To say the least, Professor Kim is not known for her credibility on the issue of North Korea. To cite one egregious example of a blatant lie, she maintains that the thoroughly Stalinist group “Women’s International Democratic Federation” (WIDF) was NOT a pro-communist or pro-North Korean entity. However, the US government classifies it as a communist front group which was controlled by Moscow during the Cold War. Today, WIDF even issues declarations praising the North Korean state and its dictators. Thanks to her influence, the Women Cross DMZ website even recommends a Korean War-era propaganda report by this group, which was filled with what are now known to be lies, as a “useful resource” for learning about the Korean War. She is far from trustworthy!
For several years,she was in charge of the ideological indoctrination “study sessions” for young Korean-Americans held by the pro-North youth group NODUTDOL in N.Y. She would help in the vetting and “education” of those selected to participate in NODUTDOL’s “solidarity” tours to the North, in which she participated as a tour leader. As part of these sessions, she would have members study the works of Kim, Il-sung and the Juche ideology from a completely “uncritical” perspective. Quite a departure from a Marxist “Critical Studies” advocate!
Keep in mind that this video was prepared as a “guide” for teachers of Asian Studies courses across the U.S. Unbelievable!
She focuses on the allegedly “distorted” Western media portrayals of the North, a key complaint of pro-North forces. She says that facts such as “North Koreans have no freedom” and “North Korean leaders starve their people” and “North Korea is a rogue state” are “MYTHS.” She is really acting here as a public relations spokesperson for the North. Note she calls on students and educators to rely on the official North Korean media to dispel “myths” about the North. Note she calls on students and educators to perceive the lack of electric power in the North as a virtue in contrasting it with what she portrays as the “overuse” of electric power in the US and its supposed negative impact on environment.
She blames the lack of electrical power in the North on “colonization,” which hardly explains the difference with the ROK. Note she does not mention that the North invaded the South during her discussion of the Korean War, and that she justifies the North’s nuclear program as a reasonable reaction to what she terms the “threats” of continuing aggression from the US. Note that she refers to the North’s dictators as “leaders,” and in discussing the Juche ideology she completely ignores its stated function as a theory which explicitly legitimizes the rule of the Kim dynasty as the only desirable form of government.
Note her assertion that the idea that China can exert its influence on the North to help change its behavior is “patently false.”
Note how her discussion about the supposed “self-reliance” of the North totally ignores the massive amounts of foreign aid.
Note that the only slightly negative thing she says about the North is that it is a “controlled” society, which is not one of those things which foreign supporters of the North are prohibited from saying, according to the “Kim, Dong-shik Guidelines.”
Note she asserts that the majority of defectors from the North fled for economic reasons, and she downplays the numbers.
She is basically participating in the recent campaign by pro-North groups and activists in the US and the ROK to discourage people from believing any negative media reports about the North, based on the argument that such reports are “unfair.”
Pro-North forces have been strongly promoting this argument about “media bias against North Korea” for many years now.
It is surely no coincidence that she gave this lecture during this campaign by pro-North groups to cause doubts about US and other media reports which portray the reality of the North in a way which the North itself finds offensive and harmful.
I think it is fair to say that most knowledgeable viewers of this lecture would have to conclude that it is marked by glaring omissions of critical facts, downright misrepresentations, avoidance of “inconvenient” topics, blatant “moral equivalency,”and some rather transparent “straw man” type arguments. After viewing this video, most reasonable people familiar with Korea, even those unaware of her background, would conclude that Prof. Kim is an apologist for the North Korean regime.