Now Here’s A Youth Gathering!

In what looks like old home week for a group of Comecon nations, young people from China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Russia and North Korea are meeting in North Korea to, well, raise a flag, lay a floral basket at the base of a statue of Kim Il Sung (no visit to North Korea is complete without it!), splash in the ocean, make sand castles on the beach, and learn about each other while they do their thing.

Pyongyang, August 4 (KCNA) — Schoolchildren from various countries began their camping at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, located on the east coast of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. 

They spend pleasant times at the seaside with swimming, boating, sports and amusement games, etc, getting together. 

A camper from China told KCNA: 

“It is a big fortune for me to come here. I’ve got to know a lot of things about the culture and history of Korea. 

I am thankful to respected Marshal Kim Jong Un for the loving care given to us campers.”
A camper from Mongolia said: 

“Days here in the camp are so enjoyable. This is the first time for me to see the sea.
It is very funny to play with campers from different countries. I want to come here again in the future.” 

Hong Jin Hyok, a 13-year-old student at Kumsong Secondary School No.1, said:
“Now I feel refreshed after having a sea bathing. During the camping, I will further train my body and deepen my knowledge to be an able man for the country.”

I cannot tell from the video whether there are kids from countries other than what was listed in the video. (Note the Korean Central News Agency: please, please, please, please, please, please set your website up so I can link to your videos!) But no group here marches as well as the North Koreans. Not the Russians, not the Chinese, and certainly not the Mongols.

And something creepy. While this is hardly a communist youth gathering, it looks for all the world like on of the Russian youth groups have a rifle muzzle and bayonet pointing upward on their shirts, along with a red star and some kind of olive branch thing. There are several Russian youth groups here, and only one of the groups sports a bayonet on their shirts. (Whew!) While most of the Russians were having too much fun to march well, the young man above (image taken from the 1:16 mark in the video) really got into marching the youth gathering flag out and being part of the group of four kids who hoisted it.

Two of the countries whose youth have come to North Korea.

Two of the Russian groups. 

One happy young camper from Mongolia. No bayonet on this young man’s tee shirt!

UPDATE: Ooops, my bad. It appears the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was never a member of Comecon.

SECOND UPDATE: I am looking at another video, and it appears that the Vietnamese youth group is wearing tee shirts that say, in English, “Good Morning Vietnam.” I cannot tell for sure, but if it’s true, what’s THAT all about?

What Exactly is Aggression, Anyway?

Mitt Romney, the Republican former Massachusetts governor who pioneered the ridiculous notion of forcing people to buy health insurance as a way to solve the health care situation, recently spoke about the need for the next president to have “CEO experience” (getting government bailouts and rigging markets?) and whining about a “militarily aggressive China.”

Militarily aggressive China. His words, not mine.

A question for Mr. Romney — how many countries has China invaded, attacked, occupied, bombed, threatened and stationed over the last 10 years? Or 20 years? Or even 30 years? How many fingers do you need to tally that count? How many countries has the United States done the above to over the same periods of time? What understanding of the word “aggression” is Romney using? Or do I even want to know?