Cerebral Tie-Dye World

Songun Policy: What Is North Korea REALLY Like

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The Kim Dynasty is notoriously known for forming bizarre state ideologies. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un is competent in reaching new, far-fetched extremities. While he is considered a mad-man globally, within Korea, he’s a hero. With mass-brainwashing and heavy advocacy, he has made the country into a conformist machine. It’s the descend of Ultron!

Military advocacy

North Korea’s international propaganda includes portraying itself as a nuclear power and so a potential threat to some of the world’s largest economies like the US, China, Japan and South Korea.

In 1995 after Kim II-sung’s death, the policy “Military First” came into being and merged the military and civilian sector as one, giving the former all powers to control the latter. It basically elevates the say of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) giving them the power to set guidelines central to the political system, disseminating information and orders to other organisations.

As a result, Korean media portrayed the military as strong and civilians were shown as secure and productive. Being a Korean and thinking or speaking low of the country was punishable by law. Since words emanating from the mouths of civilians were military controlled, all that came out was propaganda.

Songun ideology

‘Songun’ is an ideology that restricts certain ways of behaviour. Since military weaves the societal norms, it preaches people the need for subordination and abidance to the orders. Citizens are deprived of fundamental freedom like being able to choose their hairstyle or clothing as they are constantly under fashion policing. “Women can wear trousers inside the city, but they need to be very loosely cut. Before, if I went to the city center, I had to wear a skirt or traditional Korean dress.” said a 27-year-old North Korean citizen.

By doing so, the country spits an image of a culturally strong and proud nation. It maintains such uniform cultural orientation, that the true sentiments of the citizens seem like an anomaly.

Local vs. international media  

All television sets and radios in North Korea are tuned in to state-run channels that only play approved content, and the airwaves are filled with anti-American propaganda.

There is no internet (besides the one run by country officials) and no access to the modern world beyond North Korean borders. Getting caught with a foreign DVD is an offense that could land you and your entire family in a nightmarish labor camp. In North Korea, the dictator isn’t just seen as the leader of the country — he’s considered a supernatural being worthy of worship and praise. Music, books, and art are all focused on current and former North Korean leaders, either presenting them in a favourable light or instigating violence against the west.

Where international media company CNN covers North Korea as a state which is closed from the rest of the world and “citizens are hugely impoverished”, “threatening to lash out anytime”, North Korean media under total control of the leader shows Kim Jong-un as a “respected world leader”.

Although considering the nuclear proliferation under Kim Jong-un’s regime, BBC reasons Koreans’ perspective as “Isolated globally, it saw nuclear weapons as its only deterrent against a world it believed was seeking to destroy it.”

Anti-American brainwashing 

Posters, school activities, and mass surveillance are techniques that help the government in brainwashing the citizens. For example, in the farming town of Sinchon just south of Pyongyang, there’s a museum dedicated to the history of North Korean and the United States relations. Everything in the museum portrays Americans as “scheming missionaries and masters of torture.

North Korean students are taught to hate two specific groups of people: Japanese citizens and Americans. The teachers in North Korea instruct students in something known as “revolutionary history” which focuses solely on the Kims.

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