Using balloons to carry forbidden materials into North Korea isn’t new. For years, activists have been using them to float U.S. dollars into the hermit kingdom to alleviate the poverty and misery of whomever might find them.
However, activist Park Sang-hak plans on littering the North with “The Interview,” a movie that is by most accounts not good but which could serve as a very really population control problem for the authoritarian state.
Activist Park Sang-hak said he will start dropping 100,000 DVDs and USBs with the movie by balloon in North Korea as early as late January. Park, a North Korean defector, said he’s partnering with the U.S.-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation, which is financing the making of the DVDs and USB memory sticks of the movie with Korean subtitles.
Park said foundation officials plan to visit South Korea around Jan. 20 to hand over the DVDs and USBs, and that he and the officials will then try to float the first batch of the balloons if weather conditions allow.
“North Korea’s absolute leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down,” Park said by telephone.
Suffice to say, this is the opposite of what the Northern regime wanted when they hacked Sony and then threatened to blow up any theaters that screened the film this month. The point of all that was to keep the film from being released at all and thereby decreasing the chance (presumably to 0%) that anyone in North Korea would ever see it. Instead, with this single act, Sang-hak will be practically guaranteeing that the movie gets around and that means two things.
It means more North Koreans may begin to see dear leader as human and it also means that many North Koreans may be about to experience a lot of pain and death as Kim Jong-un attempts to control who is able to see the film.
In U.S. pop culture, North Korea has become a sort of trope, a kind of ridiculous boogeyman, but it’s important to remember that the misery, hardship, and unmitigated control of their lives North Koreans experience every day is very, very real.
If you’re interested, Frontline has an excellent documentary on North Korea entitled ‘The Secret State of North Korea” here and it’s free. I’m including the trailer for it below and I hope some will take the time to watch it..