maandag, december 23, 2002

Kim Jong-il, Faggots and Fires

The Korean News Agency of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- that's North Korea, home of the Kim Jong-il for those of you not already hip and a member of his fan club), has urged Japan not to put unreasonable pressure on the darling of the DPKR over its new nuclear power policy which basically thumbs its nose at the US and its allies the region.

The official statement warns that Japan's "taking an active part in such dangerous campaign is little short of committing a suicide such as jumping into fire with faggot on its back". This of course induced all sorts of strange imagery for me of Samurai swordsmen trying to jump over roaring fires with Charles Nelson Reilly tied to their back while Big Brother Kim Jong "He Be Illin'" wags a warning finger in their faces. But no, in fact, faggot also can mean a bundle of sticks and twigs and such bound together which of course, is something you would not want to have tied to your back when jumping over a fire. Kudos to the crack DPRK translating team on that one.

Of course, this doesn't answer the question of what to do about North Korea's bold decision decision to remove U.N. seals and surveillance cameras from its nuclear facilities.

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov waxed poetic on how "it is counter-productive and dangerous to blackmail North Korea, with its grave economic position" but as usual, Donald Rumsfeld was less sympathetic and compromising on the plight of his enemies, asking, perhaps somewhat rhetorically "Do you think it's the idea of the rhetoric from the United States that's causing them to starve their people or to do these idiotic things or try to build a nuclear power plant?"

Meanwhile, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises that "Independent tourism is not permitted in the DPRK. Tourism is only permitted in groups organised by DPRK officials." It further states that Australians "are advised that there are continuing serious energy, pharmaceutical and other shortages that may impact on their visit." I didn't know such advice was necessary. Why the hell do Australians want to go to North Korea as tourists anyway? What are they going to there to do anyway? Witness food shortages and watch people kill each other over a celery stick? Dazzle their neighbors at the next shrimp on the barbie with photographs of malnourished North Korean babies?

It isn't clear why a government who can't feed their people anything more inventive than dirt sandwiches and wind soup at the Great Famine Buffet would want to spend their last wons on visions of world nuclear domination and scaring their neighbors back into their holes but it does lend a little insight on their culture when their analogy for suicide is jumping over a fire with a bundle of sticks tied to their backs.

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