There has been a lot of comments on social media sites such as Facebook as well as articles in noted international affairs magazines such as “The Diplomat” about “celebrity” DPRK “defector” Ms Yeomi Park” whose tearful performance in Dublin a few months ago evoked much comment. A number of experts have cast doubt on her emotional outpourings about the DPRK. UK KFA along with our allied organisations, JISGE and the Association for the Study of Songun Politics UK have made our own analysis.
Firstly, the very name Yeomi Park is itself is highly suspect. In the Korean language the surname is placed first and given individual names are place afterwards so a name such as if someone has the surname Kim and were given the name Chol Ho by his parents then it is written Kim Chol Ho and not Chol Ho Kim. This practice is used in the DPRK but in south Korea and amongst US Koreans some Westernise their names. Moreover the name Park is a Westernisation of the Korean name Pak. So there can be some doubt as to whether she is really from the DPRK at all, if she is then she has very hurriedly assimilated into south Korean, American and Western styles.
Secondly, much comment has been excited by her tale of waking up every morning to see dead bodies floating in the River! This is disputed by one Felix Abt, a Swiss businesman involved in economic co-operation with the DPRK who was staying in the DPRK in the 1990s. Abt is a capitalist businessman and not a communist or socialist and not an advocate of the Juche Idea (in our opinion is he is about of these people who want to try and make the DPRK “open up” and “reform”.) Abt himself slanders the DPRK in regard to the “Ardorous March ” period citing claims by Western sources about alleged deaths in the DPRK. We have a delegation visiting the DPRK in June 1996 and did not see any starvation or famine but would of course agree with Mr Abt that the claim about bodies floating in rivers is false , a big Whopping lie basically. When we were in the DPRK in 1996 we saw the big Chonchon-gang river in the north of the DPRK and there were certainly no bodies floating in it! Lets go deeper into this: why would dead bodies be floating in the river anyway. Surely if there were mass deaths from starvation (or from diseases caused by malnutrition) then the bodies would have been put into mortuaries or into mass graves. It would be unlikely for dead bodies to be put into rivers because it could contaminate the water supply. Does Ms Park mean that people were tipping the dead bodies of their relatives into the water or people died and simply toppled into the water. Science is extremely incovenient for Ms Park, as a general rule, a cadaver in the water starts to sink as soon as the air in its lungs is replaced with water. Once submerged, the body stays underwater. So what she says would have basically been impossible.
Thirdly, other critics of Ms Park have noted her links with far right wing organisations and also the fact that her website has a donate paypal button but it does not say where the money is going?
Fourthly, the whole business of using ‘testimony’ from ‘defectors’ is highly dubious to say the least. During the Cold War “defectors” from the USSR, GDR and other socialist countries tended to say exactly what their new masters in the capitalist countries wanted them to say usually confirming wild Red plots and international communist conspiracies. Iraqi defectors provided the so-called “evidence” for the Iraq WMDs and the rest is history. If we give Ms Park the benefit of the doubt accept she did at some point live in the DPRK, it is fact that in addition to the above points about ‘defectors’ in general, those who “defect” from the DPRK to south Korea are subject to rigorous vetting by the south Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) and then brainwashed and given scripts to read. Ms Park’s has the hallmarks a shoddy propaganda story concocted by the NIS.