Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sephia pictures from a dark place

The Washington Post has an article highlighting the first Instagram pictures sent from North Korea. They are being sent by Jean Lee, the Associated Press bureau chief in Pyongyang, a Monster Island favorite.

The picture in this post is supposedly the very first one ever to come out of the reclusive country, which only came about after North Korea decided to allow foreigners in North Korea to have 3G access.

Will this taste of social media change anything? Does it ever?



  1. They've played the West like a twenty-dollar Gibson in a Pete Townshend impersonation contest for so long, maybe they're feeling confident enough to allow this.

    1. It's possible they think they're fooling everyone, but maybe they know they only need to fool a certain segment of the population in order to convince enough of, say, the South Korea or American or Japanese public (or even French, British, or German) to turn public opinion against any military action against the North.

      At the same time, I'm not so sure I agree (with folks like Joshua at One Free Korea) that AP's presence or trips like Dennis Rodman's have no value. Initially, their agency for any change might be a mere drop in the bucket, but enough of them could saturate the country enough that it overwhelms the ideological control systems and perhaps alter views of the West just enough so that a future leader might be willing to change tactics.

      I'm in a public health mood now, so I'm looking at North Korea's control of Western exposure as like zinc protecting the body against a viral infection. The zinc will do a good job of protecting the cell replication sites such that the viruses will have no effect or minimal effect, but eventually if you introduce enough of the virus it will overwhelm the zinc. This will infect and change the host.

      Of course, that makes Westerners the viruses, so that's not an ideal analogy.

  2. I wonder what kind of bureaucratic hoops the AP had to jump through to get to an agreement on the type of photo and the release time.


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