North Koreans forced to attend war anniversary lectures

Citizens’ of Pyoungyang were forced to join the Anti-US Rally on the 25th of June, the so-called day of struggle against U.S. imperialism in North Korea (Image: KCNA)

The Workers’ Party is forcing government and ordinary citizens to attend weekly lectures this month commemorating the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 to remind them as if they needed it, that the anti-American and anti-South Korean struggle must continue unabated.

The slight change in the narrative from previous years is that the role of South Korea has shifted from “American puppet” to “principal enemy.” This is in keeping with Kim Jong-un’s strategic move away from reunification to permanent division of the peninsula.

The lecture series is titled, “Having a thorough understanding of the primary enemy and a Juche-oriented war perspective to mercilessly crush the atrocious Anti-Republic invasion schemes of the enemies.”

The text of the lecture series published by the Workers’ Party of Korea Publishing House refers in particular to the invasion on June 25 that started the three-year war outbreak, saying, “The history of the crimes committed by the U.S. against our people will never be forgotten and our determination to destroy them will grow stronger every day.”

The war began 74 years ago with a surprise attack by the forces of Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, across the border into South Korea. 

The bloodiest episode in Korean history, the war drew in America, China, and other nations and resulted in millions of deaths without achieving anything. 

Kim Il-sung’s attempt at forced reunification failed. The border remained hardly changed. But the division was sealed in blood and hatred and remained so to this day.

Kim’s grandfather survived politically by blaming other communist factions in the North and by accusing the United States of having started the conflict. Generations of North Koreans have grown up believing this lie.

But sources inside North Korea suggest that the propaganda is failing to resonate with the people in the way it used to.

According to one person reached in North Pyongan Province, the virulence expressed against the United States goes over people’s heads these days.

“They seem to think that shouting anti-American slogans and shaking their fists at the U.S. will not make any difference,” he said.

The “innate hostility and confrontation mentality” of North Korea’s enemies is becoming “increasingly rampant and tyrannical,” according to the lecture script.

“This unyielding vengeance and unwavering concept of the principal enemy cannot and must not be forgotten,” it says. “If we let our guard down even for a moment, the disasters of over 70 years ago will be repeated. We must firmly remember the truth of class struggle, maintaining a clear concept of the principal enemy and a Juche-oriented war perspective to mercilessly crush the enemy’s schemes.”

Citizens are also harangued about recent achievements attributed to Kim Jong-un’s wise leadership and sacrificial dedication. 

“North Korea’s status as a globally admired nuclear power and a strong nuclear state in the East is now firmly established and irreversible,” the text says.

This apparent success is making Washington and Seoul furious, it says. “The United States and other hostile forces are desperately trying to hinder our ever-strengthening nuclear war deterrence and annihilate our Republic. Notably, the U.S. is blatantly strengthening its so-called ‘alliance’ and ‘trilateral cooperation’ with South Korea and Japan.”

The lectures also repeat the refrain that annual war games in the South, currently underway, mean conflict is imminent. 

“In the past, military exercises were claimed to be routine, defensive, and non-threatening,” it says. “However, they have now escalated to ‘end of the regime,’ ‘occupation of Pyongyang,’ and ‘decapitation operations.’”

Era Seo

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