Dan Arel’s defense of the murderous authoritarian fascist dictatorship of North Korea is symptomatic of a much larger issue. It shows that propaganda, much like Russia’s campaign leading up to the 2016 election, is extremely effective.
A real thing that was said. Countless news outlets have reported positively on Kim Yo-jong (Kim Jong-un’s sister, and the propaganda arm of the North Korean government). The New York Times said “Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong Un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy.
Then you factor in the ‘cheerleaders’ from North Korea, which much of the media has also embraced, particularly so the ‘clickbait’ sites that are so popular on Facebook.
That is how propganda works. It appeals to your emotions and helps you to forget about things that are actually happening. It helps you forget about the things the creators don’t want you to see by dangling jingly keys in front of you to distract you. In this case, Kim Yo-jong and the North Korean cheerleaders are nothing more than jingly keys.
According to HumanRightsWatch.org:
“North Korea is one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world. In his sixth year in power, Kim Jong-un—the third leader of the dynastic Kim family and head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) who exercises almost total political control—intensified repressive measures; tightened domestic restrictions on travel and unauthorized cross-border travel with China; and punished North Koreans for contacting the outside world. The government continued to generate fearful obedience from citizens by means of threatened and actual execution, detention, and forced labor under harsh, sometimes fatal, conditions.”
This is true, actual fascism.
Sure, North Korea can claim that they have a low homeless rate. And maybe they do. But the majority of those who do have homes only have electricity for a few hours a day. CNN had an excellent documentary called ‘Secret State,’ where they talk about this issue more. (They also covered how many families had to eat tree bark to survive in the recent past.)
Most workers in North Korea make about $4 a day. The “Internet” in North Korea is completely monitored and censored. While healthcare is “free” in North Korea, patients have to pay for their own drugs, pay for the heat, and feed themselves.
The [United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights](United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights) reported that the appalling human rights violations on a scale that is unmatched by any other country in the world. One of those involved in the Commission even said that there are “many parallels” between North Korea and Nazi Germany.
We can even look at the tragic example of [Otto Warmbier,](Otto Warmbier,) who was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of labor for stealing a goddamn poster. Though he was released from North Korea, he had been in a coma (putatively from being beaten) for months, and he died shortly after returning due to his injuries. While I’m sure the people themselves of North Korea are good people, the government is demonstrably not, and deserves absolutely no praise whatsoever.