discussion assignment, you are going to respond to a documentary video about North Korea (located at https://archive.org/details/WelcometoNorthKorea )There has been a great deal of media attention over North Korean foreign policy the last year, so let’s take a closer look at that country by examining a documentary from a few years ago.
North Korea and South Korea used to be united as one country, Korea, but during World War II in the 1940s, Korea was occupied by Japan. After the war, Korea was divided into a communist North Korea and capitalist South Korea, who fought one another in the Korean War of 1950-1953. After the war, which was basically a tie, South Korea existed as a free, democratic, capitalistic society, who has grown into a major industrial and electronics power in the modern era. North Korea, however, became a closed, paranoid society, sealing itself off from the outside world. Its culture centered around a personality cult of its first leader, Kim Il Sung, who was treated more or less as a god. But the reality is, the North Korean people are suffering. Famines have killed millions. Huge prison camps exist where political opponents – and their families – are sent to perform hard labor. Outsiders are not allowed into North Korea except on rare occasions.
If life for the average North Korean is horrible – why does this work??? Some of the reasons how the government is able to stay in power include: + PROPAGANDA from birth: NK citizens constantly hear that their leaders are god-like + LIES: citizens are told to be happy and that life is worse in South Korea (a huge lie!) + CLOSED SOCIETY: total blackout of international news; all news from NK; little tourism + REPRESSION of political opponents: massive prison camps in NK, so why speak out? + SCAPEGOAT in the United States: NK tells citizens they suffer because of the USA
Please respond to the 53-minute video “Welcome to North Korea” we watched before Thanksgiving (linked below) and write a response. The video was secretly shot by a team of Dutch journalists, and although it is a bit old (from about 2001), it is still very powerful. Remember that the USA is North Korea’s #1 enemy (because the North Korea blames US protection of South Korea as preventing unification), so throughout the video the Dutch journalists have to ‘pretend’ that the North Korean government hosts are making sense. **WARNING: some parts in this video may be disturbing, including an escaped man talking about how the government assaulted and stabbed a pregnant woman. Also, some North Korean soldiers are interviewed, and they claim that the United States allegedly committed specific horrible war crimes in North Korea during the Korean War, which are generally considered to be outright lies by any reputable historian. It’ s not necessarily gory or gruesome on-screen, but the stories and depressing overall reality of life in North Korea is not for children, so don’t watch this video around kids!**
Your assignment: –Watch the documentary video “Welcome to North Korea” (this documentary is online at many locations, including https://archive.org/details/WelcometoNorthKorea so be sure you are watching the full movie about 53 minutes long)
–Think about WHY this sort of continued oppression by the North Korean government “works” against it citizens (see above) –Write a short response paper to the video (2 to 3 pages for MSword comparisons if double-spaced) that discusses your opinion on the future of North Korea, addressing (in some fashion) *ALL* of the prompts below: –Can the government of North Korea be ‘forced’ to give its citizens more freedom or rights? How? By who? –How can the daily life of the North Korean people improve in the near future? –What is the realistic short-term future of North Korea, based on what you have learned? –Remember that the video was made a decade ago, when Kim Jong Il was in power (instead of his son, Kim Jong-Un), and before North Korea started the process of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Does this make a difference? –What role should South Korea (or the USA) play in the future of North Korea?