- By Carolyn O'HaraCarolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.
Living under a totalitarian regime requires a daily suspension of disbelief. Nowhere is that more true today than in North Korea, where otherwise ethical people contort themselves into untenable moral positions because they’ve bought into the oft-repeated notion that their country is “Paradise on Earth.”
That’s just a snippet of Kim Hyun Sik’s fascinating secret history of Kim Jong Il in the latest issue of FP. As the Dear Leader’s former teacher, Kim offers a rare portrait of the dictator as a young man, and the suspension of reality that he demands his countrymen participate in every day.
An important element of that effort is, of course, fear, but also a bombardment of propaganda. The California Literary Review recently published a handful of incredible propaganda posters from North Korea, and you might imagine that there’s a common theme: Death to the United States. More posters have recently been compiled in this volume by art collector David Heater.
Here are some of the best posters from the CLR’s collection with translations:
“When provoking a war of aggression, we will hit back, beginning with the US!”
“Let’s extensively raise goats in all families!”
“Do not forget the US imperialist wolves!”
Isaac Stone Fish is associate editor at Foreign Policy. Previously a Beijing correspondent for Newsweek, he wrote stories on such subjects as the Dalai Lama’s effect on international trade, China’s love affair with rogue states, and crystal meth in North Korea. His articles have also appeared in the International Herald Tribune, the Economist, and the Los Angeles Times.| Passport |