North Korea will always being an investigated state. The government’s control closely exemplifies the ideas brought to attention in 1984. I, myself, have spent time watching documentaries and reading articles about North Korea. The country fascinates me with the way the government has enabled itself to brainwash its civilians; however, the country is undergoing radical changes which will ultimately lead to a new era for North Korea.
In every moment, the citizens are expected to treat Kim Jong Un and former dictators as kings, gods. They are to worship them. Not only are they to worship him, but he must be hung in every home. Why? I feel as this is a tactic for the government to put eyes into every home. In 1984, there was an abundance of propaganda stating, “Big Brother is watching.” This parallels to this idea that you are watched by the supreme. North Korea also spies on its citizens. As Schmidt knew, “we were told ahead of time to assume that everything was bugged,” (3). Tourists did not even have the ability to have privacy for themselves. The citizens definitely do not because they are not even allowed to have some of these devices that the hotels had – the ones Schmidt experienced. In 1984, there were televisions that watched and listened to each civilian to ensure law abiding behavior.
That leads me to another thing. North Korea fantasized what the actual country looked like. They were sure to only bring her to the most luxurious and well-kept places; however, North Korea has rations and little money. There is extreme poverty in some places, and there are only a few markets – with strict rules about tourists being unauthorized to bring cameras or any devices inside the markets. Everything is controlled by the government. The government was sure to leave Schmidt with the impression that North Korea is well off to prove to America that their type of government is just as efficient. According to North Korea, “American sanctions” are also to blame “for just about everything,” (9). I remember a documentary I watched where a mother was teaching her little girl a song about how America is to blame for North Korea’s problems, and that, ultimately, we are the enemy. I could not believe what I heard. South Korea and the United States work together at the border to protect South Korean citizens; America is known to have helped some North Koreans. Unfortunately, North Korea masks the good the United States is doing for them because of their stubborn appeal.
Side note: Kim Jong Un is a very young and inexperienced leader. I think the government as a whole does more than he does. As seen in “The Interview,” this dictator is merely a child stuck in a position he is not fit for.
If citizens ever disobey the law, they will look into the eyes of their “leader” because, again, it is required for all citizens to have a portrait of the Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Un. I find it extremely interesting that in the Netflix documentary, citizens were watching banned films and listening to the radio while the portraits were staring at them. This makes me believe times are changing. It has started, the time to rebel, and it is only a short amount of time before the citizens take action against the government. Social media is evolving and becoming ever more abundant. Within the documentary, I learned that there are countless citizens that disobey the law.
Only a few short years ago I watched a documentary on North Korea where the citizens were living in fear. Has the government began to simmer down? I understand they will still capture and, if necessary, be-head unlawful civilians; however, with more access to multimedia and national broadcasts, the citizens will be informed. They will understand what life outside of North Korea will be like and fight for their freedom. I also believe they will receive plenty of help from neighboring and passionate nations.
North Korea still has a long way to go but I truly believe there is going to be a revolution whether the government wants it or not. Although North Korea has tried to rewrite 1984 into modern day, all books get old and soon it will be nothing but a memory. But as Schmidt stated, “we’ll have to wait and see what direction they choose to take,” (10).
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