Totalitarian Governments In the real world and the hunger games

In most countries, people have basic human rights. In others, however, it is quite the opposite. These countries have what are called “totalitarian governments.” Totalitarian governments usually oppress their subjects and do whatever it takes to maintain absolute power. Countries such as the People’s Republic of Korea (popularly known as North Korea), Saudi Arabia, and Russia have totalitarian governments. Totalitarian governments are also a large feature in books such as The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, and The Immortals, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. These governments stay in power in a number of ways.
One way totalitarian governments stay in power is by controlling media. In The Hunger Games, the tyrannical Capitol only shows either major, mandatory-to-watch events or government-glorifying programs on television in many of the 12 Districts (Collins, 42). Books also show the Capitol in a not-so-honest light and vilify the rebellion of the then-13 Districts nearly a century before the book takes place (Collins, 42). In North Korea and Russia, only government programs are broadcasted on TV, which prevents people from finding out about other countries’ lifestyles, governments, and opinions, and thereby getting doubtful about how great their government really is (Ioffe) (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights).
Another way totalitarian governments stay in power is by limiting resources for people that are less loyal to them. In The Hunger Games, the Capitol keeps most of the money and gives the rest to the more loyal and useful of the 12 Districts (Collins, 59). In North Korea, only citizens with high songbun (the North Korean honor system) get decent amounts of high-quality food (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). This also keeps the government in power by sowing hatred and jealousy for rich people among the less fortunate, which makes them less likely to band together and rebel. In The Immortals, the tyrant ruler Golderayce One-eye of the silent City of Night in Riverrise, the source of all life, is greedy and harsh as well. He keeps the life-giving water of Riverrise to himself (except for selling small, dirty amounts to citizens at high prices)(Stewart/Riddell, 453).
A third way totalitarian governments stay in power is by showing just how powerful they really are. In The Hunger Games, the Capitol wiped out an entire District during the Dark Days of the revolution to show the others who was boss (Collins, 18). They also use harsh security forces--known as Peacekeepers--and the Hunger Games (similar to the ancient Roman gladiatorial games) as everlasting punishments (Collins, 18). North Korea shows its army often and uses the death penalty to keep citizens in check (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). In Saudi Arabia, punishments are also very harsh. For example, the punishment for theft is the loss of your right hand, and if you rob someone and kill them in the process, you will be crucified. In The Immortals, anyone who does so much as thinks badly about Golderayce or his “custodians” is killed on the spot (Stewart/Riddell, 445).
Totalitarian governments use many methods to stay in power, like media control, limiting resources, and displays of power. They treasure power with as much passion as another person may cherish a diamond or a box of gold, and abuse it like their lives depend on it.

Works Cited

Ioffe, Julia. "Why Russia's Alternate History of Malaysia Airlines Flight 117 Matters." The New York Times Magazine (2015): n. pag. New York Times, 13 Oct. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

Jones, James, prod. "The Secret State of North Korea." Frontline. PBS. 14 Jan. 2014. Television.

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2009. Print.

Stewart, Paul, & Riddell, Chris. The Immortals. Oxford: David Fickling, 2009. Print.

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