Pictured above is the magnificent city of Kijŏng-dong. Built in the 1950’s near the demilitarized zone in North Korea, the city represented an achievement only attainable by the most advanced and prosperous societies. As Wikipedia notes:
The village features a number of brightly painted, poured-concrete multi-story buildings and apartments, many apparently wired for electricity – these amenities represent an unheard-of level of luxury for any rural Korean in the 1950s, north or south. The town was oriented so that the bright blue roofs and white sides of the buildings next to the massive DPRK flag would be the most distinguishing features when viewed from across the border.
The flag pole, stretching an ungodly 160 meters high, is the third largest in the world. After the armistice following the Korean War, this city made it absolutely clear which side of the 38th parallel was more prosperous. There is only one problem.
No one lives there.
That’s right, not a soul. And it’s not a ghost town because no one ever lived there, nor was anyone intended to. Despite propaganda from North Korea to the contrary, “Scrutiny with modern telescopic lenses, however, reveals that the buildings are mere concrete shells lacking window glass or even interior rooms.” It’s nothing but it’s nickname; The Propaganda City.
So why would a dirt poor country build an empty city “at great expense?” Well ask a stupid question and get a stupid, communist dictator. This one was on the Great Leader, Kim il-Sung, the dead, but still eternal president (making North Korea what Christopher Hitchens respectfully refers to as “the world’s only necrocracy”). His son, Kim Jong-il (the Dear Leader), has certainly followed in his footsteps. The totalitarian stupidity isn’t enough; he’s got to get his drink on.
CNN reported that Kim Jong-il is the best customer of Hennessey on the planet, spending an average of $630,000 to $720,000 on it per year. Just for reference, the average North Korean makes about $900 a year.
Perhaps the copious amounts of alcohol were what convinced Kim Jong-il that the Arirang Festival is a good idea. The two month long festival takes place every year to celebrate the birth of its Eternal Leader with as many as 100,000 performers! It literally has to be seen to be believed:
Now in a country where virtually everyone is starving, why on Earth would you spend the fortune required to put this thing together? Well, when you’re a communist dictator, you do what you want, however stupid it may be.
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