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Life in North Korea - part two

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

In North Korea, the perception of reality is replaced by the imposition of the state's description of what you should see, think and act on. Emotions are literally forbidden.

Emotions that are not intended to worship the great leader, are left out, are prohibited and therefore are penalized.


by Maibort Petit


To read part one of this amazing story - click here.


There is a limit imposed by the diplomatic formality of the deal, but from there on the question is enormous. For them to pass outside the periphery marked by the State, means arriving in an unknown world, full of fears and a bewilderment of not knowing where you come from, which is natural in a society that lives under that oppression. In North Korea, the perception of reality is replaced by the imposition of the state's description of what you should see, think and act on.


People live in different processes than ours. You watch it when you talk to them. It is a world built literally to a carbo with which any filmmaker would be amazed, and where the expression of spontaneity, of organization, of what we could call those processes that arise naturally in a society, do not occur there. That is, if we stick to the fact that man acts for an emotion that moves him to express himself, in North Korea emotions are literally forbidden.

And, as he says, in North Korea emotions that are not intended to worship the great leader, are left out, are prohibited and therefore are penalized.


Hence, there are so many stories of people — including army generals — who have been found drinking on the day Kim Jong-il was killed with a bombing of his own home, or one of many who was gunned down for falling asleep in during a speech by the leader.

Arrieta explains that when Kim Jong-il died, he had to cry.


Punished for not crying: Thousands of North Koreans face labour camps for not being upset enough about death of Kim Jong-il
Punished for not crying: Thousands of North Koreans face labour camps for not being upset enough about death of Kim Jong-il

It was very easy to see by the television cameras the crowd crying almost equally and in unison. Those who did not, did not eat and many were killed. Citizens who were able to cry louder and who were spotted by regime officials were better off in front of the state structure.


interpersonal relations


Relationships are limited to zeal, because in any interpersonal relationship, a conversation can lead to any kind of opinion arising, and that opinion could be a reason to condemn the issuer. So people are extremely cautious even when talking to the neighbor, and even to the husband, wife or family, including the children, people hide their emotions.


The stories of Nazi Germany can show the reality of individuals living under such a regime, he recalls.


According to Arrieta, North Korean society is dystopian.

The control of the individual, the control of social relations, makes this an undesirable society. "When you appreciate the perfection of a cruel system like this, you start to reflect and obviously wake up, because you don't want to live in a society like that."