Runner Up for Worst Country in the World

November 16, 2009

While I was wandering around, I found these blog posts (from An American Perspective of China) of an American visiting North Korea, one of the handfuls who ever did, mind you. Anyways, I am a South Korean (well, genetically, although culturally, I am more of a Venezuelan/American), so the North Korea situation is especially interesting to me. His accounts and insight from the country is certainly interesting. It is pretty much what you would expect if you have read 1984. Even foreigners aren’t allowed for much freedom to look around. It is Orwellian incarnate, hell on Earth, a truly dystopian society. How something like this could actually exist is beyond me. For me, this is so unbelievable that even though I know it is true, my mind keep telling me that it is way too farfetched, over the top. Indeed, this paragraph reflects my feelings very well:

When you arrive in North Korea, there’s a sense of unreality about it.  I suspect even Bill Clinton, when he climbed out his private jet onto the tarmac at Pyongyang, must have wondered to himself, “Is this really happening?  Am I actually here?”  For most of us, North Korea seems to occupy the same imaginary plane of existence as Mordor.  I live in Beijing, and the concrete realization that the DPRK is a real place just a short hour and a half flight away — even though I’d known it all along in theory — came as quite a shock.  Showing up at the Beijing airport and checking into my flight felt like that scene in Harry Potter where the plain brick walls of King’s Cross station give way to reveal a hidden platform with a magic train to whisk him off to Hogwarts.  

But there is one thing that I think is really impressive, but at the same time, sickening of North Korea, which is the mass games. It is basically a ceremony of some sort where there are a whole bunch of people performing in exact precision celebrating the leader… How do I explain this… Showing is better than telling:

This is, by the way, another one of those brain washing devices, keeping the youth’s mind busy all year long to prevent dissent, to praise the North Korean leader, who has a god like status, and to promote basically the collectivistic mindset of the nation. Truly incredible, truly sick. It is a shame really. All of those talents wasted praising just one guy.

You know, I am thinking, this whole thing is unfair. What did those people do to deserve eternal slavery of the mind? Why do these group have to suffer? Now, I know that there is no particular reason except for the current of history, and these people had the misfortune of being North Koreans, but still… So much of our lives, like where we are born and the situation that comes along with it is so outside of our control. That sense of no control is truly a horrible feeling.  Whether I am me or another person is so much like the rolls of a die. I feel truly fortunate that I live in a good country with a good family, and even though we might not be rich and hardships have arisen, I have a decent opportunity to do what I want to do. I don’t have to think what someone else tells me to think. This is all cliche and all, but I think we shouldn’t take our liberties for granted, that is all.

So yeah, you get the point. If there ever was a contest of worst or most FAIL nation state in the world, North Korea would be a runner up. Although there are so many horrible places in this world that it is hard to make my mind up on what  is the worst country in the world. But truly, North Korea is almost, if not, is unmatched in its Orwellian way of doing things.