Monday, October 16, 2006

The Memory Hole

I've often dismissed the comparisons of America to Big Brother, but this description of North Korea is chillingly familiar:
My most vivid impression of Pyongyang was that an entire generation must have been eradicated for such a place to exist. Nothing on their empty, energy-deprived streets indicated that anything prior existed. Every book, piece of artwork and building was either made by the Great Leader or about the Great Leader. Their only official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, was four pages long and consisted almost exclusively of praise for their Great Leader. Their state-controlled TV showed mostly undated footage of the Great Leader. Everywhere I went, music played in the background and the subject of the lyrics was inevitably the Great Leader.

The regime of North Korea has done a most efficient job of wiping out Korea's 5,000-year history, imbued with Buddhism, Shamanism and Confucianism, with one amnesia-inflicting spell called "Juche," its political philosophy of self-reliance. And what seems to make the Great Leader so "great" is that he has replaced their lost memory.
Once again, we are all stared down by the threat of war from a tin pot dictator, because his collapse would unlease a flood of 23,000,000 refugees into the South and China, possibly preceded by a war which could easily get out of hand.

We accepted this "solution" because we were tired of war, and could see no end to it if we had to take on China and the Soviet Union too. I don't know if that was the right choice or not, but it hasn't improved in the years since, but only festered. Meanwhile, we don't even have a consensus in the U.S. that there is anything worth fighting for, unless it's a recapture of Congress by Democrats. We have surrendered honor for peace. We now have neither.


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