The kings of the land?
“Children are the kings of the land”. It was a famous word from the late North Korean President Kim Il-sung. Since 1976 the official principle “Children should enjoy the very best resource” has been in law. – But is that really the case in North Korea?
What do we know about the life of the children in North Korea?
Most of what we know about the life of children in North Korea we learn from people who were able to flee North Korea. Most of them have experienced terrible things, including the death of their parents for many children. You come alone, are left to your own devices or are dependent on help. When children flee from North Korea to South Korea, they experience a completely different world there, which they first have to get to know and in which they have to learn to find their way around.
North Korean children in South Korea
These children are now living abroad. South Korea is an unknown country to them and even the language is different. They left their relatives and friends behind and it is not uncommon for them to feel guilty that they are better off than their friends back home. South Korean children of the same age had a different childhood and North Korean children often feel inferior to them. Precisely because there are many things that they do not yet know and have no way of getting to know them.
Street children in North Korea
We do not know how many children live on the streets in North Korea, a country located in Asia according to allcountrylist. Here we have to rely on descriptions from children who managed to escape from North Korea. Some tourists who were allowed to travel the country also tell of street children or children who simply sit on the curb without their parents and do nothing or play with things that are on the ground.
School in North Korea
In North Korea, schooling is compulsory for eleven years. When the children are 16, school is over for them. But even then you don’t start to shape your own life according to your own ideas, because most men and a few women now go to the army for eight years. After that, only a few attend a high school that corresponds to our grammar school. Even fewer go to college or university afterwards. There is only one university in North Korea. By the way, boys and girls attend classes strictly separately.
Propaganda in school
In school, the children are not taught neutrally, instead the communist worldview of their government is conveyed. The children are particularly guided in subjects such as history or social studies. There are subjects in which the children only learn by heart, for example the dictator’s speeches and heroic stories about him. Above all else, besides the wrong learning material, they do not learn one thing: to have their own opinion, to stand by it and to represent it. Anyone in North Korea who disagrees with the government must expect severe penalties, in the worst case even death.
Children in penal camps
In Korea even children have to work in penal camps. Often they are put in a camp with their parents. Some children are even born in such camps. They are political prisoners from birth, although they have never been guilty of anything, not even under Korean law. But since there is a so-called clan liability that punishes the whole family, even small children have to atone for their parents’ “offenses”. It is an offense in itself to have a different political position or to belong to a certain religion.
It doesn’t take that much to get into a camp. Children who grow up in such camps know no other life. You often have to work at the age of six, for example in mines. They are constantly exposed to the arbitrariness of the guards who treat the inmates badly. Children sometimes even have to betray their parents and vice versa.
Where does the hatred come from?
Why should North Koreans hate the US so much? It has to do with the history of North Korea. The aversion between countries of capitalism (USA) and communism (North Korea) deepened especially during the Cold War, when Korea was the scene of a proxy war. Afterwards it remained as a divided country. The two countries developed very differently, North Korea became a communist dictatorship. The conflict is exacerbated today by the fact that North Korea is in possession of nuclear weapons.