July 27 – Victory Day in North Korea

Posted on July 27, 2015

Last September, I wrote about North Korea on the day of one of its patriotic holidays. Well, as it turns out, it has various patriotic holidays three months in a row: July, August, and September. Today is considered “Victory Day” - the day to celebrate the end of the Korean War in 1953.

The Korean name for this holiday translates as “Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War.”

It's interesting that North Korea claims victory – because of course most historians say that the war ended in a stalemate—with Korea returning to the way things were before the war—and a few say that North Korea lost the war, as it was trying to expand and swallow up South Korea, and was prevented from doing so.

But that's North Korea for you: a place where propaganda about the nation's and its leaders' supposed greatness is everywhere, where MISinformation about the rest of the world abounds, where actual information from reliable sources is hard to find. I read a few articles that claim that most people know that the propaganda isn't true—they sense that they are being lied to—but, still, the people who have managed to get out of North Korea and see the world for themselves are shocked to see HOW MUCH they've been lied to!

And cities and towns in North Korea looks a bit like ghost towns...

As I wrote in my last post, North Korea is almost as dark, on nighttime satellite photos, as the ocean that surrounds the Korean peninsula. That makes South Korea look like an island!

And every photo of North Korea shows almost-empty roads.

I think this is a Google Earth shot?
Most photos of almost-empty roads
are from surreptitious photos by
rare visitors or journalists.
I saw quite a few photos of traffic officers,
but zero photos of traffic.
10 lanes wide...for what?

Lest you think that photographers took these photos during really off-times, here is a video of sparsely-used street after street. Most of the people using the roads are on bicycle or foot. And remember that this video is of Pyongyang, the largest, most populous city – and the capital city – of North Korea. If that city seems like a ghost town, what must the other towns look like?

Here are some more photos that show city scenes that are decidedly under-populated: 

Notice that the playground ride is shaped like a ballistic missile!

I found a few photos in which these monuments were surrounded by lots of people,
but in general the squares are empty or practically empty.

This was captioned "Children at a rural shop."
So...this little stand is a "shop"? Yikes!
See? Practically empty squares...

...and temples...
This is a zoo. North Korea is one place in which it is NOT
correct to say, "Wow, the zoo is a zoo today!"

 Some of the photos released by the North Korean government show PLENTY of people who participate in mass games and mass dances:

Also on this date:

Guelaguetza Festival in Oaxaca

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