Moon Over Yodok

For those who haven’t checked out the latest Clarkesworld, David Charlton’s Moon Over Yodok is a really worthwhile story. Having recently read Kang Chul Hwan’s gluag memoir The Aquariums of Pyongyang, I’ve been cribbing from it in my own depiction of the the Yodok prison camp, so I can’t fault Charlton for his heavy reliance on that text. It’s a worthwhile story and is one more honest look at North Korea, which I think is important in a world where so many are happy to ignore the stories that defectors have been telling us for decades about that place.

And for those who don’t feel like following that last link, it’s to an article in the Chosun Ilbo about how the Seoul government criticized the production of a musical about the Yodok prison camp for “dwelling on the negative aspects of the camp.” I guess you could criticize anti-racists for dwelling on the negative aspects of lynching and the Holocaust, too.

South Korean government agencies are demanding changes to the story, which they say dwells too heavily on the negative aspects of the camp, according to producers. Officials also allegedly invoked the National Security Law to warn producers against showing a portrait of former leader Kim Il-sung and the singing of North Korean songs in the show.

Laws originally designed by dictators to prevent people from falling under the spell of the Communist north are now being invoked to protect the tyranny of Kim Jong-Il. It’s amazing when you think of it.

Anyway… the story’s worth checking out. I wish I’d had a chance to see the musical (though maybe I can get the “movie” section of the show’s website to work?). And I wish I could see this film, too.

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