North Korea this week published a lengthy list of patriotic slogans designed apparently to inspire the country’s famine-stricken, politically repressed population into unquestioning support of the isolated nation’s authoritarian government, run by 32-year-old hereditary “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong Un.
But most of the slogans are so strangely worded and seemingly inscrutable that they have left Pyongyang watchers scratching their heads over what the slogans might actually mean.
Some of the slogans appear rather straightforward, such as, “Should the enemy dare to invade our country, annihilate them to the last man so that none of them will survive to sign the instrument of surrender!”
Others, however, are more difficult to decipher.
“Let us turn ours into a country of mushrooms by making mushroom cultivation scientific, intensive and industrialized!”
“Let us make the principle of holding the masses dearest run through Party work as a whole!”
“Fire an opening salvo of an ideological campaign and make our fire concentrated, regular and accurate!”
James Grayson, an expert on North Korea, says that while it is standard practice for dictatorial regimes to shower their people with mind-numbing propaganda, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the official name of North Korea — takes the practice to an extreme.
“It’s typical of most totalitarian states,” Grayson told BBC News. “Some of this sort of thing you could have seen certainly in China during the Cultural Revolution and after the establishment of the Communist regime – and if you think of the Nazis and Italian fascism it’s not an unusual thing. It’s the strength and the quantity of the North Korean ones that is unusual.”
Many of the new North Korean slogans are devoted to praising Kim Jong Un, but also his father and grandfather, the North Korean state’s first two leaders in its 69-year history, Kim il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
“Do everything the way the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il did!” reads one of the new inspirational slogans.
“Let us build our country into the most powerful one in the world, into a people’s fairyland, as wished by the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il!” another proclaims.
Many others are focused on inspiring the North Korean people to step up food production efforts.
“Let this socialist country resound with Song of Big Fish Haul and be permeated with the fragrant smell of fish and other seafoods!” states one of the new political slogans.
“Make fruits cascade down and their sweet aroma fill the air on the sea of apple trees at the foot of Chol Pass!” implores another.
“It’s an indication of the absolutely dire state of the North Korean economy. You have this huge disparity between the select few living in the best parts of Pyongyang, who live very well, whereas other parts of the country are allowed to go to hell in a cart,” Grayson explained.
[Image: Korean Central News Agency]