Those WomenCrossDMZ "peace activists" are certainly getting attention during their brief high-profile stay in North Korea. After their visit to the Great Leader's birthplace, not to mention the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang Textile Mill and other delights, they're featured today in two separate items in the latest official KCNA news bulletin. First up:
An International Peace Symposium took place here on Thursday by women of different countries.
Present there were Chae Chun Hui, vice-chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People (KCSWP) and vice-chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Democratic Women's Union of Korea, officials concerned and members of a delegation to take part in the 2015 international women's grand march for the reunification and peace in Korea.
Speeches were made by anti-war peace activists Irish Maguire Mairead, Liberian Gbowee Leymah Roberta, American Benjamin Susan Jill, Colombian Guerrero Acevedo Angela Patricia, Japanese Takazato Suzuyo and Kim Chun Sil, member of the Korean Committee on Measures for the Sexual Slavery for Japanese Army and Drafting Victims,
Speakers said that the Japanese imperialists keen on aggression and war committed the heinous crimes of forcing 200 000 Korean women into sexual slavery, slashing the Asia-Pacific region and slaughtering its people.
They said the U.S. is trying to ignite wars in different parts of the world, branding it as a kingdom of terrorism and a kingpin of human right abuses.
They went on:
Women's organizations and organizations for peace movement have made efforts for women's rights in various parts of the world.
The power of the women is inexhaustible as they love justice and peace and aspire after the bright future of children. But their human rights are being mercilessly trampled down in the capitalist countries.
Speakers extended full support and firm solidarity to the struggle of the Korean people for the reunification and peace of the country, saying that the tragedy of the Korean nation who has lived divided into two for a long period should be ended as early as possible.
American Benjamin Susan Jill is, presumably, Medea Benjamin (born Susan Benjamin), Code Pink founder, last seen in Iran railing about the Jews - sorry, Zionists - and how they control US foreign policy. I doubt she found much to disagree with here. It is, as per usual for "peace activists", only the West which can be guilty of aggression, racism, and other such crimes against humanity. Did any of these brave women balk at the proposition that "human rights are being mercilessly trampled down in the capitalist countries", voiced in the country so recently damned by the UN for its appalling human rights record? I somehow doubt it. I imagine them all nodding sagely in agreement.
A meeting was held between the Korean women and members of a delegation to take part in the 2015 international women's grand march for the reunification and peace in Korea at the People's Palace of Culture on Thursday.
Present there were Chae Chun Hui, vice-chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People and vice-chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Democratic Women's Union of Korea, women in the fields of science, education, culture, health public and media and members of the delegation.
Speakers said that the U.S. imperialists had plunged the Korean nation into the holocaust during the Fatherland Liberation War, adding that it was the most barbarous crimes against humanity unprecedented in the history of world wars.
They denounced the U.S. for bringing nuclear weapons into south Korea and waging frantic war exercises every year by instigating the anti-reunification forces.
They went on:
The Law on Sex Equality was promulgated, letting the Korean women enjoy the equal rights as men, take part in the life of politics, economy and culture and push one of the two wheels of the revolutionary chariot.
A ceremony of linking rainbow-stripped cloths took place reflecting the desire of the Koreans and the world women for reunification and peace of the country.
Again, one imagines little opposition from our peace activists to the abuse hurled at the US imperialists and their barbarous crimes "unprecedented in the history of world wars". By their presence at such staged events they are, whether they like it or not, adding their (dwindling) reputations to such grotesque propaganda.
Still, the exchange of rainbow-stripped (striped?) cloths must have been a deeply moving moment.
KCNA, the official North Korean news agency, is covering the visit of Gloria Steinem and her WomenCrossDMZ chums, complete with happy posed photos:
A delegation to take part in the 2015 international women's grand march for the reunification and peace in Korea visited Mangyongdae, the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung, on Wednesday.
Being briefed on the old home in Mangyongdae, the guests looked round historic relics there.
The delegation also visited the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang Textile Mill, Kyongsang Kindergarten, Okryu Children's Hospital and the Breast Tumor Institute of the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital on the same day.
That the KCNA is happy to cover this absurd circus tells you all you need to know:
The associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Abraham Cooper, and Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, said, “We desperately need the voices of feminists protesting the murder, torture and exploitation of North Korean women by their own government, but any sanctioning of a peace march by North Korea can be nothing but human rights theater intended to cover up its death camps and crimes against humanity.”
A senior research scholar at Columbia University’s East Asian Institute and former analyst on Korean issues for the CIA, Sue Mi Terry, added, “Its treatment of women, particularly repatriated female defectors, is hideous, as noted by the UN in recent years. I just hope that if Ms. Steinem and this group of prominent women decide to go through with this walk, it is to highlight human rights abuses that are taking place in North Korea, not to further blame the U.S. and South Korea for the myriad problems created by the North Korean regime…”
[I]n 2014 a United Nations Report on North Korea alleged that the Kim Jong-un regime has been guilty of crimes against humanity including forcing women to abort their babies or killing them after birth. The document said that these crimes included: “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
On Sunday the 30 women "peace activists" will cross the DMZ to South Korea. This is, of course, a luxury denied to the wretched women of North Korea - an irony which will likely fail to register with Steinem and co. as they attend their triumphant news conference in Seoul.
Gloria Steinem and her WomenCrossDMZ pals have arrived in Pyongyang. Naturally enough one of their first visits was to Mangyongdae, birthplace of Kim Il Sung, where they could pay homage to the Great Leader. They have a busy schedule ahead of them before their dramatic walk on the 24th over the DMZ to the South:
The women have already begun meeting female North Koreans and are scheduled to visit a women’s factory, maternity hospital and children’s preschool in Pyongyang.
No doubt they'll be impressed. I think we can assume that visits have not been arranged to some of the prison camps, where returned refugee women are subjected to forced abortions, or have their infants killed, to preserve the purity of the Korean bloodstock.
With impeccable timing the official KCNA news agency, demonstrating North Korea's strong commitment to feminist principles, has just released a viciously misogynist rant against South Korean President Park Geun Hye. The English version is bad enough, but, as Joshua Stanton shows, the original version in Korean is much worse. Some choice bits:
Is Park Geun Hye really a woman who wears a skirt?
Judging by her appearance and her attitude she's more a mutant venomous snake than a woman.
Park Geun Hye's scurrying about, with her skirt flapping behind her, is all about her rash desperation to spinelessly sell her nation's soul to foreigners. She delays the return of wartime operation control of the Korean military by obsequiously brown-nosing her master, America, in the way that a whore lifts her skirts to lure strangers.
How can a mouth that licks the stinking crotch of her master speak the upright words that this time requires and our nation expects.
And so on. But read the whole of Stanton's excellent post at One Free Korea.
The feminists will, of course, carry on regardless, blinded by their sanctimonious self-absorption, unaware - or unwilling to see - that they're helping to whitewash a regime with one of the worst human rights records in the world.
North Korea has reportedly been carrying out lectures not only for military cadres but also provincial Party officials in the wake of the execution of its defense chief Hyon Yong Chol, Daily NK has learned. At Party lectures, documents have been handed out stating Hyon was executed for his disgruntlement towards Kim Jong Un’s leadership and the Party’s ideology, a local source told Daily NK.
Senior North Korean officials will have learned their lesson: whatever you do, stay gruntled.
San Francisco, 1940:
From the Historic American Buildings Survey notes - "Silas Palmer House, NW corner Van Ness and Washington. Essentially stick in style, with features of the Villa and Shingle eras, as well as tall Mansard roof on tower. Squared bays are typical of 1880s. Some pseudo-Moorish details on entrance porch. Cast iron cresting on roof. Built circa 1886. Destroyed after 1940."
It was demolished, apparently, to make way for a used car lot.
More from the excellent Daily NK, with its anonymous sources reporting on the real opinions of the people of North Korea, away from official circles. This time it's about the execution reported last week of defence minister Hyon Yong Chol - supposedly in dramatic and gruesome fashion with an anti-aircraft gun in front of a Pyongyang crowd, after being caught dozing off at a military event.
News of the execution of Hyon Yong Chol, North Korea’s defense minister, is traveling swiftly throughout the country, while lectures for military cadre have been propagating Hyon’s purge on account of “insubordinance to the country’s monolithic leadership,” Daily NK has learned.
Among ordinary members of the public, Kim Jong Un’s execution of high-level officials to consolidate his power has been dubbed a practice of “cannibalistic politics.”
“People in rural areas are yet unaware of the public shooting of the Minister of the People’s Armed Forces [MPAF], but rumors have started to spread in Pyongyang and Sinuiju,” a source from North Pyongan Province told Daily NK over the weekend. “The rumors are spreading quickly, so within a few days people in provincial areas will know of his execution.”
He added, “It has been the norm for hundreds of other military cadres to be purged if a high-level official such as the defense chief is kicked out or executed due the country’s practice of guilt-by-association.” This applies not only the core members of the MPAF, but also heads of businesses affiliated with the military and donju [newly affluent middle class]earning in foreign currency, described by the source as “shaking with fear” after the most recent execution.
The vast majority of people lack interest in matters taking place within the military, but those running in more socially aware crowds are calling the public execution an act that goes against all norms, "abhorrent just like the Simhwajo incident from the ‘90s (a series of purges carried out in the late ‘90s to consolidate Kim Jong Il’s power),” according to the source.
“Most people know that as a child, Kim Jong Un had the tendency of getting angry and tormenting others around him if he lost at any sports game,” he said, adding that "his regime is even more brutal than his father’s songun [military-first politics] dictatorship."
The uncertainty blanketing the situation--that is, how many other high-ranking officials will be killed following the execution of the MPAF leader--makes the country feel like "a ticking time bomb," the source explained. “Those who genuinely care about the country and express their opinions are considered unfaithful and executed. Opportunists who pander to the dictatorship on the other hand are promoted as loyal servants; Kim Jong Un is just like the leader from 'The Emperor's New Clothes," he asserted.
“It is obvious how the authorities will put a spin on the news of Hyon’s execution once it spreads nationwide. When Suh Kwan Hee, the Party secretary in charge of agriculture, was executed for allegedly working as a spy for the U.S. during the Korean War, people believed the accusations. But no one believes things like that anymore,” he elaborated. “There is an adage that says that even worms writhe when being trampled on. Similarly, if this practice of cannibalistic politics continues, resistance may overpower fear.”
Times - and opinions - have changed. The worms are turning.
Some in the Labour movement may have learned lessons from the election defeat. One who hasn't, clearly enough, is Len McCluskey. Nick Cohen, in the Spectator:
McCluskey keeps saying he wants to stand up for ‘ordinary working people’ when he can’t persuade ‘ordinary working people’ to join his trade union. He keeps saying he wants to fight the hated Tories, while striking sectarian poses that will stop Labour building broad alliances with everyone from the church leaders to Liberal Democrats, who might take Cameron on.
Instead of confronting his faults, he forces out the leader of the Scottish Labour party and insists on veto rights over the leader of the national Labour party. All this at a time when Unite – or rather the dominant left faction within it – is heading for the exit door.
Chesterton’s words that when a man stop believing in God he doesn’t believe in nothing he believes in anything apply with a vengeance to the far left. After the death of socialism, they would go along with any movement however corrupt or reactionary if it was against the status quo....
Despite having used its influence to rig selections and having Unite sponsored Labour MPs in Westminster, I suspect what Unite – or rather the McCluskey faction within it – dreams of establishing a new pure party to the left of Labour. He certainly has the men to do it. His chief of staff, Andrew Murray, is one of the most repugnant men in left wing politics. People throw the word ‘Stalinist’ around and demean it by trivialising it. But in the case of Murray it is just. He is a member of the Communist Party of Britain, who has defended North Korea – ‘Our Party has already made its basic position of solidarity with Peoples Korea clear’ – and produced apologies for Stalinism.
In no sense is he a friend or ally of the Labour Party. He is its enemy and his master is making it as clear as he can than he intends to become Labour’s enemy too.
“At 20, I actually thought I was the only Muslim atheist in the world. You just don’t know about it. I didn’t know you could leave. There’s not a concept of it. It’s hard to explain. It’s like knowing the world is round but you can’t see it.”
Fully aware of the mental stress so many dissenting Muslims suffer, he has been working to get appropriate therapy for those going through the emotional dislocation of leaving Islam.
“One ex-Muslim I know went to get therapy from a white female therapist and in the end she referred him to a Muslim support network.”
Shams, who seems remarkably self-possessed for his young age, agrees that there are particular gender issues that afflict disillusioned Muslims. To this end he has tried to link up with feminist societies at universities. “But there’s a real problem in this country,” he says. “People don’t want to touch anything to do with leaving Islam. Especially in universities, where the politics are insane.”
He has a point. In recent times the National Union of Students have refused to condemn Isis on the grounds that is would justify Islamophobia. Shams believes that this kind of gesture and the NUS decision last month to lobby alongside Cage, the militant Islamic prisoners pressure group, undermines the position of dissenting Muslims. “What it does is to say to reformists and secularists, you’re not really Muslims.”