marți, 7 iulie 2020

"KIM IL SUNG and WFTU" (4) President Kim Il Sung, Eminent Leader of Workers (Written by Jan Nemoudry, Assistant to General Secretary of the WFTU)



President Kim Il Sung, Eminent Leader of Workers
(Written by Jan Nemoudry,
Assistant to General Secretary of the WFTU)

I am not a writer, nor a journalist, but a militant trade unionist dedicated to the defence of workers' rights. That being the case, if the readers will excuse me, I would like to write my reminiscences of President Kim Il Sung, eminent leader and President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, for on his 90th birthday, Pyongyang, capital of socialist Korea, is sure to be bathed in the most beautiful flowers of all sorts, magnificently decorating its streets like they do Mansu Hill, where the statue of the President authoritatively stands.
I met the President for the first time 15 years ago, in April 1987. I was visiting the DPRK in my capacity as Secretary of the WFTU mandated to present to him, on the occasion of this 75th anniversary, the Gold Medal and message of the WFTU.
My schedule was fixed for a stay from the 9th to 11th of April, a short schedule, which disappointed me, because, as always, the WFTU has many tasks to realize and undertake. They included, in the period in question, our efforts to establish an international centre for trade union rights. In connection with this, the WFTU had delegated its representatives in several countries of the world to consult on all the issues which required the organization of international solidarity conference to express our support to people and workers of the DPR Korea according to the decision of the presidential council of the WFTU.
After learning of the program of events to mark the 75th anniversary and after consulting with our Secretariat, my trip was extended in order to realize the tasks that had been assigned to me. Under these circumstances, I spent some particularly memorable days in in Korea as the President' birthday approached.
First of all, I visited the old house at Mangyongdae where the President was born and where he recognized, in his childhood the hard life the people of Korea were leading. It inspired him to create the great Juche idea, a philosophy centred on the popular masses, under whose imperishable banner he dedicated himself to the people's cause.
In visiting Pyongyang, as well as several provinces, and in various enterprises, institutions and schools, I had many meetings with trade unionists of a number of different sectors, which had me a better understanding of the strength of the bonds between the President and people, and between people and the President. At the monumental constructions on the banks of the River Taedong, which flows through Pyongyang, that sentiment was reinforced, even more so after visiting the Tower of Juche Idea, built as a monument in national style and topped by a flame. In front of it stands a statue symbolizing the unity and solidarity of workers, peasants, and intellectuals of Korea upholding the emblem of the Workers' Party of Korea. The monument was built to mark the President's 70th birthday, and Koreans and foreigners, allowing them to understand the idea of Juche and its vitality, constantly visit it.
The Arch of Triumph, situated in front of Kim Il Sung Stadium, commemorates the historic speech that the President gave on October 14, 1945, after his triumphal return.
In blocks of carefully cut granite, the Arch of Triumph's height gives it an imposing appearance. The guide explained to me that it was 10 metres higher than that of Paris, which was regarded as one of the largest. Its scale excellently represents the unanimous desire of the Korean people to honor forever the immortal exploits Kim Il Sung performed during the 20 years of anti-Japanese struggle which resulted in the restoration of the country. The monument reminds me of the gate made of twigs at the old thatched cottage at Mangyongdae. He experienced many ordeals in the course of the revolution until his entry through the Arch of Triumph after leaving the parental home, with its cowshed and storehouse, at the age of 13. it was the kind of home most Koreans possessed under the Japanese occupation. The low-roofed house conserves the simple housekeeping utensils used by his grandparents until the last moments of their life, after the liberation of the country.
Born under this roof, he became conscious of the difficult life the Korean people were leading in unimaginable poverty after listening to the words of his parents. Aware of this situation and the occupation of his country as a result of the Japanese invasion, he led, together with his compatriots, an active struggle against the Japanese army from 1925 to 1945.
Kim Il Sung's commitment to the liberation of his country from the yoke of feudal  and colonial society, and the important social and economic changes initiated under his guidance for the well-being of the people, a constant feature of my visit to the DPRK, are reflected in the monumental constructions like the West Sea Barrage constructed in the sea to a length of 8 km, the Grand People's Study House majestically located on Namsan Hill, the cemetery at Mt. Taesong where the revolutionaries rest, a symbol of love and moral virtue, and the Taean Heavy Machine Complex, from where precision and quality resonates throughout the country. Pyongyang is an easy city to visit thanks to the modern metro system which covers most of the capital, a metro with brilliant frescoes and bas-reliefs reflecting the light to put passengers in an impressive wonderland. At the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren's Palace the children of workers can fully develop their talents. In this plethora of ancient and contemporary history, it has demonstrated the reality of Korea in all its stages of development and for the prosperity of future generations. All these achievements are the fruit of the efforts made by te workers and their unions, the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea under the guidance of the President, the source of an unshakable faith in the struggle for socialism.

(To be continued)

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