North Korea is widely considered one of the world’s most isolated nations and, most recently, it was rated the worst place to be a Christian. This week, though, a U.S.-based human rights organization partnered with activists in South Korea to try and “hack” through the ideological bubble created by Kim Jong-un’s repressive regime.
The Human Rights Foundation teamed up with Fighters for a Free North Korea, led by North Korean defector Park Sang Hak, to educate citizens in the isolated East Asian country by sending giant balloons filled with pamphlets about democracy, U.S. $1 bills, DVDs showing South Korean soap operas and USBs loaded with Wikipedia data.
According to a press release distributed by the Human Rights Foundation, Wednesday’s release of the balloons was done in an effort to help “break the regime’s information monopoly.”
“These balloons are an information lifeline to ordinary North Koreans, who have no means to learn about the world beyond the lies of their government,” Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen said in the statement.
He continued, “The international community often focuses on how little we know about life inside North Korea — but the real story is that North Koreans know little to nothing about the world we live in. Most are unaware that there is an alternative to repressive tyranny. We are helping to change that.”
Halvorssen told TheBlaze that the organizations sent 14 20-foot balloons over the border, containing a total of 500,000 leaflets containing democratic ideals. There’s no telling where these materials will land or what impact they will have, though the organization is tracking their whereabouts.
“We use GPS devices,” he said of tracking the balloons. “But on the ground the arrival of the material is anecdotal. It’s not like they can text or email.”
Halvorssen said that educating the masses is the project’s central goal — one that has inflamed North Korea and led to threats of retribution by its government.
This isn’t the first time that balloons have been sent over the border and might not be the last, as activists plan to continue working to help North Koreans see the dire conditions they are living in.
The Human Rights Foundation plans to continue “disrupting the North Korean regime” throughout 2014.
Featured image via Human Rights Foundation.
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