It came as a big surprise to see a recent, fawning press
release from the ANC Youth League to mark the death of Kim Jong Il.
praised Kim as a true socialist revolutionary and used the opportunity to
attack the ‘imperialist’ United States of America and the so called ‘traitorous
puppet’ government of South Korea. Apparently, this unholy union is forcibly
preventing the Korean people from uniting under the glorious banner of ‘democratic’
To say that I was disgusted would be an understatement.
Every thinking person on the planet knows the cut and dry facts of the North
Korean regime; the gulags, the bellicose saber rattling of nuclear weapons, the
holding of the entire North East Asian region to ransom, not to mention the
terrorist attacks on civilian airlines, kidnappings, assassination of political
opponents, the drug trafficking, money laundering, illicit sale of armaments to
partner regimes of terror and the list goes on.
The Youth League has a much distorted view of reality. It
seems to look at every single political conflict on the face of the earth through
the prism of the cold war. If any country or organization was or is opposed to the
‘imperialist West’ as represented by America, it is automatically right. A
subsequent assumption is that any country that did not express unmitigated
condemnation for the apartheid South African state must have supported it. It
is this kind of zero-sum mentality coupled with utter ignorance of history that
leads this Youth League to arrive at the most outrageous conclusions.
How does the ANCYL conceptualize the North and South Korean
I think that it is as simple as this; North Korea was allied to
Russia and China. Russia and China are ‘friends’ of the ANCYL. South Korea is a
rich nation. It allies itself with the West including America and Japan
(another nation that was ambivalent to sanctions placed on the apartheid
regime). Sealing the ANCYL’s view of the South is probably the fact that the
Nationalist government sent bombing squadrons to assist the South in the Korean
It is clear that South Korea is an enemy of the ANCYL; guilty by
association and so-called ‘historical fact’. Now whatever happens on the
peninsula must be interpreted in such a way as to support this belief. In total
ignorance of the later acts of the Seoul government such as barring South
Africa from the 1988 Olympic Games, the vast amount of technical expertise,
investment and support that the South Koreans have offered to South Africa in
the previous decade, they must remain an enemy of the people.
If only the ANCYL would look at North Korea from an
objective point of view, they would see that it is indeed an apartheid state.
The underlying ideology of the North is the pure-blood of the Korean race.
There is no significant foreign population in North Korea not only because it
is a horrible place to live, but because the North Koreans will not risk ‘polluting’
their blood with non-Koreans by allowing anyone that is not a racially pure
Korean to live there permanently or marry one of their citizens.
an island city-state with around ten percent of the population of North Korea.
The residents are free to travel within the country, are relatively well fed
and enjoy limited food security and service delivery. Beyond the city limits,
however, we find that people have to have a ‘pass’ stamped with permission from
the relevant local authority to visit their family members in another city.
Permission is frequently denied.
The farmland and surrounding villages have no
electricity and barely anything to eat. During the winter these people have to
eat grass and snow to survive. Many perish and have perished under the reign of
Kim Jong Il. There are no elections for the ordinary people. The party elite,
drawn exclusively from the people in the upmarket suburbs of Pyongyang hold
sham elections to rubberstamp the Kims’ perpetual rule. This is not a
democracy. I don’t think I have to spell out the numerous ways in which this
illustrates two distinct classes of people, one privileged, mobile and unfairly
advantaged by their connection to the state, the other stripped of any notion
of human rights.
North Korea is an Apartheid state. The inherent separation is
not the result of two different races, but does consign people to a certain
type of life base upon their lineage; an ‘anointed’ class and a ‘peasant’ class
North Korea also displays apartheid tendencies, to use the
ANCYL’s very own vocabulary, in that it subscribes to two similar ideologies in
international relations. The policies of Songun or ‘Military First and Juche or
‘Self Reliance’ are the underpinnings of the way that North Korea interacts
with the surrounding nations. In 1983, the North Korean government attempted to
assassinate the South Korean premier on a visit to Burma (now Myanmar).
regime kidnapped South Koreans and Japanese citizens in order to better train their
agents to infiltrate those nations for the purposes of espionage. In the 1990’s
they embarked on their own nuclear program to threaten other nations that would
dare dictate internal policies. North Korean agents planted a bomb on a
commercial airliner that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. Last
year, the North Koreans launched an unprovoked rocket strike on South Korea’s
In the 1980’s PW Botha emphasized military development as a
path to both of these very same ideas for Apartheid South Africa. While
investing heavily in developing his own nuclear arsenal, he also stretched out
to rogue organizations in surrounding states in order to protect South Africa’s
borders. RENAMO in Mozambique and UNITA
in Angola were beneficiaries of this expansion at the expense of the peoples of
Apartheid South Africa struck ANC camps in Zimbabwe with
rockets. They planted bombs and used other nefarious means to attempt political
assassinations and constantly rattled sabers at weaker surrounding ‘front line’
The similarities between North Korea and Apartheid South
Africa in the arena of international relations are also striking. It is lamentable
that any organization should declare such unbridled support for the former as
the ANCYL has over the last three years.
It is clear that the ANCYL is absolutely devoid of all
logical thinking. It is unable to reconcile any of its statements on North
Korea with facts to back up their beliefs. North Korea has consistently shown
that it is on a level of gross human rights violations, both domestically and
internationally, that places it above and beyond even the Apartheid regime. The
ANC should hang its head in shame and discipline this latest outburst, lest it
be accused of racism.
I say this because they were swift to condemn the ANCYL’s
statements on Botswana, but maybe the ANCYL considers it acceptable to remain
relevant by attacking ‘white’ and ‘Asian’ nations. Their handlers should send them
a strong message that it is not.