So, what’s it like to tour North Korea with rich/famous people?
posted at 2:16 pm on January 22, 2013 by Allahpundit
Blog candy on a slow news day from Sophie Schmidt, daughter of Google bigshot Eric Schmidt, commemorating her visit to the Hermit Kingdom with her father and Bill Richardson a few weeks ago. Lots of photos and totalitarian vignettes at the link, but this is the one that’ll send a shiver down your spine. The scene: The Kim Il Sung University e-Library, i.e. the local college computer lab.
Looks great, right? All this activity, all those monitors. Probably 90 desks in the room, all manned, with an identical scene one floor up.
One problem: No one was actually doing anything. A few scrolled or clicked, but the rest just stared. More disturbing: when our group walked in–a noisy bunch, with media in tow–not one of them looked up from their desks. Not a head turn, no eye contact, no reaction to stimuli. They might as well have been figurines.
Of all the stops we made, the e-Potemkin Village was among the more unsettling. We knew nothing about what we were seeing, even as it was in front of us. Were they really students? Did our handlers honestly think we bought it? Did they even care? Photo op and tour completed, maybe they dismantled the whole set and went home.
When one of our group went to peek back into the room, a man abruptly closed the door ahead of him and told him to move along.
Happy George Orwell Day, Pyongyang.