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North Korea: Beyond the Headlines

Dick Simon | Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

The Arrirang Games feature over 100,000 dancers, acrobats and other performers. Here displaying the North Korean (DPRK) flag with a ‘card trick’, thousands of placards are held up to create massive scale images as a backdrop for the performers.

In September 2012, I led a group of 16 top CEOs from 9 countries to North Korea. We were seeking to get behind the headlines and garner a better understanding of a country often referred to as the ‘Hermit Kingdom’.

Before visiting North Korea, I believed that it was impossible for foreign tourists to enter the country and that it would be very dangerous to travel there. Friends and family members were concerned that I might be detained, imprisoned in a labor camp, brainwashed, or worse. Media accounts and documentaries portrayed North Koreans as goose-stepping caricatures, starving peasants, or enslaved masses, validating those stereotypes.

Unfortunately, the mythology surrounding North Korea drives international policy. A nuanced understanding of the complexities involved would be beneficial for everyone.

In September 2012, I led a group of 16 top CEOs from 9 countries to North Korea. We were seeking to get behind the headlines and garner a better understanding of a country often referred to as the ‘Hermit Kingdom’.

Before visiting North Korea, I believed that it was impossible for foreign tourists to enter the country and that it would be very dangerous to travel there. Friends and family members were concerned that I might be detained, imprisoned in a labor camp, brainwashed, or worse. Media accounts and documentaries portrayed North Koreans as goose-stepping caricatures, starving peasants, or enslaved masses, validating those stereotypes.

Unfortunately, the mythology surrounding North Korea drives international policy. A nuanced understanding of the complexities involved would be beneficial for everyone.

Peace Action Network (www.pannetwork.org), East West Coalition (www.eastwestcoalition.org), Pyongyang Project (www.pyongyangproject.org), Young Presidents' Organization-YPO (www.ypo.org)

Dick Simon
www.dicksimon.com
dick@dicksimon.com
+1 617-417-0327

 

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