Thursday, September 05, 2013

Gareth Morgan thinks I am ignorant about the DPRK

I'll take him on anyday about Korean history, and as long as he doesn't use the Foreign Languages Publishing House, Pyongyang edition of History of Korea, he might have a chance.  However I doubt it.

The man who claims that reporting the facts about the DPRK is a "beat up" and "completely wrong".

The man who says they are "wonderfully engaged, well-dressed, fully employed and well informed".

I doubt he got to meet anyone with English that wasn't pre approved, so he couldn't seriously "engage", and I very much doubt if he was able to freely talk to anyone without others being present.  

Well dressed?  Well he didn't meet this girl, because she is dead, she was "fully employed" hunting rats and looking for grass for survival.

Well informed?  Yes, thinking your founding leader saved the country, that the USA started the Korean War and the country's poor economic performance is due to a blockade, and south Korea is a poverty ridden colony of the USA - really well informed.

It's lack of international money he bemoans, but then borrowing from Western banks and simply defaulting doesn't exactly make for a credit rating worth glancing at.

Then Jo Morgan has been tricked well.  17 minutes of naive observations that the Korean Central News Agency wouldn't be ashamed of using, seemingly interviewed by Nick Tansley - former ZM Wellington clown.  Not a high calibre journalist.

She talks about the wonderful local produce!  The wonderful "muscular" young men, and how south Korean journalists said young men in the south were getting obese.  She seems to bemoan the "Western softness" of Seoul.

She talks about how everyone is expected to do some manual work - fabulous and how fit they are.

She blames the manual labour on "sanctions", swallowing the state propaganda.

She "reckoned" 50-60% have cellphones, but then that was those she saw - the elite.  She dismissed bans on foreigners using cellphones as "just a rule for foreigners", not because it risked live reports of what goes on.

She was gobsmacked - rightly - about the Arirang Mass Games (which are a remarkable spectacle), although again thinking it reported the "history" of the country, rather than it being propaganda and a symbol of how people are only important if they are in a mass collective action.

"You can't tell me these people are miserable" from seeing members of the elite singing and laughing together.  No they aren't Jo.  No.  

"They seem well fed" says the woman who didn't spend time on Google Earth to note the burial mounds for the starving.  

"our escorts were making sure we didn't get lost"  Too funny.  Really.  Seriously, not there to ensure you didn't go explore on unapproved routes?

"The people want their children to be able to ride down into the south, they want reunification" Yes, they do, but the regime doesn't want it, unless it involves it being on their terms - which they know will never happen.

Finally, Gareth thinks division of Korea is due to "great powers".  It was originally, for the USSR installed Kim Il Sung in the north, against the UN mandated declaration of the Republic of Korea as the government of the whole peninsula and resisting the (admittedly very flawed) elections that were meant to be the basis for a new government.  Korea could be reunified tomorrow, except the regime in the north doesn't want to surrender its slave state that sustains a tiny elite, and the south doesn't want to be a slave state.

It's not about foreign powers, unless you believe the withdrawal of US troops (one deterrent to north Korean aggression, which is demonstrable)

NKNews (subscription once you read more than the minimum number of articles) reports on the trip.  

Gareth says "the farms are perfect. They have no pollution”, 

the standard of living was probably like south Korea "20 years ago"... astonishing.  

Think maybe 50 years ago, the last time north Korea and south Korea were roughly equals in per capita income.  North Korea WAS the rich half of Korea, south Korea the poor peasant half... 

Capitalism made south Korea one of the top 20 economies in the world and now up with developed countries.  

Shame Gareth is still admiring the system that has trapped, literally and economically, the people of the north in a 1960s timewarp.

I look forward to him admitting he is wrong, confessing he didn't know as much as he wished, and sorry for saying things complementary about a country that has such a vile government.  I look forward to him noting that much of what he was told in the country was false and they were probably shown only what was permitted, in order to show the country in the best light, and that it sends shivers down their spines to think of children being in gulags today.

Really, I do...


Kiwiwit said...

The ignorant clown is not worth debating with, Liberty.

Anonymous said...

Shame on Gareth.

"the standard of living was probably like south Korea "20 years ago".

25 years ago Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics!

Great work Liberty debunking Gareth's observations.

Max said...

This says a lot about Gareth Morgan and his fan club and its not good at all

B Whitehead said...

Don't hold your breath waiting for Gareth to correct himself, I doubt that he's that capable. What's astonishing is that he has done very well financially, despite his failings.

unaha-closp said...

Lets play North Korean Q & A:

Is N. Korea a horribly run place? Y

Do you want to do something about it? Y

Do or your country you have a massive military force? N

Are you an independently wealthy funds manager with a penchant for travel and a reputation for being wildly out spoken regarding cats? Y

What should you do? There are a myriad of answers all of which are extreme long shots at actually working. One of them is to take the North Koreans at their word and try to get Koreans travelling freely on the Korean peninsula. Try organising a trip from North to South one year and then a trip from South to North the next.

Will it work? Probably not.

Will it be widely supported? Almost certainly not, you'll be called a cat killing commie-lover on the internet.

Could it make the situation worse? It requires significant risks for any North Koreans who are involved in the project and you may end up getting some of them killed. But the situation is so dire in the North that overall... no.

Libertyscott said...


Here is one idea...

Help fund its activities

unaha-closp said...

Liberty in North Korea can't and won't talk to the regime. They do good work with refugees and try to do empowerment. But it is implicitly conflicting with the regime.

Gareth & Jo and people like them can talk to the regime - say nice things, hint at investments and suggest small changes to be made. Change can occur beneficial to the regime (or elements within the regime) and also beneficial to the people. If Gareth & Jo can affect this sort of change then go for it.

Libertyscott said...

Unaha, I know this and I agree. If they can, then all very well. However, their fawning naive statements suggest a level of ignorance that doesn't give me confidence they are the right people to do this. Directly spouting the propaganda line of the regime on some issues (division is maintained due to foreign powers - economic troubles are due to sanctions - glowingly talking about the Potemkin farms they saw) was unnecessary.

He could do some good, in fact still could. However, it does not help anyone for him to feed the regime's behemoth of fiction that comprises its history and position on roughly every issue.