a KAFKAESQUE LAND with aspects of BRUEGHEL and a BUCOLIC touch, DPRK


prime PICKINGS from my NORTH KOREAN DIARY 11.–21. April 2011

Tool of the land

A bucolic touch...

As THE TRAIN pulled out of the Korean border station two hours late – the customs inspection had taken over four hours all in all – it suddenly became clear to me that we were on our way to a KAFKAESQUE land with aspects of BRUEGHEL and a BUCOLIC touch.

...as far as the eye could see...

As far as the eye could see: groups of farm workers, schoolchildren moving by foot to the fields, a few on bicycles, detachments of soldiers with shovels, some on military trucks, farm workers with ox carts, men ploughing the field.

men – women – soldiers – children

Men and women of all ages hacking and working in the water channels and the rice fields with almost no mechanized help beside an old tractor here and there, cows pulling the plows, the rest all handwork. Cooperatives and villages dotted the land.

A Cooperative Farm in the background

Farm workers

But the BRUEGHEL and BUCOLIC touch soon gave way to the harsh reality of a hermetically sealed of population with no exit out of the cooperatives, the villages, the cities, the country without official permission. If the desperate and the hungry flee over the border to China, Big Brother shows no pity. He sends them back to North Korea where they end up in labor camps or are shot dead as it had happened during the horrible flooding catastrophe in 1974 when 3 million people died and starvation followed.

One Response to a KAFKAESQUE LAND with aspects of BRUEGHEL and a BUCOLIC touch, DPRK

  1. Pingback: OVERLAND in DPRK « Gozilla

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