A decomposing country

North Korea is in severe humanitarian crisis after floods allegedly destroyed a lot of its crops forcing millions of people to suffer from hunger and malnourishment. I say allegedly because I wouldn’t necessarily blame it on nature but on the tyrant regime of the Kim dynasty that has been ruling this country since 1953.

Recently the Reuters AlertNet humanitarian news service was allowed by the North Korean government to enter the country and shoot a clip at farming province South Hwanghae. The footage is the most disturbing one on North Korea that I have ever seen. These babies are not only underweight but they have also caught various diseases apparently due to malnourishment. One can tell by the purple scars on roughly 20 percent of a baby’s face in the clip as well as the white stuff on the next baby’s face.

Even the doctor and farmer Pak Su-Dong don’t appear to be well fed if one takes a look at their physical appearance – particularly both individuals’ zygomatic bones’ higher level of exposure which is typical of a borderline underweight person at best. Some would even speculate that both individuals’ necks are too thin for either of them to be considered well fed.

The doctor blames malnourishment, diarrhea and digestive problems on the flooding which is not a surprising reaction for a country where any disagreement with the government is considered life in prison without the possibility of parole to you and your family at best (unless the dissident is sentenced to death) regardless of what the latter’s opinion is on a subject matter.

Malnourishment is a logical consequence from a rations’ system of between 200 (according to Reuters AlertNet’s clip) and 380 grams (according to the Voice of America) per person per day – merely about a third of the estimated needs to sustain decent health.

Considering that the North Korean government generally wants to show people the bright and utopian side of its country, it is reasonable to ask why they would let Reuters AlertNet, or any news agency, shoot these graphic images. I speculate that the reason why the North Korean government allowed this is to lobby the United Nations’ World Food Programme to provide aid to the country or at least get other countries to help it. The regime interprets the current situation as very dangerous for its future since Kim Jong-Il’s health is significantly deteriorating, and his successor Kim Jong-Un is too young (allegedly 27, 28 years old) to be trusted by the North Korean people whose culture is reportedly respectful toward the elderly, and would therefore be more likely to question whatever cult toward Kim Jong-Un’s personality that the propaganda machine is trying to get them to believe in. Even the North Korean army, the communist regime’s main support, is suffering from malnourishment which makes the prospects of the Kim dynasty vague.

Meanwhile, South Korea deems the North’s estimates of malnourishment exaggerated, while both the South and the United States – its allegedly greatest enemy – are unwilling to resume any food aid because they see such an act as no difference in the most isolated country other than strengthening the regime since it is highly likely that food aid will be diverted to party loyalists besides the two countries’ demands that the North makes progress on disarmament talks. Despite that, the U.S. were so kind as to donate food worth $900,000 in early September, as reported.

With all this in mind, holding everything else constant, I predict that Kim Jong-Un will not enjoy the same destiny as his grandfather and father did – spend all their lives as leaders of this country. Sooner or later during the Kim Jong-Un rule, the Whatever-They-Come-Up-With Leader, I expect the demise of this dynasty once and for all. What remains is to see whether I am right or wrong.

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Filed under Economy, Politics

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