In the documentary “Inside North Korea” by National Geographic, we see for the first time how powerful rhetoric can really be. Since the rise of Kim Jong-un, North Korea as a whole has turned their backs against the world and has been brainwashed by false propaganda to believe in lies that are presented as the truth. Throughout the documentary, many scenes are shown in which the people of North Korea are seen praying and lauding Kim Jong-un for “saving their country” and at one point even, “giving them new eyesight”. The film shows us that through Kim Jong-un’s use of rhetoric, he has convinced an entire country that what he is doing is for the better of the people and that he is doing the nation good.
My initial reaction when first seeing the film was that it surprised me a lot. I found it very hard to believe that such a country can continue to operate in such a way in today’s day and age. We live in an age where inhuman treatment of civilians don’t go unnoticed on the world map and countries like the United States and Great Britain often go out of there way to help. But from the way it seems in North Korea, any helping hand lent out to the citizens would seem as a threat to Kim Jong-un and could possibly start a war. From the film, I learned that North Korea has very strict laws on its society. Any citizen who is suspected of being in opposition to the government is often thrown into prison camps for a very long time and sometimes even for life. In some cases, the citizens punished in the camps are sentenced to a “Three Generations of Punishment” in which the children as well as grandchildren of the person sentenced would stay in the prison camp and work for there whole lives, unaware of the world that surrounds them.
In first chapter of “Nothing to Envy” by Barbara Demick, much is learned about the daily lives of North Koreans. On the first page in fact, Demick shows a satellite photo of North and South Korea. In this photo, you see what a difference economically and socially the North and South Koreans have. The bottom half of the photo shows South Korea fully lit up with lights, indicating a moving and working economical and social structure while the top half of the photo shows North Korea, completely blacked out and isolated. “North Korea is simply a blank”, says Demick. (Demick 1) Demick describes the houses as being “simple, utilitarian, and monochromatic” (Demick 1). They were either whitewashed or gray. On main roads, railroad stations, and other public buildings, bright red posters with party propaganda and rhetoric are seen hung saying things like “Long Live Kim Il-Sung, We Will Do As The Party Tells Us , Let’s Live Our Own Way” (Demick 1). Many if not all of the people living in North Korea can not even identify basic things like computer monitors, CD-ROMs, digital televisions, flash memory sticks as