Building a Better Potemkin Village

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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea recently completed a new air terminal at the Sunan airport outside Pyongyang (above). Since there are not many people flying to or from it, there aren’t cars in the parking lots or on the road, but that is a detail that one may not mention.
This is the old air terminal, with the necessary picture of Dear Leader on the top of the building. (above) Below is a photo of the Peoples Airliner, which also sports a picture of Dear Leader on it.

If you ask yourself where North Korea finds the money to build shopping malls such as the new Sunan airport terminal, you need only look to Iran, which buys ballistic missiles from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and some say, that they also have purchased a couple nuclear weapons (destined for the Big and Little Satans). Oil money goes a long way.
Dear Leader takes credit for airport design
The current Dear Leader, Kim Jong Un, his wife and acolytes visited the newly opened, rebuilt terminal at Sunan International Airport. The terminal is engineered for tourism. The images and North Korean news reports spotlighted the amenities, shops and modern appearance. The published images are impressive.  As usual, Kim and his sycophants were dazzled by the spectacle, but missed the key feature of a modern air terminal. There are no international communications. You can’t make a phone call to or from the airport.
A friend visited Sunan, North Korea, in an earlier time. This is his account:
The terminal building looked modern, but contained almost no amenities — not even working telephones. It had telephone stations; they just did not work. Neither did the two luggage carousels. Our luggage was manhandled.  
Our delegation’s luggage and that of another 100 passengers was left behind in Beijing to allow the TU-134 aircraft to carry 130 more passengers and fill the aircraft seats. English was the second language of the aircrew, after Korean. The luggage posed a dilemma because our delegation was set to depart North Korea on the return flight of the aircraft from Beijing that was supposed to be bringing our luggage from Beijing to Pyongyang. 
It was Christmas time in1992. The probability of ever seeing our luggage again was diminishingly small. The obvious solution — even in 1992 –was to call the US Embassy in Beijing and ask it to get control of our luggage and keep it safe. The obvious solution was part of the problem because Sunan International Airport had no non-military telephone connectivity to anywhere.  
International phone calls could only be made from the office of the Post and Telecommunications Ministry in Pyongyang, some 40 miles away.  
Our delegation’s concern was not with boutiques and tourist attractions, but with communications to the outside world by telephone and the internet. None of that was available in 1992. 
None of that appears available at Sunan in 2015.
Overhead photo of North and South Korea at night
The North’s leaders and engineers mimicked the work of modern states in air terminal construction. They even improved on the designs, but they failed to grasp – or were not permitted to incorporate — the substance of modern airports. They are transportation nodes and communications hubs, not shopping centers. None of the descriptions of the new Sunan airport terminal mentions its connectivity to global communications networks. Naturally, all of the power is turned off at night.

14 thoughts on “Building a Better Potemkin Village

  1. It's okay. Dennis Rodman is the only American who goes there. The only other American who should go there are the US Navy and Air Force to bomb the hell out of the place… say on Dear Leader's birthday.

  2. We should have glassed the place after the Pueblo Incident and that would have been that…no more nuclear proliferation to every other tin pot dictatorship on the globe.

  3. The way Dear Leader keeps killing his own people, I wonder when it will be his turn?

    "Dear Le . . . wait, what? Where did he go?"

  4. It's amazing that they keep the fat little dictator around. I'm sure that he's preserved so long as he keeps the power elite happy.

  5. Well that's weird, you're reporting on a potemkin airport while I'm reporting on a potemkin church — or would that be "apostate"?

  6. I definitely would get out of the industries that support homosexual weddings and celebrations if I wasn't one of them. The handwriting is on the wall with that. I expect that churches that renounce sodomy will end up having their tax free status revoked within a couple of years because of "bigotry".

  7. It reminds me of Iraq, though on a whole different scale. Remember the press reports leading up to the original Gulf War of Iraq having the 5th largest military, and that they were "battle tested", etc., etc., etc. I still wonder to this day, what the upper echelons of the crumbling Soviet Union thought at the time we dismantled the farce in a matter of weeks. I wonder again what the North Korean leadership actually believes? I suspect that some of Dear Leader's executions might have been the result of somebody speaking the truth…

  8. Gulf War One was a serious reality check for the Russians, I was recalled to active duty and served as Intelligence officer at SEAL Team Five, the active team in that short war. And without doing anything that would get me sent to prison, the reaction of the Russians was "shock and awe".

    I think that you're spot on with your assessment of Dear Leader's culling of the "weaklings" in the brood.

  9. Those airport pics bring to mind American apocalyptic movies where 99.999% of the world's population is killed off (nuclear war, biological mishap, bad burritos, etc.) and the cities are barren, stripped of humanity – except for two idealistic hippies who never met but fall instantly in love and resolve to recreate the human race and make hot monkey love while burning the remains of the hateful capitalist society that caused the destruction of mankind but they are gentle and extremely energetic, photogenic and so what if they're both queer that doesn't matter and you and me should do a book we'll make millions off the fags.

    You're spot on. Pyongyang should have been a glow-in-the-dark parking lot after the Pueblo incident. That $%@#$ ship is still parked in their harbor as a trophy. It should be a hole in the water.

  10. I like the book idea, but what if both main characters are transgender as well. The woman used to be a man (but maybe never had her courting tackle removed) and the man used to be a woman… who never got around to getting new junk attached? How progressive would THAT be?

  11. How about one being a trans-transgender? Was a man, was a woman, and now a man again?
    I can smell the profits from the screenplay contracts. Billy Crystal plays the trans-tranny and JoLo is the other, whatever – I lost track.

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