Sunday, December 7, 2014

Suki Kim on the View From Inside North Korea.

The view from inside North Korea. Video. Suki Kim interviewed by Fareed Zakaria. Fareed Zakaria GPS. CNN, December 6, 2014. Also here with full interview transcript.


ZAKARIA: The sense one gets from the outside looking at North Korea is, honestly, it’s the weirdest country in the world. It is the most strange social experiment. And the puzzle is how does it survive?

How does it – how is that people just docilely accept this incredibly authoritarian regime that’s not just authoritarian, but, you know, totalitarian, really kind of tries to shape how you think, feel, breathe?

What’s your answer to that?

KIM: Well, I think it’s a combination of many things. It’s sort of this perfect storm of, you know, you have, first of all, this cult, serious personality cult. It’s religious, really. Absolute belief in the great leader, where, you know, this generation – three generations of these men who, these hugely narcissistic men basically wiped everything out of their culture except themselves.

So every North Korean wears the badge of the great leader. Their only holidays are the great leader holidays. Every books, every articles, every television, every song, I mean you name it, there is some – there’s not a single thing – every building has a great leader slogan.

So I think when you have that kind of a personality cult, that’s an incredibly powerful thing to be doing it for three generations.

You also have a very brutal military dictatorship that's been in place for a long time, and also to wipe out every communication method, you know, there’s no Internet. The phone calls are tapped or, you know, it’s a small country. You can’t travel within the country without a permission.

And so you take away education tool. You take away any way of critical thinking, and you literally take away the tools where people can communicate each other, then I think that you have a nation where they just basically have the most abusive nation in the world. There – these men just own their people. It’s the most horrific place to me in the world.

The Unbelievable Story of a Woman Who Taught North Korea’s Elite Undercover. By Kira Brekke and Milos Balac. The Huffington Post, October 30, 2014.

Without You, There Is No Us: Book Talk with Suki Kim. Video. TheKoreaSociety, November 19, 2014. YouTube.

Suki Kim: Without You, There Is No Us. Video. BookTV, June 17, 2014. YouTube.