Reading ‘Gone With the Wind’ in Pyongyang

Reading ‘Gone With the Wind’ in Pyongyang

In “Gone With the Wind,” North Koreans found echoes of their own history and insights into the United States: bloody civil wars fought nearly a century apart; two cities — Atlanta and Pyongyang — reduced to rubble after attacks by U.S. forces; two cultures that still celebrate the way they stood up to the Yankees.

Interview with Kim Han Sol

Kim Jong Il’s Grandson is Living With a Libyan Revolutionary

NK News’ summary and video of an interview of Kim Han Sol (Kim Jong Il’s grandson) by Elisabeth Rehn.

He admits growing up with American and South Korean students in Macau initially posed a problem for him, but that over time they “turned out to be really great friends”, which “sparked the curiosity for me to go further.”

Very much worth a watch. Kim Han Sol is a well-spoken young man and I’m glad he took the opportunity to speak for himself in a formal setting rather than letting random journalists speculate about his life.

The North American Juche-Songun Ideas Study Group

A plaque on the Juche Tower in Pyongyang donated by the New York Group for the Study of Kim Il Sungism

Today I came across the WordPress blog of the North American Juche-Songun Ideas Study Group, which regardless of how you feel about the Juche (the DPRK’s national ideology) or Songun (the DPRK’s Military First Policy), is a fascinating visit.

For starters it does appear to be real and North American based, which is not only very relevant to the theme of this website, but also interesting from the perspective of a certain plaque on the base of the Juche Tower in Pyongyang (see above). In fact, at least one of its members seems to be based out of New York much like their predecessors in the 1970’s. The ever questioning Russia Today (RT) interviewed Chairman Jason Adam Tonis of the study group following the DPRK’s failed rocket launch in April (below)

The site contains numerous translations of the works  of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and is surprisingly up-to-date with the speeches and works of Kim Jong Un. It also contains links to the works of Kim Myong Chol, “Director of the Centre of Korean-American Peace” who is a regular contributor to the Asia Times, and other Juche study groups around the world- including one in Nigeria, of all places.

In this way, the site serves well as a resource for those in search of primary sources on the DPRK, and,  of course, an introduction for those brave souls wanting to read up on their Juche. I am interested to see if the “Study Guide”  ever comes to include any North American specific material for the average Yank and Canuck.

Some final thoughts:

1. Someone needs to write Kim Myong Chol and tell him it’s  “CentER of Korean-American Peace”. North Koreans are not the only people who are defensive about regional spelling. I’m sure he wouldn’t like the US making the (북)한미평화연구원, or something like that.

2. While I am pretty sure the DPRK does not support the North American Juche-Songun Ideas Study Group financially,they might do a lot to further the cause by sending Mr. Tonis a comb.

For an interesting look at connections and interactions between the DPRK and the US’ northern neighbor, please see CanKor: “CanKor is a Canadian interactive resource on North Korea concerned with seeking rational North Korea policy. CanKor resists the snob factor by bridging the gap between professionals and people whose curiosity has not yet been undermined by inflexible perceptions. CanKor is based on the premise that there is a crucial role to be played in northeast Asia by second-tier middle powers like Canada, Australia and the European Union.”(http://vtncankor.wordpress.com/)

CanKor

[The following is taken from a paper by Dean J. Ouellette, Assistant Professor, Kyungnam University in Seoul. A Canadian friend of CanKor since the early days, Prof. Ouellette edits the Institute of Far Eastern Studies IFES Forum. The paper from which this excerpt is taken is a revised version of an article that recently appeared in Asia-Pacific Business and Technology Report, vol. 4, no. 3 (September 2012). To read the complete paper, which begins with Canada-ROK relations, please follow this link. –CanKor]

Early History

Canada and Korea share a history that dates back to the late 19th century, when Canadian missionaries arrived on the peninsula, and introduced Western medicine and education, and helped with organizing and fundraising to build hospitals and schools. One early Canuck even supported Koreans during the March 1, 1919 Independence Movement, and ended up being deported by the Japanese colonial authorities.

Official Canadian government…

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2012: The Year of Strong and Prosperous Nations

“We must tend well to the precious seeds planted by Comrade Kim Jong-il for the sake of building a strong and prosperous nation and improving the peoples’ lives, cultivating them so that they blossom into a glorious reality.” -Kim Jong Un on April 15, 2012

“…free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.” -Mitt Romney on September 25, 2012

North Korean Song: Let’s Study (배우자)

“Let’s Study for Choson”

Time flows on without rest

So don’t look back and treasure each minutes and second like gold

Let’s study, let’s study for my country

Let’s study, let’s study for tomorrow

Let’s make a paradise in our own way 

 

This song has recently been covered by the newly formed Moranbong Band. Despite the attention received by their glittery outfits, short skirts, and jewelry, many of the dance moves remain variations on old themes.

Below is the Moranbong version of “Let’s Study”.

I’m still waiting for “Military-First Generation” (선군시대) as a northern rival to the south’s “Girls Generation” (소녀시대).

North Korean Children’s Song: I am a Flower Bud (나는야 꽃봉오리)

나는야 꽃봉오리, or I am a Flower Bud, is a North Korean children’s song. In the DPRK, children are often referred to as ‘flower buds’ and the word finds its way into many children’s books and songs.[1]

     I am a flower bud, a flower bud

     Shall I bloom for the spring winds?

     Shall I bloom for the honey bees?

     Oh no, no. I bloom for the the love of the Great Leader .

     I am a flower bud of Korea.[2]

Flower Bud is also the name of a bimonthly children’s educational newspaper.[3] Here is a video of a child performing this song:


[1] Information Center on North Korea: http://library.unikorea.go.kr

[2] For the full Korean lyrics, see: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/kimno_souko/10950439.html

[3] Korea Publications: http://www.korea-publ.com/