Saturday, October 29, 2005

Feeding evil...

Don't feed North Korea's dependency
The title is about as Good as it gets, unfortunately...
By Stephen Winn Linton, The L.A Times
October 29, 2005
LONG KNOWN for surprises, the "Democratic" "People's" "Republic" of Korea better known as North Korea... "again shocked" the international humanitarian aid community when it announced recently that it wouldn't accept any more emergency food aid. For now... This edict was accompanied by a request that the U.N. World Food Program, which has been shipping hundreds of thousands of tons of food to North Korea, shift to "development aid" his quotation marks, not mine and withdraw the food monitors charged with making sure food goes to those who really need it. Actually, no one should have been surprised. About what? Christ! The lack of need for food? Or the lack of need for food MONITORS?!?!?! After all, this is the 10th year since the international community responded to Pyongyang's call for help with one of the largest emergency aid programs in history. From the beginning, North Koreans made it clear that international aid was welcome, but only until they were able to do without it. Numbers have a particular significance in Korean culture, and anything that lasts over 10 years has the odor of permanency. Interesting fuckin' take. So North Korea is abandoning food aid FOR GOOD LUCK... Seems about on-fuckin'-par with D.P.R.K logic to me... Apparently, North Korea has decided that it's time for a "change". And I agree. I agree also. I doubt we agree on the same thing though... First, contrary to the claim that more than 6 million North Koreans might starve if international aid dries up, there is no food emergency in North Korea today. For two years after the 1995 floods that triggered the famine, countless displaced persons wandered the countryside in a desperate search for something to eat. Some went to China, precipitating the international community's belated interest in North Korean refugees. Most border traffic today is about trade, not hunger. Guess what Brainwave... The two issues are NOT "independent" of each other. Since 1998, things have been slowly improving. Life is still very tough in North Korea and is likely to remain so for some time. Still, this fall, North Koreans are again flooding into the countryside, not to search for food but to gather one of the best harvests in years. The kind of harvest that South Korea has been gathering FOR years...


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