The New York Times reported on a recent children rally in North Korea attended by the new leader of the Secret State, Kim Jong-un.
The newspaper quoted political scientist Ahn Chan-il from the World Institute of North Korea Studies in Seoul, South Korea, as saying that mingling with kids is Kim Jong-un’s way of “winning back the respect of the people.” Is this a bad journalism?
As someone who follows closely the situation in North Korea, and after having searched the web for the quote, including in French and in Spanish (réconquerir and recuperar means winning back in French and in Spanish respectively), this is not a bad journalism. Instead, this is bad interpretation by Ahn Chan-il, especially on two aspects that I will discuss in this article.
First of all, the third dictator in this Stalinist regime hasn’t lost anyone’s respect in order to “win it back.” If there is anyone who lost their respect toward him, they, as well as their entire family and other relatives, are then sentenced to life at one of the many concentration camps in Nort Korea. In these concentration camps it is well known that the living conditions are abhorrent and people constantly stay tortured and hungry. Therefore, it is not such lofty rallies – such as the Sixty-Sixth Anniversary of the Korean Children’s Union – that win back his people’s respect. It is the fear that these people have from him and the Kim’s dynasty’s vile regime.
Second of all, in the North Korean society – reputable for its reverence toward elderly people, especially leaders, when it comes to leadership – “winning back” respect doesn’t come through “mingling with kids,” especially and particularly when the new leader is too young and therefore has his age as a potential liability within his own people. In fact, the mainstream media was reporting on the concerns about his age all both months before and after he succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il.
This is why the propaganda machine in North Korea is focused on not just featuring him on KCNA TV, which also made an hour-long video of him. The propaganda machine is also focused on allegedly forcing people finish all of their [scripted] statements by stating how devoted they will be to the Superior Leader – Kim Jong-un. Its hidden goal is both to deny these reported concerns and to brainwash their population as much as they can into pledging allegiance to him, which does not mean “winning back” respect in any way.
For those of you interested in watching the entire parody and other parodies in North Korea, its government’s news agency – KCNA – has a channel on Youtube, and has posted that parody there. It appears that in a more and more globalizing world everyone, including communists and other anti-capitalists, would use capitalist means to spread their pathetic message.