Here is an interesting interview with a journalist who worked for six months as an English teacher in North Korea:
In 2011, American journalist Suki Kim secured a job teaching English at an all-male university in North Korea. Pyongyang University of Science and Technology had just 270 students, all of whom were the sons of North Korean elites.
Kim spent six months at the college, recording notes for what would become her 2014 book, Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite.
Last week, after the news that North Korea had conducted yet another missile test, I reached out to Kim by phone. Her perspective is valuable and rare; few Americans have spent much time on the ground there. I wanted to know what daily life was like for average citizens of North Korea, the world’s most reclusive country.
“The level of fear is unimaginable,” she told me. “It’s possible to be both happy and terrified all at once, and I think that’s the case for many North Koreans.” [VOX.com]
Here is a small snippet from the interview:
If the Kim Jong Un regime were to collapse tomorrow, and North Koreans were suddenly liberated, how do you think they would react?
I feel like they would probably be relieved about the system. But I also think they’d find something else to believe in absolutely, some kind of faith that requires total fidelity. There’s a deeper layer of psychological trauma here that is difficult to grasp. I think they’re conditioned to follow whoever is in power, whoever is appointed the leader.
We’ve now had three generations of tyrannical rule and abuse, and people who have lived under this their entire life have never thought for themselves. How do you fully account for that kind of damage? My suspicion is that they’d blindly follow whoever would ascend to power. I hate to say it, but the soil is ripe for future dictatorships.
You can read the whole interview at the link.