Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Why would an American or anybody of any nationality for that matter want to go to North Korea?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30552points) April 25th, 2014

Unless you’re fabulously wealthy and internationally famous, why would you want to go there? I don’t understand why the fabulously wealthy and internationally famous want to go either.

Today’s article

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36 Answers

DominicX's avatar

To be different? To go against the grain? Morbid curiosity?

I’d never want to go there, but I can see how some people might be interested in visiting the world’s only nationwide cult.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I don’t know why any ordinary person would see NK as a tourist destination. But if the person were a journalist, or a sociologist, or a missionary, or a student of art or architecture, or a historian… I’m sure there are reasons to want to go even if not on “official business.”

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

So that the media can backdoor all the BS against the N. Koreans on missile test into the news, without saying that is the main reason they covered the story.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central What? I cannot parse your post. “Backdoor” is not a verb.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ I guess I suppose everyone uses the same phrasing as here, which the use could be considered slang; to backdoor is to sneak something in, like when you were young and went to the movies and tried to sneak people in the back exit, or your door in back of your house without your folks seeing it.

CWOTUS's avatar

Right. It’s not like anyone ever came from Korea or anything…

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@CWOTUS You are correct. I made too sweeping a generalization with my title question.

Let me rephrase it:

Why would any American or anybody of any nationality not of Korean descent want to go to North Korea?

Is that better?

Blondesjon's avatar

I would go for the oppressive totalitarianism and stay for the kimchi.

syz's avatar

It’s not on my travel list.

johnpowell's avatar

Well, there were the kids that got solitary in Iran for a few years. They wrote books and got on The Daily Show. Maybe they think this is the path to fame. I wouldn’t be all that surprised when “social media consultant” is a real job.

If you ask me it is dumb and crazy.

zenvelo's avatar

Ego. Some people just think that what ever applies to people in general does not apply to them.

@johnpowell Those kids that got caught in Iran were not trying to get in, they were trying to look over the border, but were captured on Iraqi soil. The woman of the three is from around here, and I saw her interviewed.

johnpowell's avatar

Oh totally. I get looking over line mapped out on a GPS to see more rocks that look just like the rocks I am standing on.

There is nothing to see on the border.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

They wrote books and got on The Daily Show. Maybe they think this is the path to fame.
Don’t bet the farm it won’t. I bet we will not pass away before Hollywood decides to make a movie out of the book, maybe because things are slow in the film biz.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Because issuing edicts that one’s subjects get haircuts matching his is the sign of a truly great leader.

CWOTUS's avatar

Even so, @Hawaii_Jake, there are people who have Korean friends, spouses, in-laws… or even a simple humanitarian desire to “fix things” in NK, just like many Yankees did in the bad old days of Jim Crow legislation and the Civil Rights movement in the 60s. Who would have wanted to go to Mississippi then?

kritiper's avatar

Someone might go there to kill Kim Jong Un.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@CWOTUS How can I word this question so it will be acceptable? or is the idea behind the question too outlandish?

CWOTUS's avatar

You may not appreciate the thought, but… it seems that you have a bias against North Korea. I don’t think you’d like to be thought of as biased, but there it is.

I see this with people I work with from time to time, who consider themselves (and whom I generally consider, as well) to be pretty enlightened and open-minded, but when talking about construction practices in India explain that “They” just can’t get it (meaning tight tolerances, adherence to international best practices and quality and safety standards).

I mean, I understand that Indian construction practices, quality and safety is generally awful, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved. (“They” built the Taj Mahal, after all!)

In the same way, though North Korea sounds and looks like a hellhole from all of the video and description and narrative from escapees that I’ve ever witnessed, surely it can be improved. Some people want to have a hand in that. I wish them well.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

People not Korean go there under orders.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@CWOTUS You are utterly mistaken. If I have a bias, it is against people who travel to North Korea and throw fits while passing through immigration. I have a bias against innately stupid actions.

If you go to North Korea and have a tantrum at immigration, you will be arrested, imprisoned, and possibly tortured. I personally would like to avoid that, and I do not understand why anyone would knowingly put themselves in that kind of harm’s way.

I have no bias against Koreans of the north or the south.

You could have simply answered the question with an explanation close to the one you’ve given above, but you decided to make this personal. You decided to make this simple question about me instead of about the subject at hand. It’s possible on Fluther to make absolutely any question about the questioner and skip the subject altogether. I just asked a question about eggs with double yolks. That could turn into a long harangue about a problem with my vision.

North Korea is a hellhole. The United Nations just published a lengthy study of its grotesque human rights abuses. I will not take time now to search for the link to that study, because it’s Friday night, and I have plans.

CWOTUS's avatar

For fuck’s sake, Jake, you asked a question and I responded to “the question”. I had not looked at the article, for whatever reason, but I’ve been responding to “the question/s that you asked”. The questions I keep seeing are “Why would anyone want to go there?” and not “Why would anyone act this way when he went there?”

That’s a different question.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@CWOTUS You wrote, ” seems that you have a bias against North Korea.” How is that not twisting this thread and making the subject about me and my views of a topic?

You then went on to describe how the attitude you have assigned me is similar to those of your co-workers who demonstrate intolerance about construction practices in India.

Am I not supposed to read what you wrote and not come away thinking that I’m an ass?

CWOTUS's avatar

Where do I start here, @Hawaii_Jake?

I don’t want this – never wanted this – to be an attack on you, and it isn’t. (And I wouldn’t say that my co-workers “demonstrate intolerance”, only that they have a certain closed-mindedness about that topic.) Your question, without direct reference to the article that you linked, does demonstrate a sort of closed-mindedness. “Why would anyone want to go there?” is a question that could, I suppose, be asked in an entirely neutral way: “Name some reasons that a person might want to go to France”, for example, would produce some positive reasons why people might have a reason to go there. But the tone that’s generally adopted with “Why would anyone want to…” questions is not typically an open, welcoming and positive one. You admitted as much.

I don’t think you’re an ass, @Hawaii_Jake, in case there’s any question on that, but I think we all have blind spots, don’t we? Or when I admit that I certainly do, does that make me an ass? All I meant to say was that your question “as asked” indicated a certain bias. Had you worded it as I suggested in my previous post, then it would have been perhaps the question you meant to ask.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


jca's avatar

Just a guess, but I am thinking what @Hawaii_Jake meant was more like:

“Why would anybody want to go to a country where it’s likely they will be arrested unjustly, without cause, and possibly imprisoned in a work camp without any logical trial, when there are plenty of other places in the world to visit that are equally, if not more beautiful and interesting and that might be a tad bit safer?”

CWOTUS's avatar

Now I’m not sure if you’re talking about North Korea or the USA, @jca.

jca's avatar

@CWOTUS: You are funnnny!

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^^^ Ahh..

The inevitable United States bashing.

No thread’s complete without it.

Berserker's avatar

Starcraft tournaments.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

In the same way, though North Korea sounds and looks like a hellhole from all of the video and description and narrative from escapees that I’ve ever witnessed, surely it can be improved.
Interesting thought in general, if they are escapees who would expect them to say anything positive about N. Korea; in fact, would you not expect them to embellish the worse about N. Korea?

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Apparently, once you get away from the towns and cities, Nature is quite beautiful over there. My Uncle shared some pics from touring N. Korea and it’s a bit breath taking. The towns and cities, not so much.

Paradox25's avatar

The reasons are probably as varied as there are other ‘odd’ travel destinations that one could visit. Every place on Earth has something unique about itself, and I’m sure there’s a wealth of natural beauty in North Korea. Perhaps the danger appeal or curiosity turns some people on too. Others, such as celebrities, may do this for more publicity. I think most of us are interested in the ‘forbidden’ in some form or another, and what it hides, but I’d be weary of traveling to a country ran by a paranoid government myself regardless of my own curiosity.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I agree. But I’ve also been thinking in this question in another context… I know people who simply don’t prioritize politics in their thinking at all. I am the kind of person who has trouble being friends with or dating someone who has political views that are very different from mine. But others just don’t consider it, ever. It’s entirely possible that, for some, the political situation in North Korea is the least important thing about that country, and that its leadership is no mental barrier for people who are interested in travel for whatever reason.

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves: Yes, but applying for a visa has to be way more time consuming and laborious than just using a passport, and a travel to a country like N Korea would require a visa.

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