I come from a North Korean ancestry, meaning that my ancestors were born and raised in the northern parts of the Korean peninsula. It makes me cringe to think of the possibility that, if my ancestors hadn’t moved south, I would be living in North Korea right this moment. I shudder, thinking of all the restrictions I just could have been living under, like the law that establishes cell phones as dangerous and illegal. The use of cell phones had always either been minimal or banned in North Korea up until 2008. Since then, the number of cell phone users had been growing gradually and it is now about to reach its one millionth user.
I believe this means something more than just a technological advance (seeing that the North Koreans are already very advanced with nuclear bombs, which are way above the level of cell phones). This means good news for us capitalists. I believe that, as the North Korean citizens who were so isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, starts to use the technology that the rest of the world uses, they will start looking for more ways to indirectly connect with other societies, to achieve a sense of belonging. They will want more changes and developments. Maybe this brewing desire of the people would burst out and lead to an overthrowing of this North Korean government!
That would just be the naïve and desperate wish of a dreamer. Of course the North Korean government would not allow themselves to be overthrown, especially by the people who they played god over. These cell phones are probably the one of the only things in North Korea that does not have the government fully interfering. It’s one of the closest things the North Koreans have to freedom. Everything they watch, hear, read, and even think over there is a product that has gone through under the meticulous scrutiny of the censorship laws. This is unfair and cruel to the people. They are people with the equal rights as all of the other people in the world! Who is Kim Jung Il that he controls life and death and happiness and pain of the people.
I felt that the banning of the use of cell phones was a sign of weakness in our all powerful, dear leader, as he probably already saw the possibility of his power collapsing through the chain of events that may be triggered by the use of cell phones. I’m sure that there is a deeper purpose under this rapid increase of the use of this capitalist device—perhaps a show of freedom, or another carefully crafted method, to brainwash his puppets, but disguised in a harmless way.
North Korea is like the happy, seemingly innocent theme parks, with the smiling mascots and jolly music playing—everything seems fine on the surface. However, all this is planned and faked. People are brainwashed and hurt (hurt would be an understatement) and all their freedom is stripped from them. They can be put on capital punishment for almost anything they do. Frankly, there’s almost nothing we can do from outside the tightly sealed walls of North Korea, no matter how much we wish for the freedom of the people. Although many would argue that this is an over idealistic and overrated thing to do, all we can do is pray, pray, and pray. Keep the struggling North Koreans in our thoughts and hope for the best, as the end of the all powerful leader’s reign approaches closer and closer each day.