Sonic Puke
It's all fun and games until somebody pokes out an eye

5/09/2003

North Korea trip
The brainwashing of North Koreans is so strange...

I?ll never forget when I was in grade school in the early and mid-1960s, we were taught how evil communism was, and how the population was brainwashed, and how the government controls the media and controls what people think. You never really understand or appreciate what that means until you experience it firsthand. And being in North Korea, I experienced it very firsthand.

There were only two television stations, for example, both of them 24-hour propaganda. There were only two or three radio stations, all of them totally government-controled propaganda. And the population in North Korea is fed an entirely different base of knowledge in terms of world history. They live in 1952. I?m not being funny; I?m not exaggerating. They still believe and make their population believe that the Korean War is essentially continuing to take place; although it may not be an armed conflict, the population believes that North Korea is still at war with the West in many ways.

According to the North Korean doctrine, the North Koreans won World War II, and defeated Japan. There?s no reference to American involvement. There?s no reference to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to the North Korean government, that never happened; it was North Korea that defeated Japan and ended World War II. That?ll give you an idea of just how brainwashed North Koreans are. That?s what they?re taught in schools.

On the way over to pay homage to the ?Great Leader,? we were informed by our ?cultural attaché? in no uncertain terms that we were not to ?molest? any of the North Korean women. It sounds funny until you realize that that was their fear, because they?re taught that Westerners are barbarians ? that we?re there to rape, kill, burn, destroy. That?s their view of who Americans are -- Westerners in general, but specifically Americans. It wasn?t meant as an insult, it was meant as a warning, because they really thought that that was what we were there to do.

Coincidentally, at that time, I was doing a lot of jogging, and I liked to get up in the morning and run. One morning I got up at about 6 a.m., and just for the fun of it, I decided, ?You know what? I?m not going to wait for that cultural attaché of mine.? I put on a pair of bright red sweatpants and a yellow T-shirt, and went jogging through the streets of Pyongyang, North Korea, during rush hour.

North Korean rush hour is all foot traffic; there are no cars. Just foot traffic and bicycles. The only cars are government or police. It was bizarre. And by the way, my cultural attaché didn?t see me leave the hotel. Evidently, he didn?t expect me to get up quite that early.

All of the North Koreans were going to work. One of the things I found very interesting is that, no matter what your job is in North Korea, you walk to work in a suit. Whether you work in a factory, a dairy or a post office, you walk to work in a suit, and then when you get to work, you change into whatever work clothes you wear. When you?re done, you take your work clothes off, put your suit on and walk back home. So everyone was walking around in a suit ? either dark blue or black.

They?re all wearing black or dark blue, and there is this incarnation of evil, as they?ve been brought up to believe because of brainwashing, jogging down the street in rush hour one Wednesday morning in Pyongyang, North Korea, wearing red sweatpants and a yellow T-shirt. And the people were scared to death. As I?m running down the street, crowds of people were literally parting like the Red Sea. They weren?t rude; they weren?t aggressive in any way. Quite the opposite, they were so taken aback.

North Korea is so poverty stricken that in the countryside they literally eat their dead. That?s been documented by a number of recent news stories and documentaries. They?re famished. They?ve been in a condition of drought for an extended period of time, probably nearly a decade. So there?s very little if any agriculture. They really have no resources. They?re entire economy is built around their military and weaponry. They really don?t have any infrastructure to feed their culture, which is one of the reasons that they?re in such a desperate condition.

But it?s very well hidden. They?re very cognizant of what they let people see, including their own population. They see their population going to work in a suit every day ? even though they?re not making any money, and even though they go home to starving families. You would never see the kind of poverty in Pyongyang that you would see in an American city. You?d never see anybody sleeping in the street in Pyongyang. They?d take you away and probably barbecue you.

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