Kim Jong-un Orders Citizens to Give Up their Dogs in light of recent meat shortages
“Some stories have to be written because no one would believe the absurdity of it all.”
― Shannon L. Alder
North Korean authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or are forcefully confiscating them. This morbid and heartbreaking situation is a testament to the absurdity of dictatorship and is yet another tragic moment that will go down in the history books of 2020.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un issued a directive in July to round up the dogs in the capital, claiming that they were part of “a ‘tainted’ trend by the bourgeois ideology”. The country's furry friends, according to him, represent Western “decadence’’ because “Ordinary people raise pigs and livestock on their porches, but high-ranking officials and the wealthy own pet dogs, which stoked some resentment’’.
Loving owners can meet their pets, which are apparently a luxury commodity and a reflection of capitalist extravagance, in state-run zoos and animal sanctuaries. Although, many fear that their beloved companions will end up on a dinner table due to the current state of events.
The country has sporadically imposed a policy prohibiting pet dogs since the 1980s because of “capitalist connotations” and has reportedly also demanded dog fur from citizens in order to make jackets. At the same time, The Pungsan dog is a “national monument” for North Korea and was one of its progeny, a “peace puppy” that crossed a highly fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea in 2018 as a gift to their President Moon Jae-in.
Lest we forget, Kim Jong-un also made headlines when he was accused of feeding his uncle to 120 guard dogs by an unidentified source. The instability and unpredictability of this regime have turned citizens' lives upside down.
The citizens’ fear is completely valid given the following:
1. North Korea is among the world’s poorest nations, with widespread malnutrition.
2. Monitoring groups predict that their harvest is going to be worse than usual.
3. The UN says that 4/10 North Koreans need food aid and about 10 million need it urgently.
4. Crop production is at its lowest level in five years.
5. International sanctions worsen this crisis.
6. In May, food rations that fed about 70% of the North Korean population were cut from 550g (19.5 oz) to just 300g per person following poor yield this harvest year.
7. They experienced severe droughts, a farm-flooding typhoon, irregular rainfall and low reservoir levels during the summer of 2019.
8. Swine fever limited pork production which added to the alarming shortage of protein in their diet. According to a report by the World Food Programme, some families were eating protein only a few times a year.
They are resisting aid from South Korea, which is offering 50,000 tonnes of rice amid shortages of rice, corn, fruit, meat and fish. In fact, the government has begun urging the masses to hunt their own food on the official website, encouraging them to start bagging pheasants (birds). The government is also advertising a small turtle species, the terrapin, as healthy meat that can cure diabetes, obesity, hepatitis, hypertension, malnourishment, etc., and as a lost part of their traditional cuisine
As if shedding light on the gross injustice of this situation, Jong-un boasts a prolific diet of whatever he desires, including Wagyu beef, one of the more expensive styles costing up to $400 for a single steak, and even 10 bottles of Bordeaux in just one day. Moreover, the fate of his own dogs remains a mystery.
Conflicts, privileges and actions like this kindle a fire of resistance and righteousness that have been historically observed in the French Revolution and under despotic monarchies. To think that such a time has passed is wishful thinking and we must open our eyes to these heartless actions and their circumstances. We watch as things are taken away, rights, freedoms, family and loved ones; someday, a line will have to be drawn.
Reporter- Katyayani Nath