North Korea, the totalitarian communist state, is arguably the most pressing threat to world peace. Yet despite the international fear and paranoia surrounding the dictatorship, there’s a lot that the Western world doesn’t know about. We’re almost totally ignorant about what life is like for ordinary Korean people. But now a photojournalist has managed to smuggle candid photographs out of the country and was banned from ever returning to North Korea as a result of their Draconian censorship policies.
The pictures appear to show average North Korean citizen going through their normal routine, Gavin John, the 31-year-old Canadian who took the pictures, believes they actually show a carefully rehearsed performance: a pantomime played out for the benefit of tourists “North Koreans are one of the gentlest people I have ever met, and I bear a burden of sadness knowing that they live under such a harsh regime,” John stated, “We need to understand that the people who will suffer the most in the event of a Second Korean War, regardless of outcome, will be the people of North Korea.” So are these pictures genuine? Or these people just pretending? We may never know, but the pictures themselves provide an interesting insight into the lives of ordinary people.
1. Here you can see the Monument to Party Founding in the background
2. Most of North Korea’s population are military conscripts
3. This is the demilitarised zone dividing the North and South
4. John described the majority of Koreans as good-natured and kind
5. People on the Pyongyang subway
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