Saturday, July 09, 2005

Isn't Propoganda Supposed To Make You Look Better Than The Enemy?

Propoganda is a tool for every country, but it is especially relied upon by oppressive regimes. What is tricky, however, is making sure that it has the desired effects. That is, it should make your oppressive regime look better by comparison than the enemy you seek to demean.

Apparently, North Korea needs to rethink its current propoganda machine.

This story starts with North Korean spy Lee In-Mo.
Lee, 76, was a North Korean spy dispatched during the early days of Korean War (1950-53) and became a partisan when he missed the chance to go back before the cease-fire agreement was signed. He was captured at the age of 33 and spent 42 years in South Korean prisons. When the government in Seoul released spies and partisans in exchange for letters rejecting communist ideology and pledges to become loyal South Korean citizens, Lee and 62 other communists refused and opted to remain in prison.
So without a doubt, Lee is a good candidate for propoganda. A loyalist who stood up for his communist ideal through years of prison. In fact, this concerned South Korea when they decided to send him home.
North Korea demanded his repatriation, but Seoul hesitated knowing that he would be used for propaganda against the South. After all, his was a case made to order for propaganda: faith in the socialist system, dedication for a cause (national unification), and four decades in prison and unflinching loyalty.

After much debate on the pros and cons of repatriating Lee, the Kim Young-Sam government decided to send him back in a humanitarian spirit (62 others were later sent back by President Kim Dae-Jung) and to attempt a breakthrough in the deadlocked South-North relations.
And sure enough, the North made a propoganda film. But in telling his story, the difference between North Korea and South Korea became clear. Among the reactions of the recent defectors who saw the movie:

"What we could not believe in the movie was that Lee and others were conducting hunger strikes in the prison," said one defector about the movie.

"Refusing to eat was a form of resistance in the South? Boy, South Korea must be a paradise. That's what we said among ourselves"

Many North Korean defectors said their first reaction upon seeing the film was to ask how people could stay in prison for more than 10 years and remain alive? They say few people survive even three years in North Korean political prisons. Being fed three regular meals a day is utterly unimaginable.

Political prisoners die from disease and malnutrition, if not from torture, as documented by Kang Chul-Won in his best-selling book, "Aquariums of Pyongyang," which recently led him to be invited by President Bush to the White House.

This kind of reminds me of the GitMo prisoners who have been release being given new clothes because they all put on weight while imprisoned. I'm sure that happens all the time in the prisons of the Islamic world.


At 10:59 PM, Blogger Pile OnĀ® said...

KJ, you magnificent bastard, you are really breaking Kim's balls here.


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