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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Key insights from Barbara Demick's

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea


Key insights from Barbara Demick's

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

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Length:
11 minutes

When loyalty and obedience don’t put food on the table.

<p>After communist regimes began to fall around the world, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung doubled down on his totalitarian model of government. The North Korean people have always been taught to reject self in favor of state and to rely upon their leaders for every need. But in the early 1990s, when the lights went out, water stopped running, and food grew scarce, many North Koreans found themselves abandoned by their government. </p><br>

Read this Snapshot if you:

  • Are curious about daily life in North Korea
  • Are interested in the real life stories of defectors from North Korea
  • Care about humanitarian crises
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Introduction

Look at satellite images of East Asia and you’ll see plenty of light: Headlights, streetlights, and neon signs illuminate South Korea, Japan, and China. But there, in the middle of it all, is a swathe of pure black.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea descended into darkness in the early 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed and could no longer prop up North Korea’s struggling economy. Lights went out, buildings and industries fell into ruin, and people went hungry. Today, the streets of North Korea are empty, utilitarian, and dilapidated; there are no advertisements and...

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