young. North Koreans are well aware of Kim’s authoritarian ideology and propaganda. Even the toys they play with are used to educate them ideologically.
There is no such thing as privacy in North Korea. They must exercise extreme caution in everything they do. Informers can be everywhere. They report to the provincial bureau of the Ministry of State Security. Neighbors spy on neighbors, coworkers spy on coworkers, and children snoop on their classmates. A well-organized surveillance system is in place for each family unit. Nobody dares to criticize the government or the Kim Il Sung dynasty. If the citizen is found guilty of speaking out against the Kim family, he or she will face life in a labor camp or the death penalty.
As the craziest country on the planet, there are numerous rules that every citizen must follow.
No Western Fashion
The government forbids the wearing of Western fashion, such as blue jeans, designer shoes, and short skirts, because it represents American imperialism.
No Foreign music or Movies
They are only permitted to watch documentaries and songs about their leaders, animated films, children’s films, and science films about their leaders. If they discover that citizens are watching western movies or listening to foreign music, they will be imprisoned. Sometimes watching American movies or distributing pornography can lead to the death penalty.
If a person commits a crime in North Korea, not only will they face punishment, but so will their grandparents, parents, and children. This heinous law was enacted to keep people from escaping from prison.
Making International Calls
Making international calls is an egregious crime that can lead to death. In 2007, a man who made several international phone calls was assassinated.
Disrespecting Kim Family
Anything that offends Kim Jong Un’s family, the North Korean government, or the politicians is considered blasphemy and may result in severe punishment. In January, it was reported that a mother was facing jail time for attempting to save her children rather than former President Kim Il-Sung’s portrait in an inferno.
Pay Respects in Front Of Their Leaders Portraits
They must treat their leader’s image and propaganda with the utmost deference. Every family, organization, and public space displays photographs of the late Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, the country’s former leaders. They should clean it every day with a special duster. Sometimes the soldiers pay a visit with no further notice. Failure to remove the dust from his portrait is considered a serious offense.
Banned Any Sign of Happiness
On December 17, the North Korean government has banned laughing for 11 days to mark ten years of Kim Jong-Un’s rule and commemorate the anniversary of the death of his father, Kim Jong-il. It is forbidden to speak loudly, dance, or consume alcohol on this day. People who violate the rules may be sent to labor camps or killed.
All men and women are only permitted to wear one of the 28 government-approved haircuts, 18 for women and 10 for men; all other hairstyles are prohibited. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un enacted this law in 2013 and did not include his hairstyle on the list because he wanted to keep it unique, and no one could dare to copy it. Married women are expected to have shorter hair than unmarried women.
It is estimated that approximately 200,000 North Koreans are housed in the camps. They were detained on suspicion of political crimes.
If a person convicts a political crime, their entire family will imprison. If a prisoner escapes, his entire family will be killed.
Malnutrition kills 40% of the prisoners interned in these concentration camps. Many of them are sentenced to hard labor for ostensibly reasonable terms, but they frequently work themselves to death.
Only Four Television Channel
People in North Korea have only four television channels to choose from, and all of them are government-controlled.
No Marijuana law
Marijuana consumption is legal, and unlike in most of the world, the drug trade and consumption are not punishable by law.
Citizens Are Not Allowed To Travel Abroad
North Koreans are not permitted to travel outside of the country without permission. Those who attempt to flee are either imprisoned or executed.
Military service is compulsory
All North Koreans are required to serve in the military. For men, it is ten years, and for women, it is seven years.
Limited Internet Access
The Internet can only be accessed through their intranet, “Kwangmyong” or Bright, which was launched in 2000. Under government supervision, only 28 websites may be accessed for professional purposes. Political leaders and their families, students at elite schools, and the military’s cyber-warfare division are among those with Internet access. Only the state-approved operating system Red Star OS, designed in Korean, is permitted to be used, rather than standard Windows or Mac. Wi-Fi has been banned in all North Korean embassies around the world.
North Korea uses a different calendar than the rest of the world, known as the Juche calendar. It all starts on April 15, 1912, the birthday of their beloved revolutionary leader Kim Il Sung.
Choice of the Profession
The government determines an individual’s profession based on the needs of the country. Those who do not comply are sent to concentration camps where they are forced to work.
Desk and Chair
School-age children are required to purchase their own desks and chairs, while others are forced to perform menial tasks for the government.
Not Allowed To Give Birth If Anyone Is Around
Mothers are not permitted to give birth in public and must go into labor alone. For a week after giving birth, they are not permitted to see their family or even their husband. If triplets are born, they are given to the state because North Korea has a low birth rate, according to reports. They will be returned when they reach the age of four.
There is only one option in each election. As a result, 100% of Koreans vote for their beloved leader.
Freedom Of Religion Is A Myth
North Koreans are not allowed to worship any other god besides Kim. If the government has found out that its people are serving another god, they will be considered guilty by association and taken to labor camps or prisons for the rest of their life. Religious freedom is a myth in North Korea. It is a state that is officially atheist. Western religious practices and literature are strictly prohibited. People who distributed Bibles were publicly executed. Jeffrey Fowle, an American, was imprisoned for five months in 2014 after leaving the Bible in a restaurant bathroom. The state has control over churches.
If you think the restrictions are only for the nationals, you are wrong. The North Korean government closely monitors every tourist who enters the country throughout their stay. Each tourist is assigned a guide who will accompany us on the entire trip. Anyone who leaves their group or attempts to communicate with a local will be arrested. It is a terrible crime that you can never escape.
Only a few nationalities are permitted to visit North Korea, and South Koreans and journalists are routinely denied entry, though there have been some exceptions for journalists. Travelers must be extremely cautious of what they do. Tourists visiting the country are required to deposit their phones and computers and are only permitted to retrieve them before departing.
Kim Jong Un is the current leader of North Korea. Kim is Kim Jong- il’s younger son. After the death of Kim jong-il, the world hoped for a new beginning and hope for the citizens. But he is just the same as his father and his grandfather, a cold blood monster. He dupes the people, like his father, by telling them the outside world is bleak and deadly.
He enjoys instilling fear, hunger, and oppression in his people. He was unknown to the world until his father asked to come back from Switzerland. Following his father’s death, he ascended to the position of the supreme leader in North Korea. Since then, he has been following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father.
Kim Jong-Un’s viciousness is well known throughout the world.
Whether they are his family, citizens, or just tourist, he will undoubtedly order severe punishment if they dare to oppose his rule. Otto Warmbier is a good example of this. He was a 22-year-old American adolescent. The man was convicted of attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel during his visit to North Korea. He was sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp. However, as a result of all the bullying and violence, he developed a severe neurological problem. He later died after falling into a coma.
Kim Jong- un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-Nam, was assassinated on February 13, 2017. It was widely assumed that he was assassinated on orders from his half-brother Kim Jong-un. But the reason for the murder is still a mystery.
Many people want to escape Kim Jong-dictatorial Un’s regime. However, fleeing North Korea is dangerous. Nonetheless, many people put their souls in jeopardy in order to fly to freedom of the sky. Some people won, and some lost, just like in a game. You will suffer regardless of whether you are a child or not.
North Korea is also a state supporter of terrorism and a missile exporter. The regime has a history of selling weapons to rogue states. Every day, they create millions of nuclear weapons to terrorize the planet. Each day they are experimenting with more and more nuclear weapons. Despite its military might and nuclear arsenal, North Korea is the world’s poorest country. People are dying of hunger in slums.
However, Pyongyang, the revolutionary city, has remained unchanged because it is preoccupied with luxurious living.
North Korea is known as one of the most dangerous countries on the planet. It is a dictatorship-ruled country with a long history of human rights violations. However, let us hope that one day the people will rise and kill the stupid ideology of the Kim dynasty, and they will walk to freedom. Lets hope.
Recommended Books: A Girl With Seven names & In Order To Live