I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine donating money to anything involving North Korea. I mean, hell, just look at the regime-endorsed Twitter-stream! But, when I saw the appeal from Koryo Tours for donations, I found it impossible to take issue. This is an independent organization run by a Brit that’s trying to raise a mere $6,700 for two humanitarian projects in the isolated Communist state.
Hey, if you were thinking of heading to the last truly communist stronghold in the world, make up your mind fast. The “Mass Games” (also called “Arirang”), a spectacle of coordinated movements and groupthink, involving more than 100,000 performers, is not going to be held in 2009. That makes 2008 the last year to catch this event … possibly until 2012.
For Americans to go to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) is pretty damned expensive, but it may be worth it if you can afford the price of admission. Check out Koryo Tours if you are interested in the 2008 Mass Games. To get a feel for other reasons to check out the DPRK, read my article in DealmakerDaily.com’s travel section.
The “good” news is that the next Arirang is likely to be held in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who, though dead, remains the eternal president of North Korea. While that promises to be an amazing event, I’m pretty sure the 2008 Arirang is worth seeing as well.
I would go, but it’s almost impossible for journalists to get into the country. So, I’ll have to report from the sidelines.
Koryo Tours writes:
We have just been told by our partners in the DPRK that there is a chance there will be no mass games next year – possibly not even until 2012 which is the next big anniversary (Juche 100 – the 100th birthday of Kim Il Sung!!!). For Americans this year’s mass games may be the last opportunity to visit the country.
Nothing has been set in stone but we wanted to give you all pre-warning. This year there are 2 different performances – ARIRANG and PROSPER THE MOTHERLAND! – the latter has never been seen before so it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Very best wishes,
The Koryo Tours Team