December 21, 2011
One of the jokes that went viral pertains to a glutton who chances upon a funeral wake, and being the crafty character he is, soon hatches a plan to get a hefty helping of the food cooking on the fire in one corner of the homestead. Our man wails to high heaven, throwing his body on the ground, portraying a level of grief that leaves even the widowed green with envy.
He soon fakes fainting and is carried into the shade with the elders instructing varoora to ensure that he is among the first to be served once he comes to. On hearing this, our glutton quickly regains consciousness and is soon tucking into a plateful of sadza and meat that he devours in no time.
Having had his fill he reaches for a twig and begins plucking stubborn strands of meat wedged between his teeth, and asks the person nearest to him, ‘‘Nhai ndiyani afa pano (whose funeral wake is this?”
Well I was reminded of this joke after seeing flushed western correspondents and their grey haired analysts lampooning the late North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il as a ‘‘ruthless dictator”. The western packaging of the iconic North Korean leader, who succeeded his father in 1994 – a fact apparently unknown to one daily here that credited him with training the Fifth Brigade in the early 80s – was at variance with the outpouring of national grief in Pyongyang.
Even western media so given to lampooning those tarred and feathered by western governments could not help but acknowledge the outpouring of grief.
These duplicitous media could, however, not reconcile their packaging of Kim with the grief that engulfed his nation. The overriding question then becomes; why were only outsiders – westerners for that matter not even Diaspora Koreans – the ones labelling Kim a heartless dictator yet the Koreans themselves were so heartbroken over his death?
It was evident from the footage coming out of the DPRK that Kim was loved by his people even as outsiders who could not get their way in the Korean Peninsula sought to tar and feather him.
What gives westerners the arrogance to believe they know best what is good for everyone in this world? Why do they believe they are the be all and end all of all that is humane, democratic and good when many in the developing world had to fight gruelling wars to win basic freedoms from these same devils who dare preach sanctity today?
What is even more shocking is the tendency by some among us to adopt a monkey see monkey do mentality; that regurgitates whatever westerners say with sickening prurience.
Such people do not have minds of their own. To them; the world is what BBC and CNN say it is.
They are like fetching dogs. All that westerners need to do is throw a stick and say fetch; and off they will go yapping happily.
A friend of mine had this to say, ‘‘if anyone knows where I can find grateful North Koreans happy at Cde Kim’s death, I would be happy to see them.”
Kim Jong Il’s death inspired a deluge of articles in western media that presented the DPRK government as a dangerous and crazed regime that posed a dire threat to the stability of not only the Korean Peninsula but North East Asia as a whole. Which threat called on the US and its allies to put their militaries on alert to save the ‘‘hapless” Asians. For such is the “burden” the Anglo-Saxons foisted on themselves, to save all the dark and yellow-skinned people of this world from themselves!
Yet anyone who has followed events in the Korean Peninsula would know that it is Uncle Sam who has been at the heart of perennial tensions in the region due to his policies of destructive engagement that sought to destabilise the DPRK since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The Korean civil war itself was initiated by the US using its cat’s paw regime in the South that sought to checkmate not only the DPRK but China as well.
The Anglo-Saxon driven war destroyed the DPRK scarred leaving three million people dead and many more maimed, and perpetuated Uncle Sam’s division of the peninsula.
Kim Jong-Il assumed the reins after the death of his father Kim il-sung in 1994 amid tensions with the US.
Then US president George H W Bush and his successor, Bill Clinton, latched on to the DPRK’s nuclear programs as a pretext for war and were only deterred from launching their usual impudent adventures by the DPRK’s nuke deterrence.
In the wake of the collapse of the USSR, in 1991, the DPRK’s key ally.
The DPRK found itself vulnerable and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, expecting in return that the US and its allies would ease the debilitating economic sanctions they had imposed and move toward diplomatic recognition.
In what has become a recurring pattern over the past two decades, the US bullied and pressured North Korea into agreements, but refused to make any moves to end Pyongyang’s isolation.
Matters came to a head in 1994 over North Korea’s experimental reactor at Yongbyon, which the Clinton administration claimed would provide plutonium for a nuclear bomb. Military action was only averted when Clinton, was warned by his military advisors of the catastrophic consequences of such an adventure. He backed off and sent Jimmy Carter to cut a deal with Pyongyang.
Kim Il-sung died shortly after Carter’s trip. Kim Jong-il finalised what became known as the Agreed Framework, under which North Korea agreed to shut down and eventually dismantle its nuclear facilities in return for the supply of oil and power reactors and, most importantly, an end to diplomatic and economic isolation. The DPRK froze its nuclear programs, but Uncle Sam did not keep his end of the bargain.
The aggression, which was never about North Korea or its nuclear programs per se but was aimed at China, intensified with Bush declaring China “a strategic rival” during his election campaign.
By deliberately escalating tensions, Uncle Sam threatened the DPRK, China’s traditional ally, strategically situated on its border. At the same time, the US spoiled plans by China, Russia and the European powers to open up North Korea as a transport and pipeline route to South Korea and Japan.
So far from the late Kim being the dictator that the US and its allies would want the world to believe he was, he stood by his people and ably bore the baton that was thrust in his hands following his father’s death in 1994. Kim Jong Il survived insurmountable odds to keep the DPRK on its chosen development path in the face of US-engineered isolation and crippling economic sanctions.
The real dictator in the Korean Peninsula is the US through its intrusive policies of destructive engagement that cross oceans to destroy the livelihoods of a sovereign people. To this day those destructive policies seek to destroy even the legacy of a dead man.