An Orwellian North Korea
Nov 25, 2010

An Orwellian North Korea

It is a great irony that the autocratic state media of North Korea, used as the exclusive source of news to a country without internet availability, is freely available on the internet for all of us to read. While the citizens of NK face the unalterable and unrelenting information campaign of the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, I can openly discuss the nature of the state propaganda and it can be read by anyone. Except, of course, the North Koreans. We have one of the freest access to one of the most unfree of modern societies and the glimpse that is provided for us to view at our leisure is startling.

One needs not spend much time reading their news to be reminded of Orwell's 1984. I have heard this comparison made many times, but it was only until I started reading their actual media and not others commentary on the society that the sheer aptness of the comparison became clear. One but needs to change 'DPRK' and 'US' to 'Oceania' and 'Eurasia' and it would become hard to tell which one is reading. I will emphasize this comparison with three articles on the frontpage of the news for Nov, 25. Because their website is sufficiently poor that permanent links to articles don't exist, I will copy and paste the three articles below. 

The first article is perhaps the most interesting as it explains the NK presentation to its people of the recent incident involving the NK artillery attacking SK and killing 4 people. As you can see, the presentation is entirely of the SK "puppet war-like forces" engaging in acts of "grave provocation" against NK to which NK bravely combated this aggression. The US and SK are extensively demonized and NK established as powerful, moral and acting in the legitimate defense of the people. In 1984, the methodology was the same where the beligerants of East Asia and Eurasia were constantly vilified while Oceania and the action of the Party were established as just and good at every step. As Orwell presciently explained, the constant exposure to such unilateral propaganda can only result in the acceptance and acquiescence of this position. 

The second article discuss the miraculous new nutrient that has been developed by NK scientists. Let us be clear, the people of NK live on average in devastating and crippling poverty, as a country they are entirely unable to feed themselves and rely on foreign food aid, largely from China. Much like Oceania, the quality of life steadily decreases but this mentality must be combated by propaganda that implies a continual progress and advancement and that the establishment is making the lives of every single person better. Orwell's protagonist was involved in the Party in correcting the media records in part to show how all the factory and technological advancements the Party was making. The North Korean's who read this article can be hopeful of the potential of longer and healthier life and be thankful to the Party who has created it for them despite the fact that the advancement is at best never going to be spread to the people and at worse entirely fake. 

The third article takes the approach of glorifying members of the party and its history while attacking the Japanese. The Kim regime, likely to in the future be grandfather, father and son, gets glorified much like that of Big Brother and the Party in NK and Oceania take great efforts to repeat the glories of the establishment at every opportunity while blasting rather unnamed and faceless Japanese, South Koreans and Americans. When the US donates food to NK, it is very clear to mark it with the US symbols so no person getting a bag of wheat could ever mistake its origin. But it doesn't matter, because the media presents this as a gift from the Americans because they are giving it to NK as tribute. In the face of that, what hope can someone have at independent thought? Is a North Korean doomed to the fate of Winston?

Our society is enormously different than theirs. The centralized authoritarianism of theirs is as obvious as the freedoms are in ours. Despite this, the result is sometimes not so very different. If the homogenization of their society is due in part to their centralized state media and our media is free to do as it pleases, how then did the American people becomes so fantastically deluded about the false connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein? This question, in comparison to the clear failures of North Korean media expressed here, should raise some very important questions about the state of western media. 


1) Panmunjom Mission of KPA Sends Notice to U.S. Forces Side
Pyongyang, November 25 (KCNA) -- As already reported, the south Korean puppet war-like forces Tuesday committed another grave military provocation such as firing shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK side in the West Sea of Korea.
The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK took a prompt and resolute physical counter-action against the provocateurs who dared fire even shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK side while staging the maneuvers for a war of aggression against it codenamed Hoguk.
This once again confirmed the unshakable stand of the army of the DPRK not to allow even in the least anyone to encroach upon its inviolable territorial waters.
There came from the U.S. forces side a notice blaming the DPRK under the absurd charge that the recent shelling took place in the area under its military control and it was a "violation of the Armistice Agreement."
The Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army today sent the following notice to the U.S. forces side in connection with its attempt to misrepresent the incident, while thoughtlessly shielding the south Korean puppet forces who dared make a preempt shelling at the DPRK:
The south Korean puppet warmongers' firing of shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK side in the West Sea of Korea on Nov. 23 was a premeditated and deliberate military provocation from A to Z and a war action in fact.
On Nov. 22, the south Korean puppet forces made no scruple of announcing that they would fire shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK side with artillery pieces they deployed on Yonphyong Island while staging Hoguk exercises for a war of aggression against the DPRK, straining the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
In this connection the DPRK side sent a telephone notice to the south Korean puppet military at 8 a.m. on Nov. 23, strongly urging it to immediately cancel the plan for firing shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK side. In the notice the DPRK side seriously warned that if it paid no heed to this demand, it would face a resolute physical counter-strike and would be held fully responsible for all the ensuing consequences.
The south Korean puppet forces, obsessed by hysteria for invasion of the DPRK, committed such reckless military provocation as preempting the firing of shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK side in the West Sea of Korea by mobilizing artillery pieces deployed on Yonphyong Island, defying the repeated efforts made by the DPRK to prevent military conflicts and preserve peace and stability in the said waters.
The island, therefore, played the role of an outpost from which a military provocation was perpetrated against the DPRK and it deserved punishment meted out by the army of the DPRK according to its self-defensive measure.
The Panmunjom Mission of the KPA in the notice particularly emphasized the fact that the U.S. forces side, too, is to blame for the incident.
The West Sea of Korea turned into disputed waters always fraught with the danger of confrontation and clash between the north and the south because of the illegal "northern limit line" unilaterally fixed by the U.S. inside the territorial waters of the DPRK. The U.S., therefore, cannot evade the blame for the recent shelling.
If the U.S. forces side truly desires the detente on the Korean Peninsula, it should not thoughtlessly shelter the south Korean puppet forces but strictly control them so that they may not commit any more adventurous military provocations such as intruding into the waters of the DPRK side and shelling for the purpose of defending the illegal "northern limit line".
The prevailing situation goes to prove that it is the south Korean puppet forces which actually violated the Armistice Agreement and it was none other than the U.S. which sparked off the conflict in the above-said waters.
This being a hard reality, the U.S. and the south Korean puppet forces are foolishly contemplating an additional provocation aimed to orchestrate another farce and charade such as the "Cheonan" case while kicking up rows and holding confabs one after another such as the declaration of a "state of emergency" and "a meeting of ministers in charge of security," far from drawing due lesson from the recent shelling.
The Korean People's Army will deal without hesitation the second and third strong physical retaliatory blow if the south Korean puppet warmongers commit another reckless military provocation out of all reason.
The U.S. would be well advised to drop its inveterate bad habit of pulling up others, falsifying the truth about the situation

2) New Nutrients Developed
Pyongyang, November 25 (KCNA) -- The Microbiological Research Institute of the State Academy of Sciences of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has made nutritive powder with Grifola frondosa, a mushroom belonging to Polyporaceae.
The mushroom contains bioproducts raising immunity in human body, lowering cholesterol in blood and stabilizing blood sugar and blood pressure.
The powder, easy to manufacture in any place, is very efficacious for radiation damage, liver disorder, digestive trouble, hypertension, diabetes and skin disease.
The O-Il Pharmaceutical Factory has made nutritive pills with asteroid.
The drug, with a large amount of minerals and vitamins, is not only good for mental and physical fatigue but potent for liver disorder, vascular trouble, gastric and duodenal ulcers and obesity.
It also prevents aging and improves retentive faculty, while giving no sideeffect.
Its manufacturing technology was highly appreciated at the 11th National Exhibition of Inventions and New Technologies held some time ago.

3) Noble Traits of Anti-Japanese Heroine
Pyongyang, November 25 (KCNA) -- On November 25, 65 years ago, anti-Japanese heroine Kim Jong Suk, together with her son, General Secretary Kim Jong Il, had the first emotion-packed meeting with fellow countrymen in the homeland after the victory in the anti-Japanese armed struggle.
On this anniversary, the Korean people are recollecting the precious revolutionary life of the modest and honest heroine, who always shared weal and woe with the people.
Even after the liberation of the country, she lived an industrious and frugal life, apart from any privilege.
One day Kim Jong Il saw his mother working on a vegetable garden with her face streaming with sweat and her footwear and clothes stained with mud, and approached her to clean them.
But she told her son that those engaging in farming should not have a dislike to mud and that land would give fruits as much as they work. She also said that they would feel the value of hard working when picking up fruits cultivated by themselves.
The other day a peasant came to Pyongyang to donate rice to the country out of patriotism. When he unloaded straw rice bags from a cart, a woman helped him and brought washing water to him. At that time he did not know she was Kim Jong Suk, respected by all people.
It is also a well-known story that she joined in the patriotic work for the Pothong River improvement and in rice-planting on Mirim fields.
The noble traits of the heroine, who devoted herself to the country, the people and the revolution, still encourage the Korean people to strive hard for the building of a thriving nation.

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