Understanding Cultures Around the World

The news of the death of dictator Kim Jung-Il of North Korea has created divergent emotions among the population of the entire world.

Many people are relieved to hear of the austere and ruthless dictator’s death.  People from varying countries especially democratic countries such as the United States feel relief that the wave of oppression, which has engulfed North Korea for over 4 decades (Kim Jung-Il reigned from 1994-2011) is hopefully now over.

However, the scene within the country reveals a very different interpretation of the epic event.  Mourners for former North Korean leader lined streets and public squares outwardly lamenting his death.  Cries could be heard at every corner and tears were seen dripping down the faces of North Koreans everywhere.

How can that be, one might ask themselves, if their government was so oppressive?

Understanding different cultures is the key to understanding the reactions of many North Koreans.

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In spite of what seems to be, for at least some, genuine lament for Kim Jung-Il’s death, the Washington Post National has reported that strict punishments will be dealt out to North Koreans who did not seem genuine in their lamenting of the former North Korean leader. 

They purport that punishments will include either six months in a labor camp or a re-education camp.  The North Korean government; however, reports via their news agency KCNA that this is a mere smear campaign.  They officially stated that even bears and magpies lamented their former leader.


Photo Courtesy of REUTERS/Kyodo taken on December 19, 2011

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