Wednesday, November 2, 2016

828 Report from North Korea - Israel Shamir

Report from North Korea - Israel Shamir

In two parts.

Newsletter publishede on 15 May 2016

(1) Kim’s Double-Breasted Jacket
(2) Feet on the Ground

(1) Kim’s Double-Breasted Jacket
From: "israel shamir israel.shamir@gmail.com [shamireaders]"
<shamireaders-noreply@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2016 11:54:13 +0900
Subject: [shamireaders] Korea - 1

Dear friends,
I returned just now from North Korea. Here is the first part of my
report from this unusual land.

Kim’s Double-Breasted Jacket

By Israel Shamir

MAY 12, 2016

http://www.unz.com/ishamir/kims-double-breasted-jacket/
http://www.therussophile.org/kims-double-breasted-jacket.html/

A colossal mass demonstration, well choreographed to the level of ballet
but with tens of thousands of participants in the centre of Pyongyang
completed and sealed an important and unusual political event in this
remote and isolated land of North Korea – the Party Congress. The demo
has been followed by a show, so big that it could not be staged anywhere
else. Magnificent fireworks, twenty thousand men and women dancing with
torches in the darkness of Pyongyang night – this show I’ll remember
forever. For the Koreans it was not a show, but a declaration of their
loyalty to the state and the leader – or, perhaps, even for them it was
just a night dance. Who knows?

A Party Congress is a rare bird in N Korea. Uncalled for many years,
actually since 1980, the Congress, the top body of the ruling Workers’
Party, gathered to confirm consolidation of power in the hands of the
new ruler, Kim Jong-Un, or Kim III, as Western media calls him. He was
duly proclaimed the Party Chairman, the position previously held by his
father Kim Jong-Il, and before him by his grandfather Kim Il-Sung.

The people were visibly excited to see the young Kim, and even passing
by the tribunes they tried to linger and wave flowers and banners in his
direction. Only rock stars get that much affection in the West. This is
definitely a turning point: the hard bitter days are over, now things
will improve.

The generation change is a tricky affair anywhere (the USSR failed it),
but it seems that Kim III managed it successfully. He came to power
after premature death of his father, a plump and soft-looking "Baby
Kim", with his Swiss schooling, an object of many South Korean jokes and
scorn. But he has not been chosen and groomed and preferred over his two
elder brothers by his father just for his kind appearance. The young Kim
III pushed forward with modernisation of the country, with reshaping and
rebuilding Pyongyang, with massive civil engineering projects, with
improving the lot of his citizens – and with the nuclear program.

During first four years of his rule, North Korea became a full-fledged
nuclear power, exploded an H-bomb last January, delivered a satellite to
the orbit around the earth; living standards improved and mass housing
program has been launched. Otherwise, Kim’s rule could be characterised
by words "Continuity and Modernisation".

Why the Party Congress has been assembled just now, what are the plans
and ideas of Korean leadership, what can we expect from them? All the
world was curious, so was I, and I eagerly (though with some
trepidation) accepted their invitation. I have been exceedingly well
received by these hospitable people, so I can dispel your fears: the
North Koreans aren’t brainwashed zombies, but perfectly human, though
they belong to a very distinct and different culture.

On a human level, they produce and drink very good beer. Whenever I had
an occasion, I had a couple of beers with locals in a local pub, where
all tried to offer me another mug of their perfect natural brew. The
Koreans are cautious but not paranoid in their contacts with foreigners,
and they are fond of beer.

There were a lot of bewildered journalists; they tried to gather what’s
going on, afraid to miss a story but meeting a frustrating stonewalling.
The N Koreans are indeed very secretive: to the last minute, we did not
know when the Congress is about to finish, and what do they discuss. The
BBC team has been deported from the country for reporting an upsetting
gossip they probably invented or picked from the S Koreans.

By listening to some N Koreans and to diplomats stationed in Pyongyang,
I learned that they expect that Kim will retire some of the old comrades
and promote the younger lot, thus rejuvenating this unusual socialist
state. Korea watchers noticed the possible rise of relatively young
people who occupied lower rings of the hierarchy: Hwan Byon So, Tsoi Ren
He, and the ideologist of the Party, Kim Gi Nam.

The theme of Continuity and Modernisation has been manifested even in
Kim’s appearance: he appeared in a dark double-breasted jacket and an
elegant light tie instead of Mao-style military wear usual for Korean
officials. For the Koreans, this jacket was to remind of Kim I, his
venerated grandfather, who first appeared in a very similar wear in the
recently liberated Pyongyang. He was loth to appear in the Russian
military uniform he donned previously, and preferred the civilian jacket.

This point has to be briefly elaborated. The Koreans are fiercely
independent folk, ethnocentric to the extreme, nationalists for whom
Korea is above all and the Koreans are a race apart. Actually, in this
(and many other) aspect they are quite similar to the Japanese, their
neighbours and former colonial masters for some forty years. But the
Japanese went through seventy years of Americanization, westernization,
liberalization and demilitarization after their defeat in 1945. The
unreconstructed Koreans retained their national pride, so they are more
similar to the Japanese of 1930s.

The Korean Communists came to power in the North thanks to the Red Army.
After defeating the Japanese Army of Manchuria in August 1945, the
Russians established a Communist government in Pyongyang, as was their
wont in every capital they seized in the war. Their man was Kim Il Sung,
at the time a Red Army mayor, and a native of Korea. But the Korean
Communists did not remain in Moscow’s thrall for any length of time. By
1956, they became fully independent – and they re-wrote history to fit
their ideas. In their version of history as taught in their schools and
explained in their museums, they themselves liberated their country from
the Japanese rule, while the Russians were of some valuable assistance.

(According to their version, they themselves defeated the Americans in
the Korean war, while the Chinese and the Russians "had sent some
volunteers". This is annoying for the Russians and Chinese who bore the
brunt of the war, but they understand the Korean feelings and bite the
bullet without argument or complaint).

Kim I in his jacket had been a potent symbol of Korean independence and
of their own and unique way to their own brand of socialism. Kim III is
very similar to his grandfather by portrait likeness, and even more so
by his voice. The jacket of Kim was supposed to emphasize this
similarity and continuity, while the elegant tie has been a tribute to
modernity.

He promised to deliver "guns AND butter" to his citizens, i. e. to
improve their lot while keeping the defence stance. More importantly,
Kim had used the Party Congress and the universal interest it generated
to call for peace with the US and his neighbours Japan and South Korea.

He said Korea is a responsible nuclear power; the Koreans will abide by
the treaty of non-proliferation (NPT) as a nuclear power, meaning it
will not share its nuclear military technology with non-nuclear states,
and it will not use its nuclear weapons unless attacked by nuclear
weapons. This is a message of peace-seeking: other nuclear states, the
US, Russia and Israel do not promise to avoid using nuclear weapons even
in case of a conventional attack.

"Kim sends a message of peace," a high ranking diplomat stationed in
Pyongyang told me. "Alas, it was misunderstood or distorted by the news
agencies. They quoted him out of context and provided misleading
headlines, in order to demonise him."

Kim called for nuclear disarmament, but a general one, not only for
Korea. Indeed while signing the NPT, the nuclear powers undertook to
strive for general nuclear disarmament and for creation of the world
free of nuclear weapons. This undertaking remained a dead letter. The
last Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev made some steps in this
direction, but the US used his idealism to increase the power gap
between the two states.

Recently the US embarked on an ambitious program of total renewal of
their nuclear facilities. Pentagon asked for the mindboggling sum of one
trillion dollars for this program. At the same time, the US demands
nuclear disarmament of N Korea referring to the same NPT they are in
breach of. Since the NPT has been signed, some states became nuclear
powers – Israel, India, Pakistan. What’s wrong with N Korea developing
nuclear weapons? The Koreans speak of double standards and add: if other
states will give up their nukes, so shall we.

A Russian diplomat in Pyongyang told me: perhaps we should accept the
reality that DPRK became a nuclear power. It would not have happened if
the US and South Korea did not threaten the North with war. Just a few
months ago, the war in Korea seemed imminent, when the US and their S
Korean allies, some four hundred thousand troops altogether, practiced
the conquest of Pyongyang and elimination of the NK government. The N
Koreans went ballistic, and I can’t blame them, – he said. – If we were
now to land half a million soldiers in Cuba and begin to practice how to
sack Washington and destroy the White House, the US fleet would come all
over Cuba in a jiffy. But in Korea, the Americans just increased their
involvement by bringing in a nuclear armed aircraft carrier. We
definitely understand why N Korean leadership is worried.

This response is important because Russia and China supported the UN
Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on N Korea. Now,
apparently, the Russians have second thoughts. The relations between
Russia and N Korea never were cordial: N Korea has been too independent
for Moscow likes. Still, they were cool but friendly. The Russians
supported the sanctions at China’s request. The Chinese supported the
sanctions to ingratiate themselves with the US and with S Korea, an
important business partner. There is an additional factor: possible
unification of Korea.

At the Party Congress, the young leader of N Korea had called upon his S
Korean counterpart: let us renew the old idea of uniting two halves of
Korea, in one federated state. Germany and Vietnam had already united,
we also can do it. The regime difference is not a hindrance: Communist
China has reunited with capitalist Hong Kong under the slogan "one
country – two regimes".

The process of unification actually started in year 2000, when the S
Korean president Kim Dae Jung visited Pyongyang and met with the N
Korean leader Kim Jong Il. He had received that year’s Nobel Prize for
Peace. They established a free trade zone, the trains crossed the DMZ
border, visits and family reunification began. But the US, the occupying
power of S Korea, hated the idea. The S Korean presidents supporting
unification have been found dead or jailed. The present S Korean
president is definitely against unification. In S Korea, one goes to
jail for saying a good word about the North. It is considered "hostile
communist propaganda".

The Chinese do not mind this. Yes, in the Korean war they fought for the
unification of Korea, but that was then. Now they do not need a strong
and independent-minded neighbour, while united Korea with its Samsung,
Daewoo, H-bomb and 80 million population will be definitely a very
strong country. For Russia, this is not a consideration. Even an extra
strong Korea is not a threat for them. They agreed with China and the US
because they support the NPT. But perhaps this is the time to change
some rules, they muse.

(To be continued)

This article first appeared at The Unz Review

(2) Feet on the Ground

From: "israel shamir israel.shamir@gmail.com [shamireaders]"
<shamireaders-noreply@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Sat, 14 May 2016 20:27:51 +0300
Subject: [shamireaders] My report from North Korea for you

Feet on the Ground

North Korea II

ISRAEL SHAMIR

MAY 13, 2016

(This is the second part of North Korea, the first being "Kim’s
Double-Breasted Jacket")

http://www.unz.com/ishamir/feet-on-the-ground/
https://www.therussophile.org/feet-on-the-ground.html/

DPR Korea is thoroughly demonised. It is supposed to be the poorest
country (Wikipedia); hell on earth, its national airline "the world’s
worst", its cities shambles. The demonisers did a good service for N
Korea as my expectations were so low that I immensely enjoyed every
minute and every meal. Actually Air Koryo, the native airline, is not
too bad and comparable to provincial airlines of its neighbours Russia
and China.

Pyongyang airport is eerie if anything. It is big, modern, advanced,
marble-floored, immaculately clean; our old reliable TU-154 looked like
a rusty bus on its perfect tarmac. Its many immigration booths primed
ready for an endless stream of arrival passengers let me in smoothly,
faster than Heathrow, and the customs delayed me just for a moment. The
customs officer asked me for the password to check my laptop, but she
did not insist when I demurred. But this big international Terminal Two
was empty of people; instead of a hundred, just two flights were showing
on the tableau, a Beijing and a Vladivostok flight.

I stayed in one of the best hotels, 45-story high twin towers of Koryo
Hotel. This place, normally catering to hundreds and hundreds of
tourists, is practically empty. Just a few tiny groups, a couple of
Dutch and a few Japanese friends of Korea came to breakfast.

N Korea is under sanctions, the heaviest sanctions ever applied by the
UN SC against any state. Such sanctions would send any country reeling.
They are construed to cause collapse, and are just marginally better
than an all-out war. The sanctions are similar to the interdict the
medieval popes applied to rebellious kings. Such an interdict had sent a
stubborn emperor begging to Canossa.

Pyongyang the capital city is big and modern, even ultra-modern; seeing
it from my 30th floor of a downtown hotel, I thought first of Atlanta,
or even Brasilia. There are very few cars, mainly taxis. Private
ownership of cars is not allowed. Ostensibly there are two million
dwellers, but there are few people on the streets. Where are the people,
I asked my gentle host. They are at work, it is working time, he says,
somewhat taken aback at my astonishment. After the Party Congress was
over, there were more people around: apparently, the citizenry preferred
to stay home while the big bosses roamed the capital.

Over the last forty years, I’ve been to many Third-world states in their
Socialist stage: to Burma and Tanzania, Angola and Vietnam, Laos and
Cuba. If we are to compare them with neighbouring non-Socialist states,
they were inexpensive, generous with public space, kids-friendly, scarce
of consumer goods, poor of communications, overcharging foreigners,
currency-fiddling, and rather shabby. I tended to consider this
shabbiness an unavoidable feature of Third World socialism.

North Korea is not shabby, at least Pyongyang is not. The city is built
on a large, even magnificent scale, with broad avenues, neat traffic
policewomen in brash uniforms overseeing the roads and smartly saluting
the passing cars, with imposing buildings and monuments that would shame
those of Washington DC. The most impressive buildings were erected in
the last few years. There are new apartment high-rise blocks in prime
locations instead of old Soviet-style five-story tenements. Such
apartments would cost over million dollars apiece in any major Western
city; they weren’t sold but distributed for free, mainly to scientists
and teachers. At least, so they say.

Last year, a fantastic and lavish Science and Study Centre had been
build on spacious grounds. Perfect floor and walls, electronic gates,
hundreds of computers, models and graphics explaining various sciences
would make any city proud. Its purpose is to encourage kids to become
scientists, pure and simple. Sure, incredible buildings were erected
within last ten years in many parts of the globe, as the new-rich
countries discover the joys of modern architecture as never before.
Dubai, Baku, Moscow created new wonders. Pyongyang is on the similar
level, on the cutting edge of new architecture.

There are no older buildings at all. It seems that the city has been
designed and created anew like a Communist Brasilia. I always prefer old
to new, but in this particular case, there is not much to regret.
Pyongyang has been erased and hastily rebuilt a few times, most notably
in the Korean war 1950-1953, when the US bombers did not leave a single
building standing.

The American command "turned its fury on all standing structures that
might shield the Chinese from the cold; cities and towns all over North
Korea went up in flames <until> Pyongyang resembled Hiroshima", says
Encyclopaedia Britannica. The US dropped more ordnance on defenceless
Korea than it did on Germany or Japan. We must keep in mind this most
cruel war of the cruel Twentieth Century, for otherwise we can’t
understand the Korean character and the recent moves of the Korean
leadership.

They are not afraid of war, because they went through the terrible war.
Once they seized an American vessel in their waters and jailed the
sailors for spying. They disregarded the US threats of an all-out war.
At the end, the US president LB Johnson apologised in writing (the only
case in the US history they said they are sorry) and the sailors were
released, some six months later.

There are a lot of children, many more than you’d expect, a lot of
children on the streets, often unaccompanied by an adult. The kids
appear clean and neatly dressed, many wear a school uniform or white
shirts with red scout ties.

This is a socialist state, I remind myself; they are children-friendly,
even children-centred, like "our" states are more attuned for retired
folk. Their budget goes for kids, best buildings go for kindergartens
and schools.

The Korean women carry their small kids on their backs, like the
Japanese did, years ago. Now (and I visited Japan just before coming to
N Korea) I haven’t seen even one mother bearing her child on her back in
Japan in ten days, while in Korea they are plentiful. There were very
few children to be seen in Japan, as opposed to this lot in Korea.

It is not that they have more children. Koreans I asked admitted to have
one, rarely two kids. It’s just their kids play outside and walk streets
while our kids play inside and under supervision. Our children are
immersed in the virtual reality of computer games, their children walk
the earth. They are rarely alone: usually, they are in a group. Less
frequently, one notices even such small kids that would never be allowed
to go unsupervised in our cities, bravely stride along big streets of
the city.

As for other qualities, the Koreans are so generous with public space,
that it would be considered wasteful and impossible elsewhere. There are
many gardens, great vistas, green lawns, vast squares. I do not know
another city on earth with such unhindered views as the view across Kim
Il-Sung square. You can see for miles.

And now for their less pleasant features. Their communications are quite
restricted. They have mobiles, practically everyone has, but a foreigner
can’t make a telephone call to a native Korean’s telephone. There is no
internet even in an expensive hotel. The Koreans can’t send and receive
emails from abroad, can’t access any foreign sites at all, only their
own Intranet. They can’t travel abroad, can’t marry foreigners. It is
the HermitKingdom, after all.

The consumer goods are rather expensive, with a good average salary
about $US400, a good bike or a big TV easily costs over fifteen hundred
bucks. Clothes in the shop are drab, like in neighbouring Chinese towns.

The climate is harsh, the soil is poor. Pyongyang has frequent sand
storms blowing from GobiDesert from Inner Mongolia. It is too cold or
too hot. In short, N Korea is not paradise, and can’t be turned into
paradise with any regime. S Korea has a better climate and better soils,
but its regime is far from comfortable. I visited S Korea first time in
the late seventies, when the state was run by the dictator Park Chung
Hee. People would come to me on the street and beg for an invitation to
any country abroad to leave their wretched place. There was no freedom,
no democracy, no child care, just a dictatorship and the US occupation
troops. This is the lot of Koreans, North or South.

If in defence, nuclear power, technology, housing N Korea has reached
21st century; aesthetically, it is in a class of its own. Their music
and songs are a rehash of Soviet revolutionary and military songs. Their
typical titles are "Follow the 7th regiment", or "Mother’s Voice". The
Mother in the last hit is the Party, while the Leader is the loving
Father and the People are their children. If a song is about love, it is
love of People to the Leader.

But then, this is usual for an Oriental religious society: Jews say the
Song of Songs is about love of God to Israel, Muslims say Omar Khayyam
actually meant "Wisdom" when he wrote "Wine".

The N Koreans are very kind but so restrictive that I hesitate to
witness. There are many road blocks checking permits. On no occasion was
I allowed to roam Pyongyang alone; I was not allowed to go to a
restaurant of my choosing, or even to leave a concert where very loud
martial music has been performed for hours. If they have a program in
mind, they will do the program. Great people, but definitely no fun.
Perhaps the natives have more choice than visitors, but my stay was an
exercise in humility and submission, like a stay in a monastery. This
religious connotation is intended, as we shall explain further on.

Love Your Leader

People call Kim III "The Marshal" and express towards him, as for his
father and grandfather, the emotions usually reserved for a deity. This
is shocking for us, but not unusual in Asia. Before 1945, the
neighbouring Japanese, people of great culture and refinement,
worshipped their Emperor as the Supreme Deity, and even now some of them
continue to venerate him as a Shinto god. The Japanese ruled over Korea
for 40 years, and during that time, they implanted some ideas, notably
that of a Divine Ruler.

N Korea has little to do with Marxism, or with Socialism as the
Westerners understand. It is a deeply religious society based of worship
of the three Kims. If asked, the N Koreans say their rulers have been
"sent by Heaven". They ascribe every good thing in their life to their
Heaven-sent rulers. They tell of miracles they performed. A
modern-looking lady in Pyongyang has told me she saw an apparition of
Kim II in the sky on the night of his demise. I saw people weep when
death of Kim II is mentioned – and that some five years after the event.

For me, this worship has been a source of minor embarrassment,
especially their custom to bow to the images or photos of the leaders. I
wonder what Daniel would do? A tour of N Korea has more features of a
religious pilgrimage than of sight-seeing. Every place I’ve been shown
had a connection to the Kims, and this connection has been elaborated
fully. I visited their memorials, burial place, birth place and accepted
it solemnly as a duty paid for their hospitality. Likewise, visitors to
my Israel are forced to visit the Holocaust Museum, and it is easier to
acquiesce than to resist. Still, I had a problem every time I had to bow
to these graven images. Perhaps it is my cultural handicap.

The Kim Tomb is vast and very impressive. Kim I and Kim II are buried in
the huge former palace-residence of Kim I, almost Versailles by size and
magnificence. It is open once a month; anyway you can’t go there (or
anywhere else) by yourself. One is being led through numerous scanners
until one meets a perfect waxwork likeness of the two rulers, larger
than life-size. Such effigies or polychromatic waxwork is displayed in a
few places in Pyongyang as modern idols. Mme Marie Tussaud may have a
business in Pyongyang after all! Visitors are supposed to bow many times
in many places.

Next to the sepulchres, there are halls containing memorabilia: medals,
orders and degrees bestowed on the dead leaders. The only order that Kim
Il Sung had been given for personal martial courage, the Soviet Order of
the Fighting Red Banner, is missing as it does not befit a great ruler.

Still, he was definitely a great man of his country and his generation;
he widely travelled and met all important revolutionary leaders. His son
travelled less, and met fewer leaders, as at that time, N Korea had
already withdrawn into a world of its own.

It is said that Kim II borrowed the idea from Russia with its Lenin
Mausoleum on Red Square. Perhaps the idea, but the realisation is not
even similar. The Korean Temple of Sun is 20, 30, no, 50 times bigger
than the modest tomb in Moscow. It can compete with the equally huge Mao
Memorial Hall in Beijing. Likewise, Kim Il-Sung square is many times
bigger than medieval Red Square of Moscow. Again, size-wise, it is more
comparable to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The N Koreans competed with
the Chinese, not with rather modest Russians.

This is true regarding their attitude to the leaders. The Russians were
fond of old Uncle Joe Stalin, but they never deified or worshipped him.
Stalin has not been made the main character of Soviet films. In the most
popular and paradigmatic films of Stalin days, like
<http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041562/>The Cossacks of Kuban (you can
watch it, still good and pleasant, if you can enjoy The Fifties) Stalin
is never mentioned. There were practically no films with Stalin as a
character, in Stalin’s days. There were no stamps, no books dedicated to
Stalin, in his lifetime.

You can’t find a N Korean film without one of the Kims being presented.
A Kim is on the stamps, in theatre productions, on every wall of every
house. It is not Stalin’s Russia. It is much more massive presence,
tripled as the title passed from father to son to grandson.

Kim I began pursuit of nuclear weapons. I’ve been told that he decided
it had to be done after the Cuban missile crisis. He said, "The Soviet
Union can’t be relied upon" and commanded to begin the work on the
A-bomb, the work that bore fruit in the days of his son and was
completed by his grandson.

In a deep underground sanctuary, presents given to the three Kims are
preserved for posterity. There is a basketball given by Madeleine
Albright, and a hunting gun presented by Mr Putin; presents from Jimmy
Carter lay next to swords offered by Saudi sheikhs. It is very difficult
to avoid visits to these places.

I visited a Buddhist monastery in the mountains. There were a few monks,
they spoke only of Kim I’s visits. He came a few times, they said, and
told his people to take good care of the place, but he did not even
enter the prayer and meditation hall. Apparently, Kim has been more on
their minds than the Buddha.

The Koreans I’ve met claimed they do not worship any god or Buddha. The
churches stay empty. All the religious feeling has been directed towards
three Kims. I really disliked it, until one occurrence.

I’ve visited a luxurious and vast Children’s Palace, a beautiful modern
building with dozens of large halls, where children study dance,
painting, calligraphy, chemistry, swimming, volleyball. Once a week they
have a day of open doors, and a lot of people come to look at that, and
to consider whether to bring their child to join one of the groups. The
courses are free, and practically every child can join. Good, but here
again, every hall has been adorned with an image of a Kim. Kim with a
child, or with a group of children, as if he were a living god.

And now, just before crying out loud Down with Kim, I’ll share with you
my doubts. Once, Moscow also had such Children’s Palaces. Many of them
were connected with the Communist Party, many were named after Lenin,
and my generation did not like it. We objected, and we won, almost. The
names of Lenin, Stalin and that of the Communist Party went down.

And then, the Children’s Palaces, and kindergartens in wonderful old
villas were privatised by Yeltsin’s cronies under Milton Friedman and
his Chicago Boys supervision, and they became offices or residences. One
of the nicest Children’s Palaces in Moscow has been privatised by an
ex-KGB man, the oligarch Lebedev, who is now the owner of the British
daily Independent (incidentally, a great enemy of Vladimir Putin).

This is the real choice for many countries: (a) your children can go to
a Children’s Palace named after a Kim, or (b) your Children’s Palace is
being taken over by the Lebedevs of this world, and you have to pay a
fortune and spend hours to give your children the upbringing you had.
This is not an easy choice. The robber barons who come after socialism
has been dismantled will make you wax nostalgic for a Kim quite soon.

The Koreans are fortunate they adore their rulers. Alexander the Great,
Napoleon, Stalin were adored by their people, so were the emperors of
China and Japan. Perhaps it is not worse than living under a ruler one
despises as was the lot of the Americans under George W Bush.

It is unfortunate that they have no contact with their South. This
separation of two halves is the cause of many problems: the more
populous South has all good agricultural lands, while the North is
mainly mountains and industry. Together, they may found a good balance.

Bottom line

Not in vain, Korea has been called the Hermit Kingdom: it is a country
that wants to be left alone. We are not into religious wars: let them
worship whoever they want. If they are not proper Marxists, it is their
own business. If their propaganda is crude, we are not exposed to it. If
they like the aesthetics of the 1950s, they may have it. As for their
human rights, they appear content and their level of life constantly
improves.

I’ve been told by many Koreans that since the Korean war, the N Koreans
have lived in constant fear they will be nuked by the US. For them,
H-bomb is the only guarantee against a possible US attack. There is no
danger they will interfere with their neighbours. End of sanctions would
allow them to grew prosperous, and prosperity will help them to regain
self-esteem.

A proverbial boy pulled his fish from the aquarium for it is wet there.
Fish likes it wet. Koreans like to live in the atmosphere of religious
ecstasy induced by Kim III. Let them have it the way they like it.
Luckily, they do not force us to like it, too.



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