COMMENTARY | North Korea has released a propaganda film, showing America in the throes of some great dystopia. It turns out that while the video shown across news organization in America is based upon a North Korean film slamming Western unemployment, the voice-over is a fake translation. Perhaps they could have simply shown the movie “Obama 2016.”
We’re used to propaganda from North Korea. Its government has, over time, released a number of films showing Kim Il Sung, his son, and his grandson, the current leader, doing great things. Everywhere they step, flowers seem to bloom. Around the world, birthday celebrations are held for their leaders, making them global holidays.
When Yahoo! News editors told me the film might be faked, I sent the link to a colleague of mine who teaches Asian History and speaks Korean, who sent me the aforementioned propaganda piece. He said that the British voice-over makes it hard to hear the Korean words spoken, but he translated the title as being “The reality of capitalist society that is becoming darker and darker all the time.” It appears to be about unemployment in North America and Western Europe. He also sent me an example of one that contrasts the great North Korean lifestyle with that of poverty and burning buildings in South Korea and the West.
This is nothing new, as the United States had plenty of anti-Soviet posters and films, and the Russians had similar propaganda pieces targeting America.
Even if the translation is wrong, the message of the film on American unemployment and declining society isn’t much different from last year’s film “Obama 2016,” which also provided a dystopia for political ends.
In that sense, the Dinseh D’Souza documentary also exaggerates a bit. “Many of the assertions D’Souza makes in the film to support his point that Obama’s presidency is an expression of his father’s third-world political beliefs don’t hold up, including that Obama removed a bust of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from the Oval Office because Churchill represented British colonialism and that Obama has ‘done nothing’ to impede Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” writes Derrik J. Lang with the Associated Press. “And there are other instances where the film takes liberties with the facts.”
It would be ironic if D’Souza’s conservative movie and the real North Korean film knocking our unemployment had a lot in common.
John A. Tures is an associate professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.