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Thread: My Journey Down the Rabbit Hole that is DPRK

  1. #11
    AKA Tony Arkitect FFF's Avatar
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    BTW Dave, thanks for sharing that Vice documentary. It was interesting to watch, but not at all surprising and aligns quite a bit with everything else I've read about the country. Although at the end of the day, I do tire of the "omg North Korea is so weird!" narrative. I think it can act as a jumping off point, but some what marginalizes the plight of its people.

  2. #12
    Don't want to sound bitter.. welcome to reality. Its very similar to Cambodia and the years of Khmers Rogue, but on larger scale. Sadly DPRK is not the last hell in this world.
    Once the dprk regime falls, the athletes will be among the persecuted and immediately forgotten.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by matej.polak View Post
    Don't want to sound bitter.. welcome to reality. Its very similar to Cambodia and the years of Khmers Rogue, but on larger scale. Sadly DPRK is not the last hell in this world.
    Once the dprk regime falls, the athletes will be among the persecuted and immediately forgotten.
    No doubt. I'm an average height, right handed, white, American man, living in THE most egalitarian state in the nation. To say I've had it easy is an understatement, and it's a life that's shielded me from a lot of the atrocities of humanity. Perhaps why it's so intriguing to me.

  4. #14
    Learning about these things is very humbling.
    If we (majority of Western society) can only imagine what kind of life it is, we would fight for those people. The situation is so bad that noone in the world wants to change it.

    When I see the lifters I am more sad and sorry than excited, because the reality is that much stronger, even if the athletes are treated very well. Always looking who from the coaching team is the agent looking after them. Also the foreginers (fans etc) need to understand, that even taking photos and talking to them might put them in quite uncomfortable situation behind the scenes.

    Believe the poped lifters will never find out why exactly they were kicked out of the training center. Believe they have no idea, just as the kids in GDR, but on even worse level - probably no parents and family to speak for the kids and take them away.
    The found substance says that they are not so cheap on their ped system.

  5. #15
    AKA Tony Arkitect FFF's Avatar
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    Agreed. Sad shit man.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by FFF View Post
    There are many ethnic Koreans living in China, some of which are sympathetic to North Korean refugees. They sometimes provide shelter, money or travel to help them make it to Beijing and eventually South Korea. Unfortunately many just end up stuck in China living as homeless or peasants. If you aren't a high value member of the North Korean Workers Party, the NK government doesn't give as much of a shit about you, so neither will the Chinese authorities. I'm not entirely sure how they get into the guarded embassy though. In the book Dear Leader he purposely omits that part and says he can't say how they did it, because if he did, it would effect other North Koreans from being able to do it as well. The South Korean government is interested in defectors because they bring up to date and current information about inside the DPRK.



    That's incredible. When did you go and for how long? What was the nature of your trip? Can you tell us more about it?



    Ha yes, two very different things!
    I lived in Tanzania, Africa at the time and was playing for a quite good soccer team, it was during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I was in Beijing and North Korea. We were mainly at a camp off in the middle of a forest with a lake, it was like a sports camp where other communist countries sent their other youth soccer teams.. I can't quite recall many of the other places the people were from as many of them didn't speak English, but there was alot of Russians (mostly Russian females - Yes I had a rather good time with a few haha)..

    A few things that I noted

    -They took our cellphones and cameras upon landing in the airport and placed them into safety deposit boxes, and returned them when we were departing.

    -Whenever we travelled we were using a large bus and were watched at all times when being driven anywhere. We had to have our "guides" or whoever was watching over us get permission whenever bringing us places and it was a rather long process sometime (Sitting in the bus for a while before going anywhere)

    -We stayed at two main places:
    a huge building that was essentially a hotel (it felt government ran though) that had a pool and tons of rooms -very basic
    a camp in rural North Korea (Not sure where - I have the names written down somewhere could dig it up)

    -I saw alot of billboards with propaganda against the USA, alot of them looked really aggressive, like I remember seeing a US soldier where it said USA under his uniform pocket and him being attacked or something..

    -Many people didn't drive and alot of people rode bicycles everywhere

    -Statues of him everywhere (I have lived in places where many people bow to various statues but never ones made of a Man) and them bowing to him constantly

    -The country overall looked very very basic and clean from where we were, the rural area's I saw when travelling to this "camp" many of the people looked very very poor

    -Many army/police in uniforms everywhere managing traffic/etc (Did alot of weird routines while directing traffic and were super strict about their form doing so)

    -Only called home twice over my span of roughly 3 weeks there (My Parents were worried sick - They had no way to contact me - During the entire calls someone was seated on a chair beside me and was listening to what I was saying, I was also told every call is audited ontop of that aswell.. Also the call costed a lot)

    -The main part of the stuff I saw reminded me of some type of anime show with cobblestone looking round bridges and people biking everywhere

    It's pretty late and I probably left some other stuff out, but I was only 13 at the time too.

    Many people don't believe me so I've made an effort to make sure I never lose the passport with that stamp, and the few pictures I have aswell.

    edit: Also ate dog without knowing it (yes srs)
    Last edited by Zayah; 12-26-2015 at 04:16 AM. Reason: dog

  7. #17
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    Wow that's crazy. Any chance you could share the pictures you mentioned? Did you see any other sports besides soccer while you were there?

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by FFF View Post
    Wow that's crazy. Any chance you could share the pictures you mentioned? Did you see any other sports besides soccer while you were there?
    Sure can, I will find the pictures later on tonight and post them

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zayah View Post
    Sure can, I will find the pictures later on tonight and post them
    That would be much appreciated.

    Speaking of futbol, my readings have finally touched (briefly) upon athletics. The book I'm currently working through Aquariums of Pyongyang: 10 years in a North Korean Gulag discusses the 1966 World Cup Team. Apparently after their first win against Italy in the final round, the team hit the town and partied pretty hard. Two days later they dropped a 3-0 lead against Portugal and lost 5-3. Everyone on the team was sent to a prison camp upon returning home, with the exception of one team member who didn't go out the night of the party because he wasn't feeling well. The author of the book met one of the team members while in a camp, apparently the former soccer star had a knack for surviving the "sweat box" a punishment device that claimed quite a few lives, but the futballer managed a 3 month stint in one...

  10. #20
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    A little update on my current read The Aquariums of Pyongyang: 10 Years in a North Korean Gulag:
    The author is finally telling of his release from the camp and is reintergrating into society. Here are some of the more brutal highlights from his time in the camp:

    -Camp prisoners are forced to do hard labor 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have daily quotas they must hit, and if they don't they are punished with more work.

    -Many prisoners develop a disease called pellagra from all the corn they eat (which is about the only thing they can eat). The skin becomes rough and distorted and it can be fatal. The cure? Just a small bit of meat introduced into the diet. A luxury they're never afforded unless they can catch rats and eat them.

    -The bathrooms are a small hut with a few holes in the ground. When the holes become full, prisoners must empty them. In the winter time the feces freezes and you have to chip away at it to make room for more when you go to the bathroom.

    -Prisoners are given 1 outfit every 2 years. This includes only 1 pair of socks every two years.

    -Sex in the camp is strictly forbidden. If any woman becomes pregnant they are forced to abort the baby, often times simply from beatings by the guards.

    -Most people die from sickness or famine, or accidents at work. Many of the jobs required of the prisoners are extremely dangerous. Many people are executed for various reason. When someone is executed it is done publicly, and attendance is mandatory. Prisoners are then required to "stone" the dead body afterwards.

    -No one there knows how long their prison sentence is, however if you do something that deserves punishment by being put in the "sweat box" it adds 5 year to your sentence. The sweat box is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. it's a box so small that you can't stand up or lie down in it. You're forced to crouch with your butt on your heels. Apparently it's so tight that your heels dig in to your butt and cause massive bruising. Due to the lack circulation most people die in the box.

    -If you're lucky enough to be released from the camp you're forced to sign a document stating you will not discuss anything that happens in the camp or anything that you saw while there. If you talk, you're sent back or to an even worse place.

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