[imText1]It is fully an autumn in September and October. Because the temperature falls lower than South Korea in North Korea, autumn is shorter and by the end of October, the weather turns already cold as early winter.
Autumn is also a season for harvest in North Korea. During the harvesting period, North Korean people put all their efforts in storing food for the winter and early spring, the time they will be short on food without a doubt. During this period, people cannot enjoy the joy of harvest, but rather fall into agony for they know their matter of survival will entirely depend on how many grains of rice they can save.
For this reason they call a month period between September and October “the month of bat” in North Korean slang. The reason is because during this period people go out in search for food only at night just like bats. Let’s look into how autumn life is for the people in North Korea.
Like Robots During the Day
In autumn, there are two important national holidays in North Korea. They are the “Regime Establishment Day” (September 9) and the “Worker’s Party Foundation Day” (October 10).
For this reason in the fall, people suffer from various kinds of idolization education. Just as other holidays, people watch ceremonies on TV (live programs), and have to attend different series of lectures on revolution history and other education programs. Of course, they are all on Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il idolization and brain washing education. Especially this year that it is the 60th anniversary of the “Worker’s Party Foundation Day,” education must have intensified.
Yet the education (program) contains two contradicting contents. On one hand it encourages people’s faith (in the state) but on the other it arouses fear. While it educates people that when all the people become Kim Jong Il –ists and unify the nation, they will be able to live a much better life, yet it creates fear by proclaiming that those who oppose to this idea are traitors thus must be executed.
Due to such blind faith and fear which they have been brain washed by throughout their lives, they could not think otherwise. However, after the food crisis, people were able to slowly open their eyes. There are only few who take notes in the lectures these days. They cannot even feed themselves, how could they concentrate in the lectures?
The state posts same slogans every year.
“Let’s welcome the state (or the Worker’s Party)’s ○○th anniversary, with brightening effort and results.”
People are so fed up with these slogans that there is nobody encouraged such empty words. They now know by experience that even if they have shouted the same slogans over the years, there were never given enough of food. For this reason people move like robots during the day but they become active during the night. They become creative human beings for survival.
Creative Human Beings for Survival
Robbery and looting are commonly practiced in North Korea. During the day they pick their targets (while they act accordingly to the state orders like robots) and during the night everyone becomes active.
The easiest thing to do is stealing food from other people’s family farms. There is a phrase in North Korea, “sack farming.” It refers to the people who steal food carrying a sac from what other people have farmed.
Both the owners (farmers) and robbers cannot sleet at night due to the robbery and looting. Those people who have farms are vigilant to save the farms from robbers and robbers and vigilant to steal from those farms. Whether it is people or robbers, the weak loses and the strong wins. This happens every night in North Korea, across the nation.
In the mid 1990s, there were many people watching over their farms with holding a bat, they have stopped doing this because the robbers throw rocks in groups at the farmers. This is how robbery becomes looting. In the late night, those people who guard their farms gather at their places and those who rob gather in their places and act in plan.
When the sum comes up, those who have been robbed and beat up weep. The weeping brings worse evil doings. Those who have been robbed get involved in “sack farming.” Since they have been robbed, they become bolder in robbing others.
Not only the family farms but the (state owned) cooperative farms also become targets. The only difference is that in the cooperative farms, there are patrols guarding holding guns. The methods of robbing vary. First way is to do easy “sack farming” by bribing the guards. They can bribe with liquor or expensive cigarette filters, and bring a sack full of food.
Sometimes the guards voluntarily bring the food. They ask people to make wine with the food or ask for money to prepare for their life after the military service. They have to make a living too.
Hence, people in North Korea suffer of ideological education during the day and during the night suffer from the evil circle of “rob and robbed.” The Kim Jong Il regime, which is “the worst robber” in North Korea tries to stop robbing by arresting few individuals and executing them. Every time it tries to do that, there is a famous line I remember.
“How is this different from you making robbers yourself and now persecuting them yourself?”
It is a famous saying by Thomas Moore, a medieval philosopher.