Monday, June 3, 2013

June 1-2

"[I]f you’re celibate, you have to do something.”

--Recently deceased Father Andrew Greeley

"[T]heir wings elongated, their bodies pumped and tan, the cicadas are ready to make music together — the males congregating to sing together in chorus, usually on high, sunlit branches; the females flicking their wings in response. Thus begins a complex and deafening courtship, each cicada a tiny bit of drama."

--Patricia Leigh Brown, "17 Years for a 2-Week Visit," New York Times; image from


My Interview with Thom Hartmann - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "Reconstruction [in Iraq] as propaganda projects."


The new America, a la Obama - Boaz Bismuth, "Continual war offers no hope, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a speech last week, presenting the Obama doctrine -- the opposite of the Bush doctrine [.] The war on terror is over, the soldiers will come home, and even drone attacks will be scaled back. ... Obama went on to say that Guantanamo has become a symbol of America's defiance of international law. The president used his speech to demonstrate his expertise in public diplomacy."

Remarks at Inaugural Sheikha Fatima Lectureship - Tara Sonenshine [Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs], "In all of my work in the field of international relations, conflict prevention, and today, public diplomacy, the bottom lines are the same: All people matter. People drive policy and policy drives people.

Without due consideration to the rights and responsibilities of all individuals, including women, we are lost."

Ambassadors and ex-FSO's Call For A Public Diplomacy Professional At State - "[C]ouple of weeks ago, a friend and former ambassador pulled me aside at a luncheon. He was, he confided, in despair about the recently announced departure of Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. Tara Sonenshine Sonenshine will be leaving just fifteen months after having arrived. Her predecessor, Judith McHale, left after only about two years in the job. James K. Glassman, who served before her, was in the job only seven months. Between incumbents, there are long gaps. Since public diplomacy was brought into the State Department in 1999, there have been seven people in the Under Secretary slot, and it has been vacant 30 percent of the time. This is due to a glacier-like nomination process requiring the United States Senate's advice and consent, but both the Bush and Obama Administrations were slow to pick people and nominate them. My colleague and I decided to write a letter to the Secretary of State. We thought it might carry more weight if we sought some additional signers from among our colleagues -- former ambassadors and senior public diplomacy officials, mainly those who headed up a public diplomacy operation field during either the USIA days or since integration into State. We sent the letter May 24, and immediately we began to hear from others who wanted to indicate their support for the ideas in the letter by signing it too. So, on May 31, we sent an updated version to Secretary Kerry. I think the letter speaks for itself pretty well, so I'll post it here. Maybe I'll add some more thoughts on the subject in coming days." [Letter enclosed in entry.]

Book Review: The End of the Free Market by Ian Bremmer - nlemar, "In The End of the Free Market, Dr. Ian Bremmer brilliantly puts together the argument that ‘state capitalism,’ a term that he defines as 'a system in which the state plays the role of leading economic actor and uses markets primarily for political gain,' is the single most imminent threat to the existence of free market democracy. ... Bremmer goes on to say that U.S. ‘soft power’ has begun to deteriorate because many other state capitalist countries now compete with the U.S. for screen time since its influence over other countries is on the decline. Essentially, he argues public diplomacy is something that should not be heavily relied on.

However, the U.S. can challenge state capitalism by continuing to invest heavily in its ‘hard power.’ State capitalist countries are too busy spending and procuring domestic issues at home to be concerned too much with other countries in the world. If the U.S. continues to outspend China 10-to-1 and Russia 25-to-1 on their military, the U.S. will be able to maintain its political and economic presence in the international system."

U.S. International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy Should Be Bipartisan - Helle Dale, "The news that the White House has sought to replace the only Republican currently serving on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), former U.S. ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe, has made many sit up and pay attention. It is rare that Americans get passionate about the BBG, which oversees all U.S. civilian international broadcasting to the tune of $731 million a year, but has little impact on domestic politics. The context provided by the Obama scandals, however, has made a difference. If the IRS can be used to pursue the President’s critics, and the Justice Department to intimidate reporters, could not the BBG be used as a megaphone for partisan purposes? Ashe’s passion for transparency and battle against corruption and bad management has made him unpopular among the BBG leadership but a hero among its employees. Ashe’s departure, combined with an imbalance in filling vacant positions, would leave the BBG with a four–two majority in favor of the Democrats.

That has an impact on broadcasting strategy. Ironically, the BBG was established legislatively by the Broadcasting Act of 1994, precisely as a firewall against the polarization of Voice of America and the other U.S. international broadcasters. At this point, connecting dots becomes possible. Members of the BBG oversee both the strategic planning and the execution of the agency’s long-term goals. The stated goals include phasing out radio as a medium (even though radio accounts for the majority of the BBG’s audience) and moving to digital platforms, which are aimed at the elites, not news-deprived ordinary citizens of repressive regimes. The unofficial goals include steering broadcasting content away from anything that smacks of the war of ideas. The assertive prosecution of the war of ideas that helped the U.S. win the Cold War has been replaced by reluctance even to name extreme religious ideologies that threaten America. The response to the Victor Ashe fiasco proves that Americans really do want partisanship to stop and understand the importance of bipartisan public diplomacy for U.S. relations with the world. Public diplomacy and international broadcasting funded by the U.S. government have to be both about global understanding and appreciation of the U.S. and its founding ideas, and about reporting the news. U.S. public appreciation and support for these missions would be a great step forward." Ashe image from entry

US insinuates Sri Lanka curbs dissent using LTTE excuse - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "The United States in its State Department annual terrorism report released last week cast aspersions that Sri Lanka suppresses free expression taking cover behind the notion that Tamil Tiger elements continue to manipulate events in the island. ... While the report categorically declares that there were no LTTE activities in Sri Lanka it states 'the Sri Lankan government maintained a strong military presence in post-conflict areas and voiced concern about the possible re-emergence of pro-LTTE sympathizers" The United States indirectly says that the 'post-conflict areas' - meaning the north-east provinces - are under military rule while subtly dismissing the Sri Lanka regime's contention" about the possible re-emergence of pro-LTTE sympathizers'.

These are continued warnings to the government of Sri Lanka that the United States, in the future, will take note of this scenario and that it will continue to bring pressure on international forums to censor this South Asian nation. Despite the US State Department terrorism report is concise and short, no handler of Sri Lanka's external affairs could ignore the language, insinuations, aspersions and subtle diplomatic overtures which emerge from it. Sri Lanka fell short of its public diplomacy and strategic communication in the past to take note of these early warnings of the State Department." Image from article, with caption: Department of State

Conclusion of the second seminar of the Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials - "The Fifth Generation of 20 Fellows, which are part of the Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials, met in Brussels in the period between 19 – 23 of May for the Intermediary Seminar, which is traditionally held half-way through the overall Programme. Having spent a full month in host countries, the fellows gathered at the Brussels seminar for a second round of meetings, lectures and visits of a variety of Brussels-based institutions, and further team-building activities and share of experience.

During this time the fellows had the opportunity to visit the King Baudouin Foundation, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the NATO HQ and the European External Action Service. Ms. Verónica Sabbag from EEAS opened the seminar’s agenda with her introduction to the work of this institution which was formed after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009. With Mr. Axel Wallden (Head of Enlargement Strategy Unit)) and Dirk Lange (Head of Unit, Croatia and Montenegro) from the European Commission they discussed the current Enlargement process. The visit of NATO Headquarters covered the NATO’s current political agenda and the NATO-Western Balkans Relations, through the discussions with the information officers responsible for the Western Balkans within the Public Diplomacy Division and the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division." Image from entry

Clinton Innovation Team -Strategic Communications: NATO - November 28, 2012
- "Understanding StratCom [:] A collection of documents recently obtained and published by Public Intelligence provides a complete guide to NATO’s training process for 'strategic communications' activities, including public diplomacy, public affairs, information operations and psychological operations. The documents, compiled for participants in a NATO training summit, describe the doctrine behind strategic communications and provide practical examples of their use in a number of recent conflicts from Libya to Afghanistan. These activities are designed to contribute 'positively and directly in achieving the successful implementation of NATO operations, missions, and activities' as well as 'influence the perceptions, attitudes and behaviour of target audiences . . . with the goal of achieving political or military objectives'. NATO’s Strategic Communications Policy explains the aim of these operations: Today’s information environment, characterized by a 24/7 news cycle, the rise of social networking sites, and the interconnectedness of audiences in and beyond NATO nations territory, directly affects how NATO actions are perceived by key audiences.

That perception is always relevant to, and can have a direct effect on the success of NATO operations and policies. NATO must use various channels, including the traditional media, internet-based media and public engagement, to build awareness, understanding, and support for its decisions and operations. NATO’s Military Concept for Strategic Communications states that 'the vision is to put Strategic Communications at the heart of all levels of military policy, planning and execution' as it is 'not an adjunct activity, but should be inherent in the planning and conduct of all military operations and activities.' Strategic communications at the political level encompasses both public diplomacy and public affairs, functions designed to communicate facts and information to the public while maintaining credibility. According to NATO’s Allied Command Operations Directive on Public Affairs, 'Public support for NATO’s missions and tasks follows from public understanding of how the Alliance makes a difference to international peace and security.' If viewed from an effects-based perspective, the directive states that 'enhancing support for the [public affairs] function."

A Fresh Perspective: Why does Israel keep losing the public diplomacy battle? - Dan Ilouz, Jerusalem Post: "The only way to win the public diplomacy battle is to change our strategy, to stop focusing on defensive measure or on technical achievements, and to start talking about the great universal values which Israel represents. When people will hear both sides of the ethical debate relating to the conflict, they will be able to see that values and ethics are on Israel’s side.

However, as long as we do not work to promote our ethical arguments, we will keep losing in this battle, which continues to increase in importance." Image from article

Mr. Seemann goes to Tel Aviv - Ben Hartman, Jerusalem Post: "A young immigrant new to Tel Aviv – a former head of Israeli aid in Haiti and a former employee of the Prime Minister’s Office who found himself at the middle of a 'pinkwashing' scandal – is starting a movement for olim, with his eye on running for city council. ... In June 2011, a YouTube video circulated of a man (later determined to be Israeli actor Omer Gershon) claiming to be a gay rights activist, telling about how he wanted to join a protest flotilla headed to Gaza, but was told that gays were not welcome.

Seemann linked the video to his Twitter page, which had been set up earlier that month, as his first post. The video was quickly determined to be a hoax. It was widely picked up in the Internet, and Seemann was portrayed as a young employee of the Prime Minister’s Office used to distribute a faked hasbara (public diplomacy) video, an accusation he denies. The video was eventually the subject of a short online documentary by filmmaker and journalist Jon Ronson, and while the controversy blew over a long time ago, it appears to still be something of a sore spot." \Seemann mage from article

An Israeli Disconnect on the Two-State Solution: Which Part of Coalition Represents Netanyahu Government? - "Israel has been ambivalent about the West Bank since capturing it in 1967. The government announced at the time that it was holding it as a bargaining chip, to trade in return for peace with its neighbors. A minority believed it was Israel’s by right of history or religion. For decades the question was moot, since no Arab authority was offering to trade peace for land. Over decades of stalemate, increasing numbers of Israelis grew skeptical that peace would ever come and comfortable possessing and settling the territory. Israeli public diplomacy has tried continually to win international support for its position that it has a solid moral claim to the disputed areas.

It’s been a colossal failure. In 46 years of trying, not a single government anywhere in the world has been convinced. For much of that time it didn’t matter. Palestinian rejectionism and terrorism made the question moot. In the past 25 years, however, the tables have slowly turned. Since the Palestine National Council voted in September 1988 to accept the principle of partition into Arab and Jewish states, Israel has found it increasingly difficult presenting the case in the diplomatic arena that its existence is threatened." Image from article, with caption: Fool’s Errand? Tzipi Livni is pushing for peace talks now. But right-wing members of Israel’s coalition government say they don’t support the two-state solution.

Netanyahu Meets with Israeli Youth Soccer Team: PM Netanyahu met in with Israel's national under-21 soccer team, ahead of the UEFA Under-21 Championship - Elad Benari, "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Sunday in his Jerusalem office with Israel's national under-21 soccer team, ahead of the UEFA Under-21 Championship, which is due to start this Wednesday. The Israeli team will open the tournament with a game against Norway in Netanya. ... Israel Soccer Association Chairman Luzon said, 'I thank Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the understanding that this tournament is of national importance and will greatly help the State of Israel's public diplomacy overseas by showing a beautiful Israel that loves sports.

I would also like to thank Culture and Sports Minister Livnat for her steadfast support and for the allocation of resources for organizing the tournament on a higher level. I invite Israelis to come to the stadiums and enjoy a unique soccer experience.'" Image from article, with caption: Netanyahu receives soccer jersey from youth team

Egyptian Press Highlights Anger At Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam [BBC Media Monitoring] - psoted by Daniel Berhane, "Sam says: Saturday, June 1, 2013 @ 4:21 pm at Sat, 01 Jun 2013 16:21:39 +0000 Yes brother, as individuals we should be aware of all the actions that might be taken by Egypt. But as the plan was masterminded by the great Meles, invincible but by death, I’m sure, all the likely response have been considered in the equation and there is a plan B to Z to finally make Ethiopia victorius [sic].

So being extrimist and translating it into a hatred rhetoric, surely will have negative impact on the general public of Egypt and is not the way of the 21st century. Now is the time for being reasonable and use such forums rather for public diplomacy and win the minds of our brothers in Egypt, trying to listen them, convince them of the reality and the facts on the ground. These are 1. Ethiopia needs the dam to prosper and make poverty history as Egypt did and does. Ethiopia will use Nile but will not starve Egypt of its precious water resource and should be trusted by Egypt. War and bolckade of suiz is not the way, unless they in practice see that they are deprived of their water resources, which is a strong stand of Ethiopia." Image from entry

Projecting Australia's soft power - Ben Moles - "The recent funding cuts to the British Council has been a further criticism suggesting a decline in its overall significance and standing, however, the funding cuts made to the British Council have been in line with other Government spending cuts and austerity measures, by no means an indication signalling the death or end of the British Council. Far from it, on balance, factoring a simple cost-benefit analysis the British Council remains 'One of the great bargains on the Treasury's list'. On the global stage, the British Council is certainly not alone in the public diplomacy work that it does. Beyond it exists and extends a plethora of other states' public diplomacy outfits including: the Goethe-InstitutAlliance-Francaise, and Confucius-Institute, to name only a few, holding a light to Australia's public diplomacy deficiency, further strengthening the case for establishing an Australia Council. If others can and are doing it, why aren't we? What would the Australia Council do? Similarly to its British counterpart, it would promote Australia and strengthen host state links and ties with Australia across: Culture, Education and Business in places where there is a need and where Australia is currently absent- they would touch, and temporarily fill, the void. The Australia Council could also act as a facilitator (a node between Australian Embassies/Consulates and the public) and be established as a first point of contact for those locally who have an interest in Australia and visiting Australians with local inquiries, potentially relieving some of the burden from Australia's already under-strain Embassies and Consulates."

creating art in the desert - DFAT Debunked (or not) at #ATF2013 - "Beverly Mercer from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) gave a quick overview of the Department’s Public Diplomacy program and most specifically how showing off Australian cultural content is part of the deal. The essence of the session was really: Are you doing something overseas? Or planning to? Talk to DFAT an talk to them early to hook in with other things that might be happening and leverage support of our Embassies and Public Diplomacy programs. That was really the whole session.

Oh and go explore the website for information about funding through DFAT or any of the councils, institutes and foundations that service particular exchanges as well as stalk priority areas. Take a look here. Apps for the DFAT funding usually close in February with max grants up to $40,000. The sense I came away with from the session is that they are looking for tour ready products with ‘wow’ factor rather than grass roots exchanges, which is fine but just something to be aware of it you’re thinking of applying." Image from entry

T and T to open embassy in China - Jamaica Observer: "More than thirty years after China opened its Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago, the twin island state is set to open its Embassy in Beijing before the end of the year. At a press conference on Saturday following bilateral talks with the President of China, Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that the twin island republic also plans to establish a Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Institute which would be attached to the Diplomatic Mission in Beijing. 'This centre would promote Trinidad and Tobago’s creative industries through cultural exchanges, training seminars and cultural exhibitions in China. The Centre could also feature highly in Trinidad and Tobago’s public diplomacy initiatives in Asia. During our discussions we also suggested that China and Trinidad and Tobago could co-host an annual Caribbean Music Festival in Beijing, which could become a signature event for promoting Asian/Caribbean Cultural Exchanges.'”

PM Kamla to make official visit to China in November - "Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said on Saturday she will be making an official visit to China 'some time in November' this year at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. She made the announcement at a joint media briefing with Xi at the Diplomatic Centre following bilateral talks between the two leaders and their respective delegations.

Persad-Bissessar also disclosed that Trinidad and Tobago would establish its first embassy in Beijing by the time she visits China later this year. She also stated that Trinidad and Tobago would consider the establishment of a Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Institute, which would be attached to the Diplomatic Mission in Beijing. 'This centre would promote Trinidad and Tobago’s creative industries through cultural exchanges, training seminars and cultural exhibitions in China. The Centre could also feature highly in Trinidad and Tobago’s public diplomacy initiatives in Asia,' she said." Image from entry, with caption: PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar and President Xi Jinping at the Diplomatic Centre Saturday

An open letter to Amai Jukwa - Tirivashe Chikumbirike, The Zimbabwe Standard: "Communism’s failure culminated in the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Currently the remaining communist countries are few, like China, Vietnam, Cuba and Laos. ... China being a non-democratic polity is a good friend of Zimbabwe, the Chinese practise a form of state capitalism (a refined version of it is found in Brazil). There are human rights violations and there is no political pluralism in China. The Chinese are also good at propaganda under the pretext of public diplomacy. They are doing everything in their power to spread their ideologies, beliefs and culture. China is not a high-tech producer, but just a place for foreign companies to exploit cheap labour — the assembling factory of the world."

Foreign Affairs Committee - Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International - UK's relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain [subscription]: press release: Google summary for entry states: "Private diplomacy and public diplomacy, in my view, are not mutually exclusive."

Economic Diplomacy, Developing Countries and Bangladesh - Mohammad Jasim Uddin, Some emerging countries, e.g., BRIC, have amalgamated their foreign policy agenda, economic and public diplomacy. ‘Image building’ plus ‘nation branding’, indeed, public diplomacy is a frequent practice to the BRIC’s economic diplomacy. Public diplomacy is highly relevant to Bangladesh. Economic diplomacy of Bangladesh could be benefited from ‘mutual learning and exercising the best practices’. Diplomatic networks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Bangladesh, must be attuned with changing global economic diplomacy. This could facilitate to the consolidation of Bangladesh’s foreign affairs and its economic promotion, a key instrument for economic diplomacy management.

York University’s 2013 Summer Institute in Film looks at national cinemas of India and Iran - "The spotlight moves to Iranian cinema in the final week of the Summer Institute, with screenings and public talks featuring Hamid Naficy, . ... A Separation / Jodai-ye Nader az Simin (dir. Asghar Farhadi, 2011), winner of the Best Foreign Language Oscar, screens at Innis Town Hall Tuesday, June 11 at 6pm.

The film critically examines the pressure cooker of the restricted life under the Islamic Republic, and through its narrative expresses a further criticism by envisioning a better life elsewhere. 'More than any other single production, this movie helped globalize the humanist Iranian cinema, particularly at a crucial time when the public diplomacy enmity between Iran and the West was at its height,' said Naficy." Image (presumably of Facify) from entry


Will Syria give peace a chance? - Editorial, There is no guarantee that an international conference will produce the result that the U.S. long has supported: a peaceful, post-Assad Syria not fractured along sectarian lines. But the administration is right to make the effort.

The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ - Julian Assange, New York Times: “The New Digital Age” is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the 21st century. The book mirrors State Department institutional taboos and obsessions. It avoids meaningful criticism of Israel and Saudi Arabia. It pretends, quite extraordinarily, that the Latin American sovereignty movement, which has liberated so many from United States-backed plutocracies and dictatorships over the last 30 years, never happened. Referring instead to the region’s “aging leaders,” the book can’t see Latin America for Cuba. And, of course, the book frets theatrically over Washington’s favorite boogeymen: North Korea and Iran. Google, which started out as an expression of independent Californian graduate student culture — a decent, humane and playful culture — has, as it encountered the big, bad world, thrown its lot in with traditional Washington power elements, from the State Department to the National Security Agency. Without even understanding how, they have updated and seamlessly implemented George Orwell’s prophecy. If you want a vision of the future, imagine Washington-backed Google Glasses strapped onto vacant human faces — forever.

How to Play Well With China - Ian Bremmer and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., New York Times: Like the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Xi Jinping and most of China’s leadership recognize the need for perestroika, a restructuring. Unlike Mr. Gorbachev, they don’t see glasnost, openness, as a means of achieving it — and no amount of sermonizing from America will change that. In some ways, the stakes are higher for Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi than they were for Ronald Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev. There is no American-Chinese nuclear threat to focus minds on stronger ties, nor is there a Berlin Wall to separate the two countries’ fortunes. For better and for worse, America and China are bound together in a form of mutually assured economic destruction.

A worthy peace offering for Honduras and El Salvador - Editorial, Washington Post:
The Obama administration has asked for a 20 percent increase in funding next year for its Central American Regional Security Initiative, which aims to combat crime by training police forces and sponsoring programming for youth. Given the efforts underway in El Salvador and Honduras, the added funding is worthy of congressional support.

Struggling at the U.S. Crossroads - Anand Giridharadas, New York Times: George Packer’s new book, “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America,” does more than perhaps any book in recent memory to explain where the United States has landed in 2013: a bizarre country in which the most valuable companies around continue to be born, even as millions struggle to feed themselves; in which a deft military uses unmanned drones to target foreign enemies, even as the country fails to find basic work for returning veterans of that military; in which some of the best schools on earth stand alongside others that can no longer afford chalk.

Don’t Be Disgusting [Review of ‘Galateo,’ by Giovanni Della Casa Edited and translated by M. F. Rusnak] - In his introduction, Rusnak suggests that the book is intended to be comic, not only in its charmingly related examples but also in the above defense of etiquette, which he considers “too presumptuous to be anything but ironic.” The author claims that “Giovanni Della Casa would be shocked” to be classified with the early- and mid-20th-century etiquette writers Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt, having nothing in common with their presumed preoccupation with “finishing schools, regulations for place settings, bridesmaids’ gifts and formal invitations to showers.” On the contrary.

The Americans emphasized the underlying moral impetus of kindness and consideration. And while Della Casa was unfamiliar with bridal and baby showers, he stresses the necessity of observing prevalent customs and even fashions, and he devotes a chapter to the importance of ritual. The Americans kept making the point that etiquette could be acquired by all; Della Casa, being of his time and station, declared that gentle ways are not for the lower classes and that “silly and tender manners are best left to the ­women.” Image from article, with caption: painting by Dirck Hals and and Dirck van Helen shows elegant company in a Renaissance Hall.

Passings: Andreas Thein of Propaganda
- Andreas Thein, co-founder of the German synthpop group Propaganda, died on Thursday after battling cancer.

He was 59. Thein image from entry


TSA removes 'nude scanners' from airports - Hugo Martin, The "nude scanners" are gone. The full-body scanners that used X-rays to create what looks like a nude image of passengers have been packed away and removed from airports across the country.

The 250 or so machines were removed about two weeks ago, before the June 1 deadline set by Congress.

--From: Vendor Cart Hot Dog Photoblogging Also Returns! - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog

--Via BB on Facebook


“During the Fatherland Liberation War [the Korean War] the brave uncles of the Korean People’s Army in one battle killed 374 American imperial bastards, who are brutal robbers. The number of prisoners taken was 133 more than the number of American imperial bastards killed. How many bastards were taken prisoner?”

--Question from a North Korean elementary school textbook, according to Andrei Lankov, a Soviet-born academic who studied in Pyongyang during the Cold War and has since become one of the most respected scholars on North Korea

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