RE: Introduction to the Cross-Analysis of Life in North Korea
Interesting article, @twotoedsloth!
I think it's impossible to project what the reality is for North Koreans. The regime will only tell us what they want us to know. And sure, Bandi's account is outdated by a couple of decades but I think that it comes closest to imagining what life is for the average North Korean. But the book also makes it clear that it's the voice of the people who are not wealthy or in a position of power.
If the outer modernized world assumes that everyone in North Korea is subject under the same conditions as the ones described in novels such as The Accusation, then everyone is going to assume that even the wealthy and middle class citizens are also going through such conditions. This flawed narrative will have a much more negative perspective on the North Korean regime than they normally are.
I'm not sure I agree with that line of thought. Mostly because I think that it's unfair for us, from the outside, to consider ourselves modernised and North Korea as backward. It's the same narrative of how colonisers considered themselves as 'civilised' and how indigenous tribes were not. Also, just because a few wealthy people in North Korea probably don't have the same lifestyle as the rest of the country, it doesn't reduce the or diminish the reality for the people who are living the lives described in Bandi's book.
I do agree with the undercurrent that North and South Koreans are the same people at the end of the day. And I'm excited to see how this similarity is highlighted in the thesis!