North Korean residents increasingly cynical about loyalty to the regime

Kim Chae Hwan  |  2017-05-24 17:40
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A man in his 40s living in Musan County, North Hamgyong Province, lost his son during the widespread flooding that occurred last summer and bitterly regrets the turn of events. His son reportedly drowned while the father was trying to save portraits of the Kim family.
"A man who chose to save portraits of the Kim family over the life of his own son is now regretting his decision bitterly. People around him are saying, 'How could you let your son drift away just so you could save the portraits? a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on May 22.
Another man in his 30s who lived in Onsong County lost his life while trying to protect a wall mosaic of the Kim family from drifting debris during the flood. But the authorities have yet to offer his family their condolences.

As previously reported by Daily NK, many residents lost their lives while trying to protect idolization materials during the flooding last summer. However, the regime has chosen to only publicize some cases for propaganda purposes, and has not even offered funeral support for the rest.
The North Korean authorities emphasize the need to protect idolization materials such as portraits of the Kim family at all costs, and severely punish those who fail to do so. For this reason, residents are forced to try and save the portraits during natural disasters, but only out of fear.
"During the floods, there wasnt much time to reflect because there were so many deaths across the region. But recently, an increasing number of residents are openly lamenting the deaths of those who wasted their lives for what they see as an absurd cause," a separate source in North Hamgyong Province added.
In addition, as the regime conducted a nuclear test immediately after the flood last year, and continues with successive missile launches, many struggling residents point out that the funds could have instead been used to purchase tombstones for the dead. 
Many residents are said to be criticizing the regime, saying, "They should at least express their condolences to the family of the victims even if they cannot offer a material reward," and, "The idolization installations being built across the country now are only a future liability."

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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