"Our trip was a mixture of highly-staged encounters, tightly-orchestrated viewings and what seemed like genuine human moments," she wrote. Here's a link to her very interesting blog post: It looks better in IE but it's tolerable in Firefox.
"We had zero interactions with non-state-approved North Koreans and were never far from our two minders."
While much of the blog posting is taken up with the sort of observational musings common to any first-time visitor to Pyongyang, it had some interesting insights into the official side of the delegation's trip.
In particular, it fleshed out the main photo-opportunity of the entire trip when they visited an e-library at Kim Il-Sung University, and chatted with some of the 90 students working on computer consoles.
"One problem: No one was actually doing anything," Schmidt wrote.
"A few scrolled or clicked, but the rest just stared. More disturbing: when our group walked in... not one of them looked up from their desks. Not a head turn, no eye contact, no reaction to stimuli.
"They might as well have been figurines," she added.
Sophie Schmidt's description of the "unsettling" e-library visit suggests the delegation was all too aware that it was being shown a facade.
"Did our handlers honestly think we bought it? Did they even care? Photo op and tour completed, maybe they dismantled the whole set and went home," she wrote. More here:
Yes, the "iron grip" of the tyrannical North Korean government ... she recognizes it right away. And yet, she's blind to it in our own government.
I mean, what is so tyrannical about the North Korean government? Do the people feel repressed? Or are most of them very proud to live there? My guess would be they have a national pride just like every other country.
Why can she recognize a government presentation as "fake" when she's in North Korea but accepts our government's "presentations" as truthful and forthright?
I guess the "difference" we have to keep in mind is that our politicians are busy stripping our freedoms for our own good ... "the greater good."
The North Koreans claim to do the same ... except they're lying ... sinister and evil, right? And, their country is poor and the US is rich by comparison ... for now.
Hey, Sophie, does the American government think we're "buying it?" Do they even care?