Written by Matthew Harper. Media by Bobby Williams.
Uriminzokkiri, the website that often distributes propaganda from the state-run media of North Korea, posted a YouTube video on Saturday, Feb. 2, depicting a missile attack on New York City, some strange animated trips into outer space, and a horrible MIDI-esque recording of the 1985 hit “We Are the World.”
To say it’s strange would be to do the video a disservice, but it still managed to cause a rather large controversy. Many of the concerns centered around the fact that the video released at a time in which North Korea has been steadily increasing its missile launching and nuclear capabilities. The video, according to Fox News, contains phrases such as, “Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing” and “Never will anyone be able to stop the people marching toward a final victory.” The seemingly threatening statements might be more effective in a video that doesn’t look like it was made by third grade students in their first art class, but the fact remains that the North Korean propaganda machine is very active right now amidst concerns over the country’s ability to attack free nations around the world.
The video itself has since been pulled from YouTube and the reasoning for the removal is both surprising and humorous. It turns out that the footage of burning New York City buildings that the propaganda video used were from the popular Activision video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.” The game is, in video game time, rather old by now, but it seems as though the North Koreans felt it fit their video’s needs perfectly. Why they couldn’t have used a better game remains a mystery, though.
According to BBC News, the video was blocked by Tuesday, Feb. 5, on YouTube, along with a message showing Activision’s complaint. By the next day, the video had been removed completely. BBC does point out, though, that while the video is humorous from our perspective, for a nation like South Korea, who would be in very legitimate danger should North Korea ever have nuclear weapons at their disposal, it’s not as much of a laughing matter.
So the next time you see a Call of Duty game, remember that there are dictators out there who will use that footage to try to strike fear into the hearts of people they don’t like and to lie to their own impoverished people. It’s a strange, strange world we live in.