KIM Jong-il: four weddings and a funeral

So as expected, KIM Jong-il died. A bit early to secure the transition with KIM Jong-un, who might be tempted to show his skills to those who doubt he's got whatever that is North Korean leaders are supposed to have.

Physically, Junior already used plastic surgery to improve his Kimilsungist looks, let's hope he won't try to sport his dad's weirdo hairdo now.

Character-wise, Jong-un is rumored to be more ill-tempered than his brothers Jong-nam and Jong-chol, respectively a Disneyland and an Eric Clapton fan. But compared to the Late Dear Leader, he's more permeated with such capitalist perversions as burgers. And it starts showing, particularly in a country where the population is maintained in a constant state of starvation.

As far as leadership is concerned, Jong-un didn't quite pass the cut last year: the young lad has been credited with the latest attack on South Korean soil but doesn't seem much of an expert, judging by the way he uses binoculars...

So we'll follow KIM Jong-il's funerals (after four weddings, Hugh can grant him that**). And eminent Pyeongyangologists will watch closely: who will keep a seat when the music stops? Isn't CHANG Sung-taek a trifle too old for musical chairs? Will Beijing-friendly people get promoted in the army*?

In South Korea, a North Korean Spring or Winter would have consequences for the 2012 elections: more tensions could become a problem for AHN Cheol-soo (commander in chief beyond cyberwars?), and boost conservatives, but not necessarily PARK Geun-hye (would Koreans vote for a woman in times of crisis, and one used to operating only behind the scenes at that?).

By the way. This week-end, LEE Myung-bak visited Japan, and devoted the bulk of his talks with Yoshihiko Noda to the issue of Japanese military sexual slavery, following Wednesday's successful demonstration (see "
One Thousand Wednesdays"). But if he's consistent, the President must also reactivate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: every country must face its own past, particularly when it expects the same from its neighbors.

blogules 2011
(originally on Seoul Village: "KIM Jong-il passes. To KIM Jong-un. Presumably.")
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*... and the invisible 'hanschluss' continue? see "
China-North Korea : the Great Hanschluss still the base case scenario", and previous posts about NK

** BTW 'Four weddings and a funeral' got released in 1994, the same year KIM Il-sung died.

20111230 update: corrected the title (which I changed while editing). Obviously, I never quite got used to Kim Jong-il. And KJI sounds more than ever like a name from the past.


1,000th week of shame for Japan

The young girl is sitting on a chair, a bird on her left shoulder. Her sad eyes seek an answer from the building across the street, to no avail. This time again, the Japanese Embassy remains silent. Or rather, it keeps protesting against the statue of the girl recently erected across the street as a reminder: the Korean victims of sexual slavery are still expecting justice and official apologies from the Japanese Government.

Today, the young girl was surrounded by a couple of old friends: a few surviving 'comfort women' who are now in their 80s or 90s. They live in the House of Sharing, a residence and museum in Gyeonggi-do, and come every Wednesday to protest. Not against the statue, but with it, and for justice.

Today, these halmoni were surrounded by hundreds of friends: longtime activists and supporters of the cause, or simple citizens of the World from all ages, all origins, all beliefs.

Today, December 14, 2011, marked the 1,000th Wednesday of protest since January 8, 1992, and masses met in front of the Embassy in Junghak-dong. Wiping away their tears and facing again the camera: they've overcome shame for 20 years, and since then more than ever, the shame is on Japanese leaders.

This is not about nationalism, and this is certainly not about Korea vs Japan, but about Japan vs Justice, and about Japan vs its own future. Crimes were committed and victims simply expect justice*. Japan must face history in order to face the future, and its leaders cannot hide the truth to Japanese citizens any longer.

I've said the same thing
about other issues: this is also about saving Japan. And if I joined the protesters, it's also because I love Japan and because I can't accept to see a minority of die hard ultra-conservatives setting a corrupt agenda and betraying the Japanese people.

And to Korean ultra-nationalists who try to hijack this case for their own corrupt agenda, I say: clean your own mess first, and restore the Truth and Reconciliation Commission***.

Help the victims and support the cause:

House of Sharing / Nanum : houseofsharing.org / nanum.org
Join the Facebook group
NB (reminder): until Friday, the House of Sharing's International Outreach Team is organizing near Hongdae a multi-media art exhibition dealing with issues of sexual slavery, human trafficking, and violence and oppression against women, and including film projections, works from halmonies...*

blogules 2011 (initially published on Seoul Village: "One Thousand Wednesdays")

* Justice means:
1. That the Japanese government admits the compulsory drafting of Korean women as Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
2. That an official apology will be made for this.
3. That all the atrocities will be fully disclosed.
4. That a Memorial will be built for the victims.
5. That the survivors or their bereaved families will be compensated
6. That the facts and truth about Military Sexual Slavery by Japan will be taught in Japanese history classes so that such inhumanities are not repeated.
7. Punish the war criminals.

** until Friday at Cafe Anthracite (Hapjeong-dong 357-6, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea, near Sangsu station)

*** see previous episodes, including "TRCK : families of victims demand essential follow-up", "TRCK lost in translation or lost in transition ?", "Achievements and Tasks of TRCK's Activities", "Truth and Reconciliation : which model for Korea ?"


Happy New Year 2013

It's that time of the year and as usual*, I simply can't wish you a happy new year considering what's going to happen in 2012:

January 2012: after David Cameron and Nick Clegg fail to reach an agreement on the 2011-2012 bonuses for City bankers, the Poundzone implodes.

February 2012: Queen Elizabeth II mentions the possibility that she might step down before the end of her second 60-year mandate. Charles is, as always, all ears.

March 2012: Dmitri Medvedev announces the suicide of his Prime Minister: Vladimir Putin swallowed two gallons of radioactive vodka and shot himself nine times in the head. Putin nonetheless appears the next day, sporting a ten feet long green beard: "now call me Ras instead of Vlad".

April 2012: South Koreans disagree on how to handle their own security after the dissolution of the Combined Forces Command. The country splits into Southeast Korea and Southwest Korea, with Dokdo as the new neutral capital.

May 2012: Sarkozy declares himself winner of the Presidential Elections with a score of 98%, has the police shoot at protesters, and rebrands himself Nicolas The First just to be called "His Highness".

June 2012: in Vietnam, the Arab Spring rolls.

July 2012: for budgetary reasons, Greece, Spain, and Ireland compete under the same banner at the London Olympics: the Commonpoverty.

August 2012: ahead of the 18th Party Congress, China launches its latest aircraft carrier and the Occupy Singapore Strait movement.

September 2012: for the first time in Burma, a woman becomes Head of State. Hillary nominates Bill as commander in chief with just this piece of advice: "don't bask your tail".

October 2012: the Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Ben Bernanke for his bestseller, the $100 banknote (789,566,122,708,110 copies issued in one month).

November 2012: Herman Cain visits the White House to decide on which floor to install the Second and Third Ladies.

December 2012: on 2012/12/12, at 20:12:12, Pakistanese PM downloads the Doom app on his smartphone.

blogules 2011

* see "
Happy New Year 2010" (Jan 2009), "Happy New Year 2011" (Dec 2009), "Happy New Year 2012" (Dec 2010)... and in French: "Bonne Année 2009" (Jan 2008), "Bonne Année 2010" (Dec 2008), "Bonne Année 2011" (Dec 2009), Bonne Année 2012 (Dec 2010).


Newt Gingrich enters McCainistan

How low can GOP candidates go to get the nomination?

Four years ago, John McCain set a record by selling his soul to fundamentalists: a visit to the Discovery Institute (a creationist joint) before the primaries, an ayatollah with lipstick as a running mate (Sarah Palin). Even Fundamentalist in Chief Dubya had to give his nod to his former rival.

Newt Gingrich scattered the crass ceiling in an interview to the Jewish Channel by referring to Palestinians as "an invented Palestinian people"*.

As ludicrous as his depiction of Netanyahu's dystopia as "a civilian democracy that obeys the rule of law".

What next The Grich: picking Billy Graham as VP? recruiting armies of Timothy McVeighs to reduce the number of civil servants?

What's the point of winning the favors of AIPAC if he loses the rest ?

Does this man really think the "invented American people" will vote for him?

blogules 2011

* see "
Newt Gingrich: Palestinians are 'an invented' people [video]" (LA Times 20111209)


Breivik cannot escape justice

If Anders Behring Breivik cannot face justice because he is a psychotic, then the International Criminal Court should empty its cells: people like Radovan Karadzic couldn't be judged, and Adolf Hitler may have ended his days in a mental institution.

As I wrote earlier (see "
To all Anders Behring Breivik wannabes"), "Anders Behring Breivik is not insane, granted - even if his lawyer is unsurprisingly walking that perennial defense line. But Anders Behring Breivik is a dangerous psychopath, and he must face justice".

Justice means a trial, which will not only expose Breivik's deranged mind, but also the dangerous theories he subscribed to, theories that also need to be condemned. If Breivik is more fit for a mental institution than for prison, and if he's not even fit to attend his own trial, it doesn't mean the trial cannot happen.

Norway cannot afford a judicial failure following a political one (many lives could have been saved, had the Home Guard's HV-016 elite unit not been disbanded one year earlier).

Breivik may have acted alone,

blogules 2011
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