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Old January 22nd, 2007, 10:29 PM   #1
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A tour of North Korea

I complied together using google earth/map a visual tour of North Korea, especially their oversized monuments, quite interesting, you will see more if you have google earth on your comp:

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Old January 28th, 2007, 01:00 PM   #2
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Old January 29th, 2007, 12:36 AM   #3
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Wow, you seem to know a lot about the country, considering that you know where to find these "monuments" and what they are.

Lately I've become more interested in North Korea. Or fascinated maybe. To me, and probably to most of us, it is unimaginable that a country like this even remains to exist today in the age of internet and personal communication. One would expect the people of North Korea to attain some knowledge of the outside world on their own eventually. It seems however that till now the government has somehow succeeded in keeping the people poor and uninformed and thus things unchanged (personal wealth leads to access to information leads to more personal wealth).

When I look around the country on Google earth, what strikes me the most is the lack of cars on the large avenues, or cars parked by buildings for that matter. What you see is miles of roads with three lanes in each direction and there are like 2 cars and a bus on the entire stretch. I don't know around what time of day these pictures are taken, so I may be wrong, but it leaves me with the impression of a utterly grim, horrible country to live in. Looking around the internet you occasionally see some photographs made by travellers and more than once they are commented by the remark that the people in the background seem to be there for one purpose only, namely to present an image of prosperity. I mean, what is that? Why does a government do such a thing when every person in the world knows what is really going on there?

Second thing that strikes me is lack of (decent) roads in rural areas. It almost resembles Siberia in this respect. Knowing that there are large famines from time to time, I can't help but wonder in what way, with the help of which technology, the food is grown.

Knowing what I know and seeing what I see on the internet I am striken by a feeling of sadness when I virtually look around this country. At the same time I am very curious to see what it is like for myself. I have not seen apartheid in South Africa, I didn't have the chance to visit the Soviet Union and I missed the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. The circumstances in North Korea are unique and I would love to take a peak there myself. This of course is highly unlikely to happen, given these unique circumstances.

In a historical perspective, countries like North Korea have existed since the dawn of humankind. Autoritharianly ruled contries where the many carry a heavy burden imposed on them by their ruler(s). Many of the grand monuments we hail today as great achievements have been built by slaves or over the back of the common people. E.g. all Roman buildings, mediaeval castles, palaces, churches, etc.
Viewed in this perspective some good may come out of all this, in a future in which tourists flock to North Korea to see the monumental marbles of the communist era.
On the other hand I recongize that the marbles in the capitalist world, built by large companies, are much greater, which is why we visit this forum.

Last edited by Holtenbronx; January 29th, 2007 at 01:18 AM.
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