GLUED to our TV sets last week, we watched an impressive military parade by armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea celebrating one of their national days.
The armed forces were goose passing defiantly and proudly showing off their country’s latest armoury. These included their latest missiles and what they have in modern warfare.
Some of us watching the parade saw nothing wrong as we are used to them here in our own country, when we celebrate our respective national days. We had no apprehension on the level and quality of the North Korean armoury and whether they are dangerous to anybody in the mutual world we share.
This is because every state in the world has an army - which is full of arms for self-defence - regardless of whether the state is small or a super power.
But in the intervening period, actually in the recent past, there has been a lot of ‘hot air’ from the developed world or circles of the unipolar power- we have in place today the DPRK or North Korea is bent on manufacturing nuclear weapons.
In the heat of these words, there have been threats to attack North Korea in a pre-emptive strike. It is on the implications of this ominous threat that ordinary citizens everywhere must be concerned, wondering what such an attack could mean for the rest of the world.
Taking a wider overview of the world we share, we see many countries having military hardware, which are equally fatal. But it is only a few countries, which are singled out along with North Korea such, as Iran as having exceptionally dangerous armoury.
But some, especially those with special relationship with the West are not mentioned! But is it true that countries accused of having dangerous weapons or heading towards manufacturing them are really, that mentally unbalanced, to start up a nuclear attack?
Only last week there was news of a bomb that was hurled at “ISIS terrorists” and those terrorists were supposed to be Afghanistan. The bomb, as reported by global news agencies was described as most deadly. It hit Afghanistan where those terrorists were supposed to be holed up.
How did the people of Afghanistan feel after that attack? Did they applaud? In this context, who are those allowed to have fatal bombs and who are not? Taking the case of the DPRK or North Korea, has it ever attacked any country, either in its neighbourhood or further away?
All we see on television is its youthful leader very gleefully enjoying the scientific exploits of his country, while testing some of the armoury designed by his troops like missiles. Have these missiles hit anyone? But is his country the only one in the world owning them?
Now, why this fuss and tension? Without the need to delve into the history of the Korean peninsular and what happened where today we have two states - one found in the North and the other in South – what is important here is the reality of the day.
That reality is: we have North Korea, a fully-fledged sovereign state and the South- South Korea. The declared ideology of this state in the north is Socialism. It has a sole political party, and that party is the Communist Party of Korea.
It has been in place in this mold for ages now. North Korea or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is not unique in this mold. We see the People’s Republic of China.
It is also unitary, in both ideology and state as is Cuba. And these are the political settings of these countries, come rain, come sun, day in, and day- out! So the logical thing to do for the rest of the world is to respect the political cultures of these countries as we respect the cultures of other countries, which are in the West.
The political system of the big super powers is multiparty, like the Democrats and the Republicans, and they rule the country interchangeably; with capitalism as a fundamental ideology. So are other big super powers where a Queen or a King is the sovereign of the country, and the Queen or King is neither subjected to democratic vote nor referendum. It is within this wider picture that one has to take North Korea in stride.
The country has had an embassy in Tanzania since the days of founder President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. One remembers the Korea Cultural Centre still around in downtown Dar es Salaam. In affection, we used to muse about the DPRK political propaganda slogans such as “Kim IL Sung – the beloved leader of 40 million Korean people, “dear” leader and so forth.
”One of us would say: “Aren’t there any census in Korea? Why always 40 million people…” which joke would be greeted with hearty chuckles! But Korea is Korea; it is never Tanzania, the big super powers or any other. Every country has its culture and way to regard one another especially those in leadership of a respective country.
If ordinary people accept super powers for what they are, having in place a royalty, which is never subjected to public vote, so we have to accept the reality of things in other countries. So we have seen DPRK or North Korea evolve peacefully in the intervening period.
What is remarkable about this country is its remarkable scientific and technological strides in spite of the reality that it has all along been isolated by the powers, which call the shots in global economy. While the isolation of North Korea was real during the cold war – the bipolar world – it was not as strangling as it is today in the dawn of the unipolar world.
During the days of the bi-polar world, DPRK had allies in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Today, none is handy except socialist China! Clearly, it has been very rough for North Korea to make ends meet.
But in spite of all these drawbacks, DPRK has risen to the high level in science and technology with nuclear capability. This potential of treading on the forbidden ground of the big boys of the world, nuclear capability, has pushed North Korea to a pariah stated, so blacklisted by the unipolar power – the United States - in the same level, as is the Islamic Republic of Iran. But a fair question by the citizens of this mutual world we all share is: which country should be trusted with nuclear technology?
This is the question that should be addressed especially by the big boys of the world calling the shots today. One is able to see, and very clearly, double standards by those who isolate others especially on the question of nuclear programmes.
In so far as North Korea is concerned, it is time the big boys of the world - the western powers - stopped isolating North Korea. The country should become a partner in human development since we all share one mutual planet.