Last month, I stood on a parapet in the Joint Security Area, the southernmost area of the DMZ that between North and South Korea. Through the telephoto lens of my camera, I scanned Propaganda Village, a fake town built by the North in an attempt to show how prosperous they are.
But it's nothing more than set. The buildings are empty. No one lives there. No one ever did.
Dotting the landscape are speakers for shouting propaganda, cameras, guard posts and signal-jamming towers. In the far distance, it's possible to see the hillsides denuded of all trees as northerners cut down anything they can find for firewood.
For a while, I watched a little guy with oversized binoculars stare right back at me. I wondered what he was thinking.
North Korea is a very, very weird place. Its citizens are fed a stead stream of Stalinist dogma as many of them starve to death. Those access outside media are subject to imprisonment or worse. Most of the country has no idea what's going on beyond their borders.
Except, that is, for PSY's "Gangnam Style." The North Korean government, led by the chubby Kim Jong-un, has seen fit to use the "Gangnam Style" video as part of its anti-South, anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist propaganda. Check out the video.
The New York Times has a story on the subject but doesn't provide a translation. Can anyone help?