Wednesday, March 26, 2014

News on North Korea

Just some links tonight. Some of these stories I've wanted to share for quite some time, so I might as well just lump them all into one post. Happy reading!

What It's Like to Meet a Brother You Haven't Seen in Six Decades (TIME) -- a moving piece about two brothers who participated in last month's North-South family reunions (남북 이산가족 상봉). A former Fulbrighter contributed to the article!

North Korean elections provide clues to reclusive Stalinist state (CNN) -- an analysis of the DPRK's rather pointless elections. Kim Jong Un, unsurprisingly, won 100% of the vote. More interestingly, the election is used by the ruling party as a kind of census: if someone fails to show up to the polls and they're not accounted for in a prison camp or something, it's a sure sign they've defected.

The Land Where the Lord Has No Work! (DailyNK) -- following the release of an Australian missionary who was detained in Pyongyang while I was there, a North Korean website ran some propaganda claiming that the nation's brand of socialism is so successful that Jesus himself "would have nothing to do even if he came." Bold statement.

Understanding Christian witnessing in N. Korea (NK News) -- also touching on Christianity, specifically the motivation protestant Christians have for evangelizing in the DPRK, even though it is strictly prohibited, and the pros and cons of their methods of engagement. There's a lot of good analysis in this article, as well as some quotes from one of the organizers of the Pyongyang Project, my DPRK tour group. Fun fact: one hundred years ago, Pyongyang was a center of religious revival in Asia; it was called the "Jerusalem of the East". Today, Christians are ruthlessly persecuted unless they belong to one of a few state-run churches in the capital.

Mixing with the Cleanest Race: My upbringing in North Korea (NK News) -- part of a highly unique series written by Monique Macias, a Guinean who was raised in Pyongyang under the care of Kim Il Sung. Her experience is truly like none other.

Pyongyang's Hunger Games (New York Times) -- an explanation of some appalling statistics on food aid, government/military spending, and the lavishness of the Kim regime, from the recent COI (Comission of Inquiry) released by the UN. In short: people are starving, and the government has the ability the help them but not the willingness.

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