Lately I’ve been having a bit of a conversation with some people about the merits of visiting North Korea. The people I’ve been discussing this with talk about wanting to see what its really like for themselves or want to go and explore places few people have gone to. I’ve been responding that it is wrong to go for moral reasons, namely that by going they would be giving a regime hard currency that is desperate for hard currency, and that by being shown looking in awe of giant statues of Kim Il Sung they are helping perpetuate the myths the country is built on. This conversation didn’t really go anywhere that interesting, mostly I was accused of being a hypocrite for doing things like buying clothes made in a sweat shop or having a bank account while the banks are going out doing horrible things, but someone asked about Cuba.
Reader, what do you think? If it is immoral to visit North Korea, is it immoral to visit other less than democratic states? I think Cuba is different because it isn’t as closed off from the rest of the world, and it doesn’t need hard cash the way that NK needs hard cash, nor is, at least to my knowledge, tourism totally controlled by the state. What about other states, I’m not sure that any meet the criteria that North Korea does, but if I accept that it is immoral to visit North Korea, what criteria would one use for other states? Anyways, I think a lot of the interest in visiting North Korea is from the articles and videos in VICE, such as this one.
I find the articles interesting as well, but still no desire to visit. Now would be a bad time to visit as well.
If any of you do go, please be sure not to dream any different dreams while you are there.