Pyongyang has no shortage of very impressive Stalinist architecture.
Posted on November 15, 2017
This article appears in Globerovers December 2017
At the top of the attractions list is to watch a few local TV stations! All North Korean television stations are propaganda machines, promoting the Worker’s Party position and demonising all things Western. The typical programming includes news (watch out for the famous lady Ri Chu–hee), revolutionary operas, patriotic music, marching bands, army choirs, documentaries about the Worker’s Party, military parades, locally produced movies, and lately a lot of footage showing Marshall Kim Jong-un and his very happy and satisfied interactions with his subjects. I did not notice any TV commercials for products or services. During the weather forecast you will see one Korean country going all the way down to Jeju Island off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula.
A trip to North Korea is not complete without the sites they want you to see: the showpieces of the regime, the points of hero worship such as Kim Il-sung Square and the towering statues at Mansudae Grand Monument where we had to bow in front of the statues of the two dead leaders. It was no big deal at all, so we just did it. The Tower of Juche with its stunning views over Pyongyang, the Founding Party Monument, the captured American spy ship USS Pueblo at the War Museum … so many places they wanted to show us! We ran out of time and could not see the War Museum, but our minders then arranged with the museum to open one hour earlier to accommodate my friend and I, and two people to show us the museum. Their agenda was obvious. As we started with a 15 minutes long propaganda video about “how the American Imperialists started the war”, I asked if we could skip the video and see more of the museum, but were told we had to watch the video.