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North Korean Men; Soldiers and Slaves

Sachin Sharma | Updated on: 25 January 2018, 22:32 IST
Suki Kim in conversation with Michael Breen at JLF

With North Korea making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the session 'Undercover in North Korea ' was well attended by a large number of people who wanted to take a peek inside the life of North Koreans. The session kick-started with English author, consultant and journalist Michael Breen introducing Suki Kim, a Korean American writer. Suki Kim is the author of a New York Times Bestselling literary nonfiction, 'Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea's Elite'.

While demonstrating a number of unseen pictures of the North Korea, its culture, brutal military regime, student life, Suki Kim shared her experiences in North Korea. She started with a picture of Korean peninsula taken by a NASA satellite a few years back that showed the country in complete darkness while the neighboring countries like South Korea were seen with sparkling lights throughout its territory.

Kim shared her journey and experiences via her pictures when she was working as an undercover teacher at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). It must be noted that in 2011 all North Korean universities were shut down for a year and the students were sent to work in construction fields. However, around 300 students of PUST were spared from this order.

Through the session, Suki shared her interactions with students, authorities and in rare cases common people of the now-infamous country. Highlighting the life in the world's most unknowable country she said that people in North Korea have access to only one TV channel and one newspaper that is run content that praises both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

Giving a glimpse of pathetic lives of the students there she said, “On a daily basis student are made to march in two straight lines and sing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea three times a day. She calls these young men "soldiers and slaves."

First published: 25 January 2018, 22:32 IST