Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Propaganda at its Finest

While I was out wandering the Internet today, I came across the official website of the DPRK. And because I love propaganda in all its forms, (and am looking at nationalism in North Korea), I am in the process of exploring it. It's not a very robust website, but some things are interesting. Here you can find the official Kim Il Sung biography. I would tell you what's in it, but it is over 2000 pages long, and I haven't read it all yet. Given last week, though, this is of interest. In the second paragraph, Kim Il Sung (it's written in the first person) states:

"The Korean people seethed with anger and wept with sorrow over the loss of their nationhood. Countless patriots could not bear the tragedy that had befallen on Korea and opted to end their lives than to live under the Japanese yoke. They chose honorable death over shameful submission to the much despised Japanese."

It's also interesting, I find, that even after he describes the various physical tortures inflicted by the Japanese on the Korean people, the most horrible crimes committed by the Japanese were taking away their language and changing of the names, as well as changing the diet. In other words, in the North Korean (or nationalist?) conception, physical torture of individuals, or even death, falls far short of the horrors of having your culture or national identity stripped from you. And death is far better than submission, let alone collaboration.

Kim's 10 point proposal for reunification is also interesting in terms of looking at North Korean nationalism. Kim states: "All the members of the nation should link their individual destiny with that of the nation, love their nation passionately and unite with the single desire to defend the independence of the nation." The Korean nation is still imagined to incorporate all Koreans, not just those in North Korea, and I could be wrong, but to me this indicates a doubt on the North Koreans part as to the dedication of South Koreans to the cause of the nation.

I am curious if anyone knows how the average North Korean feels about the Japanese? How much of this propaganda do you internalize? I would think it's difficult to avoid or ignore, and when you're a child, if you're taught nothing else, that would make it harder. But I have a feeling these questions will not be answered until something drastic changes in North Korea.

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