Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When is it Too Late?

I've watched two documentaries on North Korea recently and I am still amazed at how isolated from the outside world it is, how a dictator can be so feared and loved as a God, how they can create something like the Mass Games to show their perfect unity as a country:

This is incredibly beautiful, but when I think about how those dancers in the games practice more hours a day than they get education, and how their only dream in life is to perform for the General, I get the chills. Also, the images changing behind the dancers in the background? Those are people holding cards, thousands of people, turning them around at the exact same time - I kid you not. Watch the documentary State of Mind. 

I understand their hatred of our country - I understand not wanting to disrupt what they see to be perfection. But I also understand that their choice to stay isolated and pure as a country is only one man's choice, and that is highly disturbing. Would people choose to stay if they were exposed to the rest of the world? If they were allowed to have outside news sources? Internet? Cell phones?

There are a lot of people who want to go and 'open their eyes' - to show them what the outside world is like and get North Koreans to defect. I would love to have all of the people understand their options and have a free choice for themselves how they want to live their lives. But I'm also saddened by the hard truth that most of those North Koreans would be so alien to the rest of the world, the Western world specifically, that they would actually choose the life they had. They have generations of isolation, fear, and hatred - that doesn't just disappear with a laptop and some BBC.

I had a conversation with someone recently and we discussed whether or not it would actually be more detrimental to expose these people to the rest of the world, since they are so deeply brainwashed. If it would be more harmful, when or in what capacity could they begin to be exposed to the outside? I certainly don't think the solution is to let them remain isolated, but how could you ease someone into experiencing an alien world - and freedom?

When is it too late? When is it too late to turn someone around? When is it too late to turn your life and perspective around? I'm going to stay positive and say never, but an example like this makes me wonder.

As a side note, I think it's pretty clear that the country has some issues when the leader of the country holds the title Supreme Leader, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of Worker's Party of North Korea.

I can't even do two part time jobs without feeling overwhelmed. 

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