Saturday, August 28, 2010

North Korean Diary: Fortune’s Favorites

CTL_Still_FortunesFavs

Here is some amusing ghostwritten “Dear Diary” and correspondence text that was used in an early 1960s propaganda publication entitled Fortune’s Favorites. The nominal authors are U.S. Army defectors, Private James Joseph Dresnok (1941- ) and Private First Class Larry Allen Abshier (1943-1983). The diary text is all attributed to Dresnok which must have been particularly laughable to anyone who knew the barely literate Virginian…

Dresnok-Box

WHAT A LUCK!: The Diary of Private Dresnok in Pyongyang  

Aug. 17, 1962 -- A cloudless day, and the second day which I meet in North Korea. Till last night I was rather uneasy. Though I was in ecstasy over my escaping from the devil's hell, I was uncertain whether the North Korean people would understand me or not.

Now all my uneasiness vanished away. The officers of the People's Army warmly treated me, encouraging me for my decisive action. I'm now enjoying too good treatment for me. I feel my frozen heart suppressed for a long time suddenly thawing.

What a luck! They say I will be in Pyongyang tomorrow. I wish I'd realized my dream there.

Aug. 20, 1962 -- Foggy riverside of the Daidong in the morning!

At 10 A.M. we visited the Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition Hall. My impression of the Exhibition Hall will never be given in a few words.

North Korea, that produces everything it wants on its own, is one of the most advanced countries in the world. . . . This was the thing I had never imagined.

Of course, all these owe to the leadership of the Korean Workers' Party and Premier Kim Il Sung.

Aug. 26, 1962 -- Pleasure boats of the river Daidong were resounded with songs and laughter. It made me ponder much. How can they be so happy? Are there nothing to be worried about? Yes, they have nothing to worry about.

If such a gorgeous reality is the product of Communist system, is not the system the true ideal of mankind?

Sept. 20, 1962 -- North Korea is an earthly paradise where the rights of labour and rest are guaranteed. . . . I cannot help envying heartily the happy life of the children in North Korea. Comparing with the life of the children here, the life in my childhood was too miserable.

In my primary school days in the city of Richmond in the State of Virginia, I had to be a handy man of a farm or a work-shop near the city to get my school fee. Every time when I look back upon my school days, I think that today's my happy life is a more precious one . . .

As Premier Kim Il Sung instructed that the most excellent goods should be given to children in North Korea, endless concern and love are being given for the children, masters of the future.

Here “Dresnok” and “Abshier” “write” to the military they left behind on the other side of the 38th parallel: 

Dear Old Fellow Friends!

G.I.'s stationed in South Korea!

Enjoying warm welcome from the North Korean people, I put off the disgusting G.I. uniform and visited Pyongyang and other cities and villages.

To tell the truth, the people in North Korea are enjoying freedom and happiness inaccessible to the working people of the United States. . . . Their life is incomparably freer and happier than that of the Americans or the South Koreans.

Dear old fellow friends!

Here the entire country is sizzling with peaceful construction and the people are working hard to realize the peaceful reunification of their country. It is preposterous that the U.S. rulers label such peace-loving people as "aggressors."

Dead G.I.'s whose corpses were scattered [in the Korean war] -- for what they sacrificed themselves? They died only to fatten the Wall Street masters and enriched their big money bags. Please, don't be a victim for the Wall Street but fight for your withdrawal from South Korea.

Well, that's all.

Goodbye, friends. I wish you a good luck.

-- Larry A. Abshier James J. Dresnok

Dresnok is still living in North Korea and Abshier died in 1983. For more on this topic see CONELRAD’s book review on yet another defector’s story: The Reluctant Communist by Charles Robert Jenkins.

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