Sunday sees a huge birthday celebration in North Korea. Dazzling displays of discipline and devotion are expected for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state.
Tens of thousands of local citizens will march in a painstakingly rehearsed parade which is bound to include at least some of the North’s coveted military hardware. Even foreign television crews have been allowed in to the usually secretive state.
The cameras will most likely be told where to point and shoot. What they will fail to capture is the months and sometimes years of painful practice.
“These parades are emblematic of Pyongyang’s ‘theatre state’, with tens of thousands of people mobilised in de-individualised displays of patriotic zeal, leader adulation and archaic ideological slogans,” says Sokeel Park from Liberty in North Korea, an international non-governmental organisation…