Weekly Photo Outing

This week we have the second and last part of Akulka’s excellent series from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK).  I’ve really enjoyed the photos and narrative and I hope you have too.  In the coming weeks look for more detailed submissions in the Stickman Bangkok Readers Submissions area from Akulka on his trip to the DRPK.  Thank you Akulka!  You can contact Akulka at argonaut942@gmail.com.

Travelling to North Korea last month, this strictly totalitarian and secretive nation that usually no one would idly choose to visit, has confirmed some rumors and debunked other myths. One of them in many people’s minds is that the North Koreans are nothing more than socialist automatons, hard-line communist in their outlook, and aboulic citizens of a warmongering pariah state remote-controlled by their dangerously ludicrous screwball leader Kim Jong Il.

While it is true that by and large the North Koreans are very conservative and strict in their political philosophy, the people I’ve met confirmed what I had personally hoped for and expected all along, which is that they are basically nice people that have radically different ideas about the world. And unsurprisingly so really, considering that they are citizens of nation exhibiting a political construct built to fulfill a grand ideological vision, and where militarism pervades everyday life.

The objective fact is that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a country unusually homogeneous in its culture and populace. Basically leading their lives almost completely cut off from the outside world, the overwhelming majority of its people have never had a chance to get in touch with foreigners in their entire lives. Visitors to North Korea are preciously sparse, and there are virtually no foreigners living permanently in the nation. 

At the same time the popular image of foreigners as a bunch of big-nosed devils that want to kill them remains stuck in many Koreans’ minds, spurred by unvarnished government propaganda that ceaselessly conjures up images of foreign aggressors who bombed them in the 50ies’ and who still plot against them today from dark lairs around the world.

DPRK / North Korea

The vice president of Nampo City’s shipyard posing with my tourguides Ms. Kim and Mr. Lee.

DPRK / North Korea

Weeping for the brave heroes of the Korean War that never returned from battle.

DPRK / North Korea

Statue at the Martyr’s Monument in Pyongyang.

DPRK / North Korea

A young boy greeting me with the socialist salute.

DPRK / North Korea

An officer guiding tourists at the De-Militarized Zone.

DPRK / North Korea

Aiming at targets representing the imperialistic enemies of the nation.

DPRK / North Korea

Man in charge of one of many shooting ranges at Pyongyang’s central funfair.

DPRK / North Korea

School kids in the metro on their way to a picnic.

DPRK / North Korea

Hustle and bustle on the oceanic plaza in front of Kim Il Sung’s mausoleum.

DPRK / North Korea

A party of visitors dressed in their best garments gathered for a photo shoot in front of to the sacred-held mausoleum holding “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung’s embalmed remains.