Monday, June 3, 2013

Children's Day in North Korea

You may know that North Korea just celebrated its children's day. You may also know that North Korea is a very private, hermit-like country with controlled output so that much of North Korean life is a mystery outside of propaganda videos and information from the rare tourist.

North Korea, with its population of 24 million, celebrates International Children's Day on June 2nd every year.

In many countries, Children's Day represents a day "commemorating the rights and freedom of young people." But this year, North Korea came under fire for its celebrations.

 North Korea's Children's Day

As background, the United States and South Korea are allies with each other and enemies with North Korea since the Korean War which divided the peninsula in the 1950s. Recently, North Korea has been testing nuclear missiles. The US and the UN have attempted numerous sanctions against the isolated nation for its nuclear activity. Also recently, North Korea declared an end to the armistice that stopped the fighting from the Korean War and made videos meant to threaten Washington D.C., Seoul, and other locations within North Korea's two enemy nations.

With tensions high, North Korea's dislike of the United States also spilled over into Children's Day. The festivities seemed to highly emphasize militarization and enemyhood with the United States. The parade featured fake vehicles designed as tanks with missiles on the side. Kids were dressed in army uniforms. Another event, featuring archery, called upon kids to shoot arrows at a caricature of a US soldier.

 A North Korean girl fires an arrow at a target made to look like a US soldier

The relationship between North Korean children and its government is commonly likened to indoctrination, even outside of Children's Day. Many children are inducted into the "Korean Children's Union" and told to call leader Kim Jong-Un "father."

First steps into tyranny: North Korean children stand in line while officers tie bandanas around their necks at a ceremony to induct them into the Korean Children's Union

Sources: Wikipedia, MSN news, Daily

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