Seeing Ourselves From A North Korean Perspective
By James Donahue
A 2005 editorial published by the Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, North
Korea, casts a jaded but perhaps justified eye on United States and its international policies under the Bush Administration.
Reading viewpoints from the “other side” helps us to get a better
look at ourselves from the eyes of the rest of the world.
This particular commentary identifies the U.S. goal of establishing democratic
governments as a “defense of human rights. The writer claims that the Bush Administration “justified its invasion
of other countries under the guise of defense of human rights.”
The United States, the editorial said. “has openly interfered in the internal
affairs of other countries, taking issue with their ‘human rights situation’ in the ‘annual human rights
reports’ it has made public as if it were a ‘human rights judge.’
“In particular, the U.S. enacted the ‘law on human rights in North
Korea’ with a sinister scheme to collapse the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that is advancing forward
under the banner of socialism and is slinging mud at its social system,” the editorial charges.
The article notes that the people of Korea “evenly enjoy genuine human rights
including political freedom and rights to work, rest, free education and free medical care.
“Contrary to this, in the U.S., which is styling itself an ‘equal
society for all people’ and ‘welfare society for all people,’ broad sections of working people are denied
social and political rights in the political arena. Therefore, people of the U.S. including high ranking officials deplore
that the political rights and liberty and freedom of speech, ideology and expression are at a crisis in the United States.”
Before getting your dander up at such charges, think of what has happened to American
freedoms since George W. Bush took office and the nation was attacked in September, 2001. Under the guise of protecting Americans,
the House and Senate adopted the Patriot Act and instituted severe search and seizure laws that strip people of many of their
freedoms guaranteed within the Bill of Rights.
Under the guise of Christian morality, we also have seen our rights of free speech
and free expression eroded to a point where people with creative ideas in the arts and literature are prohibited from displaying
or expressing themselves openly in public places.
The Korean editorial goes on to charge that “so many people of the United
States are jobless and destitute and can not enjoy medical care for lack of money. According to recent data available, 38.2
million people are suffering from hunger.”
The massive movement by big corporations to outsource jobs to foreign lands in
pursuit of cheap labor has caused this rise in joblessness. And legislators have failed continually to institute a working
health-care program that makes it possible for the poor and working classes to enjoy good medical and dental care. Thus the
socialist view of our situation is embarrassingly correct.
After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and with the growing numbers of jobless and
homeless families all over the nation, it is easy to speculate that millions of people in America are, indeed, going hungry.
We cannot argue the calculated 38.2 million figure thrust in our faces by the Korean commentary.
The editorial then blasts us between the eyes:
“The wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq launched by the U.S.
under the plea of ‘anti-terrorism’ after the September 11 incident in 2001 have disclosed in all nakedness who
is the principal violator of human rights.
“U.S. soldiers are still abusing human rights in different parts of Iraq.
“Recently, a fact that the U.S. has set up secret camps in Eastern European
countries and other parts of the world has been brought to light, shocking the world community.
“The world progressive people should be aware of the heinous intension of
the ‘human rights’ rackets of the United States and vigorously strive in defense of human rights,” the editorial
What has changed since this editorial appeared in 2005? The United States has
become militarily involved in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Uganda. President Obama has promised to bring the last 40,000 troops
home from Iraq by the end of the year, but he has stepped up military operations in Afghanistan.
The housing bubble collapsed and the United States plunged into a severe economic
depression in 2008. Banks foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of homes, millions of jobs were lost, and an attempt to create
a working medical plan for all Americans has fallen to ruin. People are in the streets by the thousands to protest.
So what are the North Koreans thinking of America now?