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Diaries from North Korea
Pyongyang
By Luca Faccio
30 Aug 2015

[FULL NATURAL SOUND VERSION AVAILABLE WITH ENGLISH SCRIPT UPON REQUEST]

My first visit to North Korea was in 2005, when the regime was still ruled by Kim Jong Il.
The country had not yet admitted to possessing nuclear weapons, but I found it strange that Western media showed such disinterest towards this isolationist state: why were they ignoring a country that still ran concentration camps?

In the summer of 2006 the DPRK announced that North Korea had built its first atomic bomb and suddenly Western media became aware of the fact that this country could possibly pose a global threat.
In my documentary, made in three stages between 2012 and 2015, I examine North Korea under the new leader Kim Jong Un. Even if his leadership appears no different to that of his predecessor -- continued purges, executions and the strict control of every citizen -- at an economic level, small but significant changes are visible. With increasing trade, the government is being forced to build bridges and to allow its merchants a possibility of economic development. This, in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Modern supermarkets, gambling halls, skyscrapers sprouting like mushrooms, lively streets with countless taxis, Mickey Mouse on TV... these are all signs of an economy that, albeit hesitantly, is moving towards a capitalist system: the capital Pyongyang is going through an historically unique period of growth. In an attempt to rid itself of the old soviet-style greyness, the city is changing from the bottom up to give itself a new image, quite as though Pyongyang had understood that it too has arrived in the 21st century.

This silent revolution, due in part to the female population which has discovered Western products, also promotes cultural exchange. One example of this development is the concert last summer by the rock group ''Laibach'', which marked a truly historic event, considering that Western music is banned in North Korea. Possession of foreign CDs and DVDs is also strictly punished by the regime which sees them as a corrupting poison for North Korean society.

Between the "Juche" ideology and National Socialism: there are concentration camps for actual and suspected regime opponents; convinced of the superiority of the Korean race, citizens are forbidden to have friendly relations with foreigners. I have encountered this reality, but over time I was also able to build small but significant friendships in North Korea. Through these I discovered true humanity in people living under this monstrous Stalinist system.

Dreams revolve not only around freedom, but also around a hope of reunification with their southern brother. This is not a forbidden subject in Pyongyang. During an interview with a student, she made it abundantly clear that every Korean was obliged to strive for reunion.

This dream, though, constantly clashes with reality, as I realized when visiting the Panmunjom border in March 2013: on the one side we saw South Korean military exercises, on the other continuous provocations by North Korea. Which is why, after all, this is considered the most dangerous border in the world.

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By FirstName LastName
09 May 2013

Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By FirstName LastName
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Umbrellas in the rain at opposition rally

Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results
Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally to protest against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By FirstName LastName
09 May 2013

Umbrellas and flags in the rain at opposition rally

Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results
Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally to protest against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By FirstName LastName
09 May 2013

Supporter at rally in Kelana Jaya Stadium

Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results
Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally to protest against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By FirstName LastName
09 May 2013

Umbrellas and flags in the rain at opposition rally

Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results
Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally to protest against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By FirstName LastName
09 May 2013

Young people holding signs at opposition rally in Kelana Jaya Stadium

Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results
Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally to protest against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By U.S. Editor
08 May 2013

By Phillippa Stewart, Kuala Lumpur
Read Full Article Here: http://transterramedia.com/media/17361

Malaysian protestors have defied the police ban to rally against election results. Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally protesting against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.

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Protests in Malaysia against alleged ...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By FirstName LastName
08 May 2013

Umbrellas and flags in the rain at opposition rally.

Protests in Malaysia against alleged “fraudulent” election
Malaysian protestors defy police ban to rally against election results
By Phillippa Stewart, Kuala Lumpur
Thousands of protestors risked arrest to attend a rally to protest against what opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has called “the worst electoral fraud” in Malaysia’s history.

Local election watchdogs have also questioned the results of the election.

A joint report released Wednesday by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) said that the election was “only partially free and not fair.” http://ideas.org.my/?p=6799

The report said the election was carried out “on a very uneven field” citing: a pro-government media bias in mainstream media, lack of transparency in campaign spending, questions over the lack of trust in the integrity of the electoral roll, the impartiality of the Election Commission, exploitation of racial issues, and unreliable indelible ink.

The United States and European Union also acknowledged concerns over electoral “irregularities,” according to AFP.

The government has denied any wrongdoing.

Dressed in black protestors packed into Kelana Jaya stadium on the outskirts of the capital; cars left abandoned on the motorway.

Waving flags, blowing vuvuzelas and rocking out to upbeat tunes the mood was more festive than fearful. Opposition leaders roused the crowds with statements like: “we will win the war”, “today we start the fight back” and “reformasi” (reform).

Aman Shah Ahmad, 47, a construction work was helping his brother sell black t-shirts at the entrance to the stadium.

“We have problems with authoritarian rule. Everything looks democratic but there’s lots of hanky-panky going on behind the scenes. I want the election result to be reviewed. We want a re-election. Please tell the world,” he said.

Asked if he was afraid of being arrested, he said: “how are the police going to arrest all of us? There’s not enough space in the police stations to luck us all up!”

Mukhzani Alia, 18, a student, said: “we want change in the government. They’ve spent the last 55 years cheating on us, it’s time for change.”
Sharon Balon, 22, and her family were outside the stadium holding yellow flowers and anti government placards.
“We’ve had to leave the stadium,” she said. “It’s too hot in there – so many people. We are all so angry, that’s why we’re here tonight.” Malaysia’s state news agency, Bernama, reported that the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, had warned that rally participants would be arrested. http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/newsindex.php?id=948221

Evoking the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the police said the rally was illegal because organisers did not apply for a police permit for the event. Organisers must also inform the police 10 days before an event.

According to AFP, the opposition acknowledged the rally was “not within the letter of the law.”

However, there was no visible police presence at the rally.

Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was returned to power Sunday, although with a reduced majority. The Barisan Nasional coalition has been in power since 1957.