Pyongyang has a huge, remarkable ten-lane highway. I forget its name, but it’s called something like the Children’s Highway. I never asked, but I think they said children helped build the road, a claim of dubious value, if I remembered it right. When I get out from China’s bizarre firewall I’ll post video of the road, but you’ve never seen anything like it.
It deteriorated nearly to where you can’t call it a road. You can’t drive it at over a few miles per hour in some spots that have become pure pothole across all ten lanes. It’s like driving on the moon. As best I can tell they laid a surface layer of road over bare ground with no foundation that a few summers’ heat and winters’ cold turned to rubble.
On the one hand, they ask us not to take pictures of or talk about dirty laundry. On the other hand, they talked about the highway, lauding how fast it they built it or something like that. And they drove on it. How can you miss the road you’re driving on?
I can’t help but wonder and ask questions.
- How do they feel looking at the road, independent of foreigners seeing it?
- How do they feel showing it off to foreigners, claiming it’s some success?
- What does it show about what other systems must look like?
These seem difficult questions to answer or even just to face, however obvious. At least if you want to show pride in your government.
It must be difficult to stomach, showing something that failed its intent so completely and that, despite that failure and how much they would benefit from fixing it, they can’t or won’t do anything about it.
I would imagine you’d have to shut it out of your conscious awareness.
If so, it makes me wonder what we have, if anything, we blind ourselves to. Infant mortality rates in some areas? The drug war? How many people we incarcerate? Whatever problems they represent, they aren’t in your face like that.
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