ART BY KAYTE CHIEN
In the midst of today’s political turmoil, a once forgotten country seems to have found its way back to international media relevance: North Korea.
With this resurfacing coverage, the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and his administrators are manipulating foreign countries into believing that North Korea has intentions of peacemaking.
However, such intentions are clearly not in play.
Simply catching the world’s eye by competing in a nuclear arms race with the United States does not signal peace. In fact, it signals the opposite.
In the most recent move on Aug. 20, 2018, however, Kim Jong-Un decided to up the deception a notch, covering his true motives with a new project: an alliance with South Korea.
To further refine the idea of a revolution toward peace, North Korea arranged for its citizens to meet relatives in the South as part of an unprecedented family reunion-esque event in South Korea, across a long-standing, infamous border.
What a heart-warming, kind-hearted opportunity for broken, innocent families, right? Apparently not. Far from it, actually.
With all of the oppressive restrictions that Kim has set on the visits, the reunions may not have such an kind-hearted motive.
In fact, the number of people allowed to visit family was restricted to just over 80 citizens from both Koreas, despite there being a whopping 25.37 million citizens living in North Korea alone. Of these citizens, almost all of them are over the age of 70, possibly seeing their mothers, fathers, children, or siblings for the last time before they pass away.
This anomaly raises suspicions regarding North Korea’s potential ulterior motives. North Korea needs to realize that citizens involved in this long-awaited reunion were separated as a result of the iron-fisted tensions forced onto young Koreans who were left stranded from their families during the tragic, forgotten Korean war.
The hostile tensions during the Korean war between the Koreas began with foreign conflicts, which led to artificial geographical divisions. This temporary line, alongside political differences, fueled an ingrained rage towards one another, causing an invasion from North Korea—whom the Soviet Union supplied with armed goods—that would catalyze a series of attacks between the north and south for three menacing years.
Officially, the two Koreas were divided; however, the split country was far from peace. Belligerent attitudes still controlled the countries long after the war ended, despite the Koreas’ official division after the war.
Though the war is considered “forgotten” by so many foreign entities, the very impact of separation has left families in both Koreas torn, doing anything but forgetting the war and the losses it inflicted on their fragile families.
And, seizing the opportunity to play yet another mind trick, North Korea—a supposed generous giant, serving only for the good of its citizens by effectively blocking all forms of communication with lost family members and oppressing the idea of a close-knit entity—swoops in.
Only now, when the world has eyes targeted straight at them, monitoring their every action, do they finally do something remotely…humane.
The totalitarian state’s rapid planning of a reunion to peel the world’s eyes off of them simply cannot be considered anything but something necessary after the torture that each separated family has had to endure six decades thus far.
Not sinister enough?
The North, with all of its communist grandeur, took the reunion agreement with the South as yet another spread of communism, rather than the face-value, peacemaking motive that the South had planned.
Through this historic reunion, it is obvious that the moral dichotomy of the two nations–North and South Korea–are so profoundly different that it affects even the selection process of citizens chosen to attend the reunion event. Whereas the South practices fair and randomized lottery methods to choose participants, the North practices a much more cunning method,well-suited for its equally scheming government: hand-picking candidates based on their loyalty to a government that is terribly failing them.
North Korea’s intentions to connect now disparate people with the developed citizens in South Korea through means of promoting its communist propaganda through its people during the reunion using its infamously effective method of manipulation raises even more suspicions.
In so doing, Kim and his administrators effectively trained North Korea’s citizens with brainwashing communist ideals prior to the reunion, ready to be discussed at any given moment. Therefore, in reality, this reunion is not, as several foreigners believe, to better acclimate to western traditions and the outside society; instead, it is to maliciously pour inside information out to the rest of the world.
In fact, it is absolutely absurd that people are so profusely crediting North Korea with plans to make peace with other countries, South Korea being the first, through this small step. After all, had this exact situation happened in a more developed, less isolated country– take the United States, for example–the world would rise up in fury that innocent victims of a war they lost family members in were so harshly oppressed.
Thus, the public needs to, above all other ideas, understand this: North Korea’s reluctant decision to allow blood relatives to meet again after a gruesome sixty years is nothing short of inconsiderate cruelty. It is Kim Jong-Un’s self-absorbed realization that this is what the rest of the world wants, not what he wants.
This is far from a step toward peace and reconciliation. Rather, this is a silent cry for help because of an obvious lack of common sense and, hopefully, a lesson learned on the North Korean government’s part.
For North Korea’s administration, this sudden turn of events is about maintaining a positive facade to avoid alarming the rest of the world, rather than actually bettering the country by acting on such opportunities with truly helpful intentions.
No amount of immorality, brutality, and inhumanity will ever downplay the fact that a nation that so proudly flaunts its military power, while its population is starving with inefficient electricity, is, and without proper changes, will never be for its people.