Hamburg, Germany—An Ambassador for Peace who has visited North Korea 11 times gave a presentation on the social and political life of this mysterious country.
Jörg Otto, a teacher of German and history at a school for the Danish ethnic minority in the northern German city of Schleswig, gave his presentation on July 15, 2017, to an audience of about 20 listeners.
This was the second lecture on North Korea given by Mr. Otto. On April 29, he spoke mainly about North Korea’s mountainous landscapes and the architecture of the government buildings.
Because of observations made during his 11 tourist visits, in his second lecture Mr. Otto was able to present an internal view of this unique nation.
Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il are honored as the nation’s founders, he said. In years past both leaders were glorified through gigantic theater events in football stadiums.
Nowadays, however, these events no longer take place, as North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong Un, is trying to present a new phase of national development, Mr. Otto said. One of the core ideas of future projects is the reunification of North and South Korea. This is based on the proposal of Kim Il Sung to allow the two Koreas to exist as a federation without a border. To this end, Mr. Otto said, even peace demonstrations are held on the North Korean border.
A further focus of North Korean propaganda, Mr. Otto said, is the Korean War. This war, which was fought from 1950 to 1953, is a source of constant accusations against the capitalist class enemy, namely the United States and South Korea, as well as endless praise for the heroic deeds of the North Korean struggle. North Korea blames South Korea and the United States for starting the Korean War, Mr. Otto said. Since there is only a truce and no peace treaty, this view must be repeated and maintained all the time.
This almost religious framing of the national destiny, combined with a centralist control of everyday life, creates a mixture that seems mysterious, Mr. Otto said.
The many video clips and photographs that he integrated into his presentation transported his listeners for a few hours into another world.