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News From The Hermit Kingdom

North Korea is one of my favourite countries to think about. It seems quite impossible in this day and age that a whole industrialised people can be maintained in complete isolation from the entire globe. But the dictators have managed to do it. Juche, Songun, and the primacy of the Army in the life of the Nation rule as they have for fifty years. From the outside it is a fascinating study of absolute control.

While the rest of us wring our hands over images from Iraq, or chatter about the latest playoff gossip, and wonder whether she is still sleeping with him, the people of North Korea are more focused on matters of seriousness. Yesterday's editorial in the State newspaper Rodong Sinmum, as reported by the State news agency, explains what is important:

"All the servicepersons of the People's Army and people of the DPRK should live and struggle in a strained and revolutionary manner with more transparent anti-imperialist class consciousness than ever before, says Rodong Sinmun today in an editorial. It goes on: Transparent anti-imperialist class consciousness serves as a weapon of conviction that should be firmly maintained in the present confrontation without gunfire. The world greeted the new century and old generation is replaced by a new generation but there should not be any change in the class consciousness and fighting tradition of the revolutionary ranks.

Everybody should judge and treat all issues arising in the revolution and construction from the viewpoint of the anti-imperialist class struggle as required by the Songun idea and deal merciless blows at the U.S. imperialists hatching sinister plots to gnaw at the ideology and system of the DPRK and destabilize it. KoreaThe servicepersons and people should have bitter hatred for the reviving Japanese militarists and strong ideological awareness and determination to revenge themselves on the Japanese militarists, the sworn enemy of the Korean people, at any cost and give vent to their pent-up grudge.

They should live and struggle in a revolutionary and militant manner with the firm stand and viewpoint that they should wage a do-or-die battle with the U.S. and Japanese imperialists any time and they emerge victorious in it without fail.

It is necessary to learn from the staunch anti-imperialist class consciousness and revolutionary and militant spirit displayed by the People's Army standing firm guard over the anti-imperialist military front, the main front of the Songun revolution.

The editorial calls for always maintaining high revolutionary vigilance against the imperialists' ideological and cultural poisoning and psychological offensive, thoroughly reject and oppose them, firmly defend the ideology and system of the DPRK, the Korean style political mode, economic management system and way of living and give full play to their vitality."

And "standing guard" against these dangers apparently means digging down -- a lot. That there are whole towns and industrial areas underground, I was aware. But this item at strategy page surprised me with news of marine caves for their Navy. Also
"the tunnels dug by the North Korean Army beneath the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) separating North Korea from the democratic South. Between 1974 and 1990 four tunnels were detected by American and South Korea forces. These tunnels were up to 3,000 meters in length and were capable of infiltrating up to 30,000 troops an hour, including light-armored vehicles and artillery. One tunnel even had a small plaza in which troops could be called into formation. South Korean sources speculate that up to 20 more tunnels may be lying dormant beneath the DMZ."
Archaeologists often speculate on the nature of ancient societies that could devote inordinate amounts of societal resources on the construction of Pyramids and stone circles and similar structures. I suspect that the North Korea of today may well provide a useful guide to the level of authoritarian brutality required.

May 16, 2004 in North Korea | Permalink


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News From The Hermit Kingdom