Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What are these people thinking?

I couldn't help but guffaw (or is it ROFL?) when I read this little chestnut from today's Rodong Sinmun,  the People's Daily in the DPRK (aka, North Korea).

It comes from an article on the larger "crimes" of "traitor" Lee Myung Bak, president of the Republic of Korea (aka, South Korea).

What shock and utter revulsion the average North Korean reader must feel when they read such apalling news:
In December 2007 right after becoming "president", he openly disclosed his intention to use the north-south dialogue as a means of escalating confrontation of social systems, saying that "he would not unilaterally curry favor with the north by refraining from criticizing it like the preceding governments".
Gasp! I'm in shock! Imagine a capitalist, democratic country's president not wanting his fellow Koreans to the north to live in squalor, famine, and constant threat of being sent to the kwalliso (i.e., gulags/concentration camps), from which most only leave on a board to be buried in a shallow grave. How awful of him. The North Koreans indignence is palpable!

All we need now is for Jackie Chiles to shout, "This is lewd, lascivious, salacious, and outrageous! That's deplorable, unfathomable, improbable. I am shocked and chagrined, mortified and stupefied. I most strenuously and vigorously object to this man's actions. He is irrelevant, irrational, and inconsequential. He is completely inappropriate!"

But this is the real howler:
In February last year when 31 people of the DPRK went adrift to the south side in the West Sea of Korea, the group held them for nearly two months, while committing inhuman act of forcing them to defect to the south. The group categorically rejected the DPRK's proposal for the Red Cross technical contact for the discussion of their repatriation.
For those who don't get what this is saying, I'll translate:
In February 2011, 31 DPRK citizens fled their country in a boat via the West Sea of Korea (what we call the Yellow Sea, which separates their western border from China). As with all defectors, they were held in quarantine for two months in order to get them acclamated, fed and fattened up a little, and give them some training/life skills. All of this is necessary because life in the ROK is so radically different than the DPRK. Many defectors find it very difficult to adjust. But no one's forcing anything, because who can be forced to have more food, more freedom, and more access to a life that is not one of constant privation. Then, when the DPRK said, "Give 'em back!," the group (i.e., of "traitors," which is how the DPRK characterizes the rulers of the ROK) basically said, "Buzz off, bub. Take a hike. We're not repatriating them, because if we did, they'd be dead, and you know it."
If all of this was not so deadly serious, you would have to laugh at the Three Stooges/Dumb & Dumber ineptness of those who write these pieces (there's at least one per day). Another one today said something like "Juche [the national governing philosophy] has international acceptance." We know this because, says Rodong Sinmun:
A book titled "Dictionary of Criticism on Philosophies" was off press in France in 1985.
Writers of the book were several scholars including a famous professor of the Institute of Philosophy of University of Paris 10. They criticized different philosophical ideologies of the world as well as socio-political theories of Marxist political parties by severely analyzing from their individual views.
All philosophies and theories were criticized. Only the Juche idea had not any criticism in the book.
No criticism means universal acknowledgement of the absolute truth of the Juche idea.
Now, I spent a good bit of time Googling for this book. There is no book -- in English or French with this precise title (I translated the English to the French). There is Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, published in the 1920s, which has been updated and is in its fifth printing. There is, however, Dictionnaire critique du marxisme?

Here is what this book says:
The ideas of juche know a rather large audience in the Third World and in the national liberation movements, as well as some large countries like India and Japan, [are?] rightly educated by the principles of sovereignty, of self-development, of nonalignment and of the primacy of ideology, themselves confirmed by an exemplary [?] historical experience. But they often arouse in the West and even within the Communist parties, reservations and questions. Is it [simply] an offspring of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung [the nation's founder]? An original means of bypassing the bureaucracy and achieving national consensus? "A revolutionary force"? Ignorance of cultural traditions and the situation in North Korea is not the only in question here, since the decisive [emphasis as in the original] role of the leader, in the revolutionary process, is constantly emphasized. [Is?] the assurance on the "non-exportable" character of such a feature sufficient to free it of any contradiction? It is for the practice of delivering its lessons.
This is my translation of the French original here. It's obviously somewhat faulty (if you can improve on it, be my guest):
Les idées du djoutché connaissent une assez vaste audience dans le Tiers Monde et dans les mouvements de libération nationale, ainsi que dans certains grands pays, tels l'Inde et le Japon, à juste titre sensibilisés par les principes de la souveraineté, de l’auto développement, du non-alignement et du primat d'idéologie, euxmêmes confirmés part une exemplaire expérience historique. Mais elles suscitent souvent, en Occident et au sein même des partis communistes, réserves et interrogations. Le culte de Kim IL-Sung est-il un avatar du culte de la personnalité? Un moyen original de court-circuiter la bureaucratie et de réaliser le consensus national? "Une force révolutionnaire"? L'ignorance des traditions culturelles et de la situation nord-coréens n'est pas seule ici en question, puisque le rôle décisif du leader, dans le processus révolutionnaire, est constamment souligné. L'assurance du caractère "non-exportable" d'une telle particularité suffit-elle à la débarrasser de toute contradiction? Il appartiendra à la pratique de délivrer ses leçons
How this squares with the idea that, "Only the Juche idea had not any criticism in the book" is hard for me to fathom. It implicitly says there are problems or at least serious questions (usually the indication of problems) with juche.

Then it goes on to say, "A world famous person said: 'If anyone asks me what will be my choice from the treasure house of human civilization, the Juche idea will be my choice.'"

Who is this famous person? In what language did he speak? When did he say it?

Who knows? We're just supposed to take their word this wasn't made up by some guy writing copy for them.

Does Korean not have a word for subtlety? If they do, a dose of it for the KCNA/Rodong Sinmun might help.

Actually, scratch that. Reading their agitprop is so much fun, I don't want them to ever change.

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