Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Juche-est Show on Earth

They might be starving, but they know how to put on an annual mass rally. This one has made the Guinness Book of World Records. Here we learn that they revised Act III, Scene I "with fresh contents more truthfully representing the great mental power and skills of the Korean people":
The grand gymnastic and artistic performance "Arirang" for this year started at the May Day Stadium Monday.

The creating staff and performers succeeded in re-representing the extravaganza in a brief span of time; they newly created Scene I of Act III and enriched it with fresh contents more truthfully representing the great mental power and skills of the Korean people and the appearance of the country that has undergone tremendous changes.

Among the audience were servicepersons and people from all walks of life, diplomatic envoys and representatives of international organizations here, foreign guests and overseas Koreans.

The performers made an impressive grand epic representation of Juche Korea that has risen high as a dignified sovereign power after putting an end to the history of the nation's sufferings under the leadership of President Kim Il Sung and the unshakable faith and will of the army and people of the DPRK to build a great prosperous and powerful socialist nation guaranteeing the eternal prosperity of the nation under the Songun leadership of Kim Jong Il. [...]
The Guardian had this to say about a past Arirang:
As well as being technically astonishing - one foreign defence official said the military drills were the best he had seen - it is emotionally compelling. Mythologised or not, the story of the Korean peninsula is a genuine tear-jerker. Over the past century, it has been brutalised by Japan, devastated by war, divided by superpowers and plagued by famine, floods, dire leadership and a political system at odds with the rest of the world.

This makes the message more complicated than that of the rallies by the Third Reich or the Soviet Union . . .
If you say so. In a current essay, Christopher Hitchens observes:
The shattering statistic that everybody now knows about North Korea is that its citizens are on average 5 to 6 inches shorter than South Koreans. And by that I mean to say "on average"—it seems to be true even of North Korean soldiers. The stunting and shortening of the children of the last famine generation may be still more heartbreaking when we come to measure it.
All the blather about "mental power" isn't so funny, ultimately.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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