An Australian grad student in North Korea pens a little travelogue for the Guardian. The author offers not a hint of irony in this lovely snapshot of the good life in Pyongyang. The reader has no idea if the author is a sincere apologist for the evil regime or if the author was not allowed — or simply feared — publishing something without a word of morally serious criticism for one of the worst police states in the history of the world. No mention whether the packed restaurants are only for the party elites who have access to hard currency — or really wealth of any kind. The only real hint that things aren’t totally swell in the Democratic Peoples’ Republic was this tidbit about how he can’t stay in touch with his former roommate.
Now that he’s moved out of the dorm I’m unable to contact him again — foreigners’ phone numbers are on a separate network and meeting locals without an express reason is generally frowned upon. Saying goodbye was emotional.
I’ll bet. We’ll find out later if his roommate is in a labor camp.