In 2011, with the advent of Kim Jong-un, North Korea became a hot topic. And still is. He came to power within a fortnight of his father’s death, Kim Jong-il. Immediately becoming the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, military and country’s leader.
North Korea is looked upon as a brutal, if only a little quirky nation, mainly due to its rather unpredictable and often unreasonable leader. Be it his strange hairdo or the recent claim to have tested a hydrogen bomb, Kim always manages to be in the spotlight. So here is a list of things, among many, which make the country stand out!
- EXECUTION BY BEING FED TO DOGS?
This is what Kim Jong-un is most associated with. The news- Kim executed his uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, by throwing him naked in a cage of starving dogs- first started doing rounds in tabloids in 2012. It was later discovered that the original report was a piece of satire done by a China based reporter. The news spread like wildfire in the west. However, later analysts said that Kim’s uncle was executed by a firing squad.
- NEVER WONDER WHAT TO WEAR AGAIN
Clothes belonging to the “foreign” category are forbidden. Wondering what it includes? Here you go- traditional clothes are appreciated, loosely cut trousers over jeans, anything revealing is out of question. The Guardian reported a woman who was stopped and scolded by Socialist Youth League members for wearing a pair of boots that were supposedly too exotic!
In 2014, a news surfaced that there were a set of state approved hairdos that people had to pick from- 18 styles for women and 10 for men. Students were asked to cut their hair like Kim Jong’s. These were later dismissed. Though nobody is forced, but conservative haircuts are encouraged.
- A MAN OF MANY TALENTS
Kim Jong is not only the supreme leader of the state but also the First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Chairman of the National Defence Commission, Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and presidium member of the Politburo of the Workers’ Party of Korea. It is a little frightening to know that the man holding the highest military rank of marshal has no formal military training.
- THE PLEASURE SQUAD!
It is believed that the North Korean leader has revived a traditions that has been going on since past two generations- a squad of women called the “Pleasure Squad”. Existence of the squad has not been officially confirmed. It is believed that the women are made to sign a pact of secrecy and accordingly trained. A memoir left behind by a defector claims that in “1974 Kim Jong Il divided the squad into a “satisfaction team” (Manjokjo) which provided sexual services, a “happiness team” (Haengbokjo) which supplied massages and a “dancing and singing team” (Gamujo) which excelled in the aforementioned skills, often performed in semi-nudity.”
- “HUMAN RIGHTS”
North Korea has a rule in which three generations of a family are punished for reasons as vague as a person being considered “politically unstable”. There are practically no human rights in North Korea. A UN report stated, “‘In the political prison camps of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the inmate population has been gradually eliminated through deliberate starvation, forced labour, executions, torture, rape and . . . forced abortion and infanticide”. The Guardian reported, a North Korean official admitted to the country having “reform through labour” camps, describing them as “detention centers where people are improved through their mentality and look on their wrongdoings”, but no prison camps.
- FIT AS A FIDDLE
It was reported that the supreme leader has a fancy for Swiss cheese and he imports it in vast quantities. Also, it is rumored that he weighs 130 kgs. Thus it comes as no surprise that Kim suffers from diabetes. He also has a liking for brandy and is a chain smoker. He is said to have imported some $763,000 worth of the French brandy each year, the Hindustan Times reported.
- A COUNTRY STEEPED IN POVERTY
While the leader enjoys a life of comfort and privileges, the common people suffer. There has been an increase of 30% of North Korean children being treated for severe malnutrition, according to a United Nations agency. The nation has been described as a “big prison” in which there are not even “rats, snakes, and wild plants left to eat.” The following are photos released by a photographer named Eric Lafforgue along with his descriptions, who is now banned from North Korea.
North Korea is one of the most secretive nations of the world. Even photographs are exhibited to present a softer image, the barbarous acts often going unnoticed. No person can do as they wish and sadly, this has been the situation for decades.