Study Guide

Pyongyang Patriotism

By Guy Delisle


We pledge allegiance to Dear Leader of the horrible dystopia of North Korea. And to his ubiquitous face, though he can barely stand. We are one nation, under Kim, totally divided, with propaganda and poverty for all.

We don’t know Korean, and we doubt this is the pledge of allegiance in North Korea. But the scary thing is that, if these were the words, its people would probably still recite it, and recite it proudly.

Patriotism is pretty much mandatory in North Korea, and by “patriotism” we mean acting like Dear Leader is all that and a bag of almost-expired chips with the label “imported from South Korea” removed, because Kim forbid anyone know you’re relying on assistance from a neighbor.

Okay, deep breath. In Pyongyang, North Korea is a place of mandatory volunteership and mandatory patriotism. Can something be considered patriotic if it’s required?

Questions About Patriotism

  1. We asked it before, and we’ll ask it again: can blindly following your leader be called patriotism?
  2. How does North Korea show its patriotism?
  3. How do you think a North Korean would define the word “patriotism,” if asked?
  4. Would the citizens of North Korea show their pride in their leadership if they weren’t required to?

Chew on This

Enforced patriotism is one of the many methods of North Korean propaganda. If you say something to yourself enough, you might actually believe it. (However: no matter what, we will never believe that Kim Jong-Un is hot.)

The Leaders of North Korea have a serious inferiority complex. They are forcing people to love them, and that’s kind of sad.