Chico Harlan and Zachary Goldfarb, Washington Post, May 8, 2014
The White House on Thursday sharply condemned a lengthy and racist North Korean screed against President Obama, calling the rhetoric from Pyongyang “particularly ugly and disrespectful.”
The rebuke came in response to a recently published diatribe by North Korea calling Obama a “clown,” a “dirty fellow” and somebody who “does not even have the basic appearances of a human being.”
Another part of the tirade declared, “It would be perfect for Obama to live with a group of monkeys in the world’s largest African natural zoo and lick the breadcrumbs thrown by spectators.”
The White House–which often ignores the rhetorical excesses of the North Korean regime–suggested that the new comments from the Korean Central News Agency were especially repugnant.
“He is a crossbreed with unclear blood,” the North says.
And later: Obama “still has the figure of a monkey while the human race has evolved through millions of years.”
The diatribe, published May 2, almost escaped foreign attention. But Joshua Stanton, who blogs regularly about the North’s viciousness and rights violations, uncovered the Korean-only piece, as well as a separate, milder article that was translated into English and in which Obama was called a “wicked black monkey.”
The Korean-only piece (headlined “Divine retribution for the juvenile delinquent Obama!”) featured four lengthy passages, each attributed to a regular citizen. In the North, quotations of citizens are state-sanctioned and often spoon-fed by the government’s propaganda department, analysts say.
Some academics–most notably B.R. Myers–argue that North Koreans fundamentally have a “race-based” worldview, showing more similarity to fascist Japan during World War II than Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Myers condenses North Korea’s state orthodoxy into a sentence: “The Korean people are too pure blooded, and therefore too virtuous, to survive in this evil world without a great parental leader.”
That notion, of course, has been contorted to allow the most non-parental kind of leadership, but North Korea still goes to alarming lengths to maintain its racial purity. North Korean women often cross into China looking for work or an escape; if those women are impregnated and later forcibly repatriated to the North, they are subject to either forced abortions or infanticide.
The United Nations said in a recent human rights report that this practice points “to an underlying belief in a ‘pure Korean race’ in the DPRK to which mixed race children (of ethnic Koreans) are considered a contamination of its ‘pureness.’ ” The report referred to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.