Friday, August 29, 2008

Famine? Have some noodles!

Hearing about the intermittent famine that has hit North Korea for more than a decade now is not really news. Kim Jong Il's regime has depended during these years on foreign aid, mostly from South Korea, China, Japan and the US, in order to feed its population. Nevertheless, the North Korean government keeps its Military First policy in full effect, for which the Korean People's Army is considered the priority in the national budget, and gets allocated a huge portion of it as a result.

Well, not everything is bad news for the situation of North Koreans. Their government does allocate some part of the budget (I don't know how much, but it must certainly be a tiny amount compared to the portion destined to military and nuclearization purposes) for useful research! Kim Jong Il's regime is claiming that North Korean scientists have developed a new type of noodles, made from soybeans and corn, which can suppress the feeling of hunger due to its unique nutritional properties: twice as much protein and five times as much fat as regular noodles. Bonanza!

It is utterly upsetting to hear Kim Jong Il's regime to boast about developing noodles that delay hunger, while North Korea's national budget spills money over military activities, development of new weapons, and of course its Dear Leader's eccentricities (palaces, gourmet food, industrial amounts of expensive wines and cognac, movies, race cars, and all types of luxuries). Indeed, the noodles will keep people from suffering hunger pangs whenever they are available all across the country, but are they really the solution for the famine? Will North Koreans be appropriately nourished by eating these fat-rich noodles? I doubt it. As Spanish-speakers would say, this is just like 'covering the sun with one finger', or in different words, to minimize the seriousness of the issue by providing a very temporary relief to it. Sadly, a very normal attitude from the North Korean government towards its citizens.

Hopefully someday there'll be a North Korean government that truly believes that the well being of its people is more of a priority than the development of weapons, or the worship of a leader that couldn't care less about them.

Click here to read the full note from BBC News
Photo by China Daily


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