“Plutôt défavorable”?: French – North Korean Friendship Association on S.V.

Today this blog received a brief review on the website of the French-North Korean Friendship Association [my translation is in black]:

En 2009, notre mission de ré-information sur la Corée est passée de plus en plus par les nouveaux moyens de communication. En un an, le site Internet de l’AAFC a doublé sa fréquentation et est désormais lu chaque mois par plus de 2 000 personnes différentes venant d’une soixantaine de pays répartis sur les cinq continents. [In 2009, our mission to inform (the public) about North Korea moved into more and more new means of communication.  In one year, the homepage of the French-North Korean Friendship Association doubled its hit totals, with more than 2000 hits per month from people coming from about 60 states on five continents.]

Il est régulièrement consulté par des organisations, institutions et personnalités hostiles ou non à nos positions.  [It is regularly consulted by organizations, institutions and personalities both hostile and non-hostile to our positions.]

Citons, par exemple, le cas de cet historien américain spécialiste de l’Asie du Nord-Est – plutôt défavorable – qui, découvrant l’étendue de nos activités grâce à notre site Internet, a qualifié l’AAFC de « lobby pour l’engagement [entre la France et la Corée du Nord] ».2 Nous sommes au moins d’accord sur ce point.  [Take, for example, the case –rather unfavorable — of the American historian and specialist in Northeast Asia who, discovering the extension of our activities thanks to our website, called the French-North Korean Friendship Association a “lobby for engagement [between France and North Korea].”  We can at least agree on this point.

[2]Adam Cathcart, professeur d’histoire à la Pacific Lutheran University de Tacoma (Washington, Etats-Unis), « France’s Nordpolitik: Jack Lang, French Communists, and French-North Korean Relations », 6 novembre 2009 – https://adamcathcart.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/frances-nordpolitik/

I certainly appreciate the citation and, in truth, I rather enjoy visiting the association’s website and offering up translations at various times of its fare.  If this blog has any mission at all, I think it reflects my belief of the importance of finding and disseminating alternative viewpoints to those usually offered up in the Anglophone (and, occasionally, Francophone, Germanophone, and Sinophone) internets.  If this benefits the French-North Korean Friendship Association, then all to the good.

At the same time, the Association’s characterization of my website (or, perhaps, just this entry) as “father unfavorable” in its orientation toward the DPRK led me to wonder: What exactly would count as “favorable” coverage of North Korea from a professor of Northeast Asian history?  Does merely citing reports from the Good Friends organizations from within North Korea count one as spreading propaganda hostile to Pyongyang?  More to the point, is this an “anti-DPRK” blog?  Views of any readers (regular readers in particular) would be welcome on this point.  In the meantime, here’s to the slow broadening unification of Euro-American-Northeast Asian data streams.

Absent the influence of the city of Montreal, I neither read nor comprehend the French-North Korean Association's website, nor do I have the ability to fantasize about leaping over national boundaries and granite stumps of past wars: Adam Cathcart in Montreal, Quebec, December 2008; photo by William Dahlberg

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