February 05, 2012
The next week was spent in trains and cars. The car would often stop in the middle of nowhere. We would get out and I would be shown a site where ‘GBL Comrade Kim Il-sung gave on-the-spot guidance to peasants on the wheat harvest.’ At one point, in the middle of nowhere, I asked them to stop. My bladder was full. As I got out of the car I said: ‘I’m just going to give on-the-spot guidance to that tree.’ The interpreter and minder convulsed with laughter. It was the most reassuring sight of my trip. Nothing was said when I returned to the car, but we never stopped again.From Tariq Ali's LRB Diary on visiting North Korea in the 60s. "GBL" stands for "great and beloved leader" in case you were wondering and haven't read the whole thing. And, yes, this is a slightly matured cite.