Japan from the inside out

Useless idiots

Posted by ampontan on Thursday, December 20, 2012

VLADIMIR Ilyich, AKA Lenin, was once so full of himself that he said the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them. It didn’t work out that way, in no small part because the system he implemented in Russia was so dreadful it was incapable of generating enough of the capital they would have needed to buy the ropes to begin with.

But that isn’t to say capitalists — or parasites — of that type didn’t and don’t exist. Then again, perhaps parasites is not what they are, judging from the NK website. Maybe they’re more along the lines of the useful idiots of Joseph Stain, who included H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw.

This comes from their About page:

NK NEWS aims to be the internet’s No.1 source for breaking North Korean news, analysis, culture and curiosities + professional, academic and student resources. We know how keen the world is to learn about daily life in North Korea, and we’re determined to show you it.

They’re so determined to show us they omit this part:

Nearly a third of children under age 5 show signs of stunting, particularly in rural areas where food is scarce, and chronic diarrhea due to a lack of clean water, sanitation and electricity has become the leading cause of death among children, the [U.N.] agency said. Hospitals are spotless but bare; few have running water or power, and drugs and medicine are in short supply, the agency said in a detailed update on the humanitarian situation in North Korea.

“I’ve seen babies … who should have been sitting up who were not sitting up, and can hardly hold a baby bottle,” Jerome Sauvage, the U.N.’s Pyongyang-based resident coordinator for North Korea, said in Beijing before presenting the report to donors.

The report paints a bleak picture of deprivation in the countryside, not often seen by outsiders, who are usually not allowed to travel beyond the relatively prosperous Pyongyang, where cherubic children are hand-picked to attend government celebrations and a middle-class with a taste for good food have the means to eat out.

Sauvage’s report provides not only further evidence of North Korea’s inability to feed its people, but also bolsters critics who say the government should be spending on food security instead of building up its military, testing rockets and pursuing a nuclear program denounced by the U.N., the United States and South Korea.

But let’s get back to the boys and girls walking on one of the few sunny sides of the street:

We aim to offer perspectives and insights that challenge the think-tank orthodoxy of Washington DC and promote a better understanding of North Korea at all levels, as well as aggregating the sum total of news and opinion elsewhere on the web, making NK NEWS a balanced source of information that we hope you’ll find indispensable.

Yeah, useful idiots sounds about right. They’ve also got good friends at Koryo Tours, which sell tours to North Korea for those people willing to challenge the orthodoxies of the DC think tanks and whichever bureau is in charge of propaganda in Pyeongyang.

Koryo Tours is so friendly, in fact, they offered the website these pictures of the Ryugong Hotel, where construction work has resumed after 20 years. Kim I wanted to make it the tallest building in the world, but he ran out of money before they could finish. It’s been sitting there rusting since 1992. But wait!

Work resumed in 2008 after heavy investment from Egypt’s Orascom group, who are also responsible and heavily invested in North Korea’s mobile telephone industry.

Egypt and North Korea — now doesn’t that sound like a winning combination? Then again, Pyeongyang’s been down so long that Cairo probably looks like up to them.

The website thinks the work will be done in two or three years, at which time “it will…contain the country’s premier restaurants, hotel accommodation, apartments, and business facilities.” Of course Koryo Tours will offer you a package that includes the Ryugong as lodgings. NK News asks us all to “stay tuned for further details”.

Speaking of travel details, here’s an article that appeared in the Daily NK this March describing how travel for North Korean citizens to Pyeongyang for any reason was prohibited a month in advance of the Chosun Workers’ Party Delegates Conference:

They have been strictly controlling the entry of people from the regions into Pyongyang since the General passed away, but since the 1st of this month entry they have almost completely prohibited it.” According to the source, provincial residents are no longer able to obtain vacation transit permits. Irrespective of purpose, entering the city normally requires an approval number from the 2nd Department of Pyongyang City People’s Committee, with which the 2nd department of the applicant’s province, city or county people’s committee or individual enterprise can then issue a permit to travel for vacation or work. ‘2nd Departments’ are responsible for the movement of people in a given administrative area.”


Similarly, Pyongyang residents themselves cannot go very far, since it is only possible to get a permit for daytrips.”

Maybe if they got in touch with the friendly folks at Koryo Tours…

If they’re so anxious to make money off North Korea, here’s a better idea: Send Cho Ok-cho abroad for a concert tour. She and her audience will learn a lot more about the world that way than anyone who tours North Korea with Koryo.

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