Ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is at it again. In his ongoing struggle with foreign counterrevolutionaries and bourgeois rightists, the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has seen fit to ban sarcasm.
Not all sarcasm is illegal, the regime’s defenders may rush to say: only sarcasm directly aimed at criticizing the communist regime and its leader is officially forbidden. Of course, the considered and benevolent actions of the Dear Leader are never without a righteous cause. Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service reports that “graffiti mocking production slogans [appeared] at a construction site in Pyongyang and ‘more serious’ scrawlings attacking Kim Jong Un personally [were] found in areas near China.” Well, there you go, gentle reader: if your political regime tolerates a crime as grievous as “scrawling” then you’re basically just throwing open the doors to anarchy and civil war right there. It’s testament to the miraculous strength of the Juche system that it’s survived as long as it has under the constant assault of counterrevolutionary bathroom wall doodles.
At a local lecture led by members of the regime’s security services, the official conducting the meeting “pointed specifically to commonly used expressions such as ‘This is all America’s fault,’ which when spoken ironically could be taken to imply criticism of the regime.” Hilariously, the doublethink of North Korean propaganda has finally come full circle. Even though every rattle of the saber by the North Korean dictatorship rails against the hostile and invidious tendrils of American democracy violating the socialist sanctity of the DPRK, the hyper-paranoid ruling clique have begun to suspect hidden dissent even when people parrot their own agitprop.
We at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation are thankfully not subject to the delirious dictates of the Dear Respected Comrade at the helm of the North Korean regime. We will continue to bombard the totalitarian tyranny with as much sarcasm and acid as we can muster. We’re allowed to criticize North Korea, or any country, even our own. The inviolable principles of free speech, free thought, and free conscience are sacrosanct to liberal democracies like ours.
But amid the japes and guffaws, it cannot be forgotten that Kim Jong-un is not simply the court jester of the community of nations. As this new government policy—not to mention the regime’s latest nuclear weapons test—demonstrates, Kim Jong-un is a calculating and ruthless tyrant who is more than willing to contravene international law on a whim and egregiously violate the human rights of North Korea’s people (and anyone else he can get his hands on). He controls an army of over one million active duty personnel and a reserve force close to six million. Many experts argue that North Korea has stockpiles of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weaponry. Based on his heartless behavior towards his own citizenry, there’s every reason to believe Kim Jong-un would use them. Though he is undoubtedly a buffoon, Kim Jong-un is also a dangerous warlord whose rule every day imperils the free nations of Asia and, most of all, the lives of twenty-three million innocent North Koreans. Whether Kim is working to repress the natural rights of free speech and expression or to cow his neighbors into submission with nuclear threats, the world must stand up and say—without any sarcasm at all—“No more.”