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North Korea – Juche phenomenon

Older tourists who imagine traveling to North Korea as a trip to our recent, by historical standards, socialist past, are mistaken …

North Korea ; juche country phenomenon

A state with a socio-political system similar to that created in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula has never been on the territory of the former USSR. Like not, and never has been, nothing like this in other countries.

It is wrong to assume that the dominant ideology in North Korea is communist. In the country’s constitution and in the policy documents of the ruling Labor Party of Korea (TPK), neither communism nor socialism are even mentioned. The official name of the country is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. As the official ideology, the “Juche theory” is accepted – a doctrine rooted in ancient philosophy about self-sufficiency and reliance only on one’s own forces.

The basic principle of the Juche teaching can be stated by the formula “a person decides everything and the master of everything.” Further from this principle follows the need to be independent, and since Korea is a country of independent people, it does not need anyone. The principle of “self-reliance” justifies the almost complete closeness of the country from the outside world. A typical example is that the DPRK has officially adopted the Juche reckoning since 1997. The new North Korean calendar begins in 1912 – the date of birth of the country’s first president, Kim Il Sung. He is also attributed to the creation of the Juche theory itself.

Leader Worship in North Korea

In fact, the Juche theory is just an ideological entourage, a political cover. It allows the ruling TPK, led by the Kimov dynasty, unchangeable for more than sixty years, to completely subjugate the population of North Korea.

This is the main feature of the social system of North Korea – the complete absence of any civil liberties, even formal ones, and one hundred percent priority of the collective over an individual. Juche theory completely excludes personal material interest in work. And at the same time you will not hear from the North Korean man the slightest hint of disagreement with the order in the country, even when he is a refugee and left the DPRK to save himself from hunger.

The worship of the leaders – Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il, who became the head of the country after the death of his father in 1994 and led it until his own death in 2011, has acquired a fantastic scale in the DPRK. This is a real religious cult that even Christian Europe did not know in the Middle Ages. Portraits of the “two leaders” hang not only in every house, but in every car of the Pyongyang subway. Sometimes they can be found in the most unexpected places, for example, next to a peasant field. Monuments to leaders established throughout the country should be bowed, no exceptions are made for foreigners.

Leaders Worship in North Korea

Each kindergarten in North Korea has its own room, in the center there is a large mock-up of the hometown of Kim Il Sung Mangyongde, on the walls are necessarily pictures from the childhood of the leader, his son and an official portrait of Kim Il Sung.

Kindergarten in North Korea

Before the start of classes, preschool children and educators should bow three times to the portrait and at the same time repeat in chant: “Thank you, Marshal the Father!”

Children are shown the main enemy from childhood

Many years of total and unquestioning adherence to the Juche idea did not lead North Korea to economic prosperity. Isolation from the outside world and, as a result, enormous technological lag, monstrous military expenses (the DPRK has nuclear weapons since 2005), inefficient forced labor – these and many other manifestations of the totalitarian regime brought the country to the threshold of economic collapse. One of the worst consequences of “following the Juche path” is an acute shortage of food in the DPRK.

Famine in North Korea

No statistics are published in the DPRK on the standard of living of the population. However, in 2000, the North Korean authorities officially recognized that “a large number of people” died of starvation in the country from 1995 to 1999. European experts believe that up to three million people died of starvation during these years. Now the situation has stabilized somewhat, not least due to international humanitarian assistance. But according to some reports, the facts of mass starvation still take place, especially among the population of remote rural areas of the country.

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