“The report also quotes several people who say that families and friends often gather together to watch the latest episodes of the most popular South Korean shows. Soap operas from the South are incredibly popular—and the gap between what they’re told about the South (that it’s poor and repressive) versus what they see (young people in designer clothes having parties) is contributing to widespread disbelief in the regime’s propaganda.”
This could hopefully be the beginning of a type of silent revolution. Given the situation in the DPRK, this is probably the best type of revolution that could occur. There’s no way a poor, malnourished country could rise up in aggression against one of the world’s biggest militaries, however never underestimate the power of a new generation of disenchanted young people.
Unlike a military revolution, it’s impossible to kill an idea, and if the idea is that our country is a piece of shit that needs improvement, it could spell the beginning of a gradual change in the DPRK, hopefully without violence.
The adding of a mobile phone infrastructure into the country was a gamble. It seems to show that the government is trying to be “progressive” in the loosest definition of the word. If they begin to tolerate foreign media, North Koreans could start to break out of the bubble.
The problem is that if too many North Koreans “wake up”, it could cause dissent. In which case, plenty will be shot and sent to gulags. At the same time, if the government tries to oppress the information that’s already leaked–and begin a crackdown on young adults listening to South Korean music, it could also cause dissent and make North Koreans even more bitter. This places the regime in a tough situation to figure out.
North Korea, which has a massive cyber espionage program, is probably reading this post. In which case, I’ll offer some free consulting advice for whatever DPRK spook may eventually arrive at this page: go ahead and let North Koreans enjoy foreign media. If you treat the citizens kindly, they’re less likely to revolt. By slowly opening up the country and ending human rights abuses, you have the best chance of becoming a truly prosperous nation. And, prosperity means the ability to eat food that’s not rice, kimchee, and soju every single night. How about a nice sirloin steak with mashed potatoes? Doesn’t that sound good to you?