What scares you about Kim Jong Un

We're at a turning point in Korea, maybe

It often had the character of a rather absurd choreography and will continue to be staged like this for some time. The border strip hopping and holding hands. De-escalation - that's how you hear; Fear of the atom, greed for money, orders from above. The north and south of a historically overcrowded peninsula make phone calls with the rank of state leader, and even meet with the highest occupation, and that in the south (!) Part of the Schauer border strip. The three actually powerful (Putin, Xi and Trump) are practically on the sidelines. Like parents in kindergarten, when the little ones (want, may, have to) show off a good showpiece. This was preceded by realpolitical and diplomatic threats around the world, ranging from the withdrawal of love from the three gentlemen to evil rods in the window, which probably read laconically: Attention, at least pretend pseudo-peace and mutual renunciation of annihilation! Anyway, pretend!

It was - after days of council-like preparations, in the course of which at least half of the dogmas were to be reformulated - a kind of political sitcom. One dutifully played the expected to his uncles, as a colorful, slightly shabby state operetta; the angry children were praised and proudly patted. But are they now waiting to start fighting again in the next room? It was - a hate speech for the excited in the writing and TV rooms around the world. It will - continue to be like this? It is - still?

What follows in this article is certainly not validly objective, but more or less all media in this special case cannot be either. In addition, and anyway, things are only told by way of example, people are quoted, stories are shared. Admittedly, the author, too, was occasionally baffled during his mostly unintended research; It is allowed to change the narrative posture, to introduce the cautious self after several stays over there, not as a tourist, but working in theaters and universities.

Most of them are scared

The conclusion right away: Just as we, the usual consumers of politics and somehow world history, or a lot of so-called Western media in general, see, experience and judge the situation and prospects between North and South Korea ... so do people not really in South Korea. The surprise started gently with the television. The old trick: If you visit a country that you hardly know, then zap through all the TV channels in your hotel room, you can get between 50 and 100 almost everywhere. In East Asia (almost no matter in which country) you get - in the midst of a few strangely one-sided global reports from a few global media corporations - dozens of colorful speech advertising shows with feeding and degreasing aids, historical cuddles and a few West-East mixed programs on the latest news Main channels of the country and the provinces.

There you slowly get to know the people of the country, the official behavior towards each other (politics) and the self-presentations in special cases (in the daily disaster and accident reports). And then and there? In Europe we somehow still have the GDR, Cold War, national brutality and refugee disaster reports in our heads, with whom we have been extremely connected for centuries. It was called the reports from over there. In South Korea there are reports about the north with the constant focus on Mr. Kim Jong-un, those that we receive every day across Europe, at best under Other. The Grenzlinien welcome show on April 27th was shown on some large public screens, alone (according to a report from there) "people rather ducked away".

The media of the country, which is in part somewhat shaken domestically (after all, the corrupt are thrown into prison relatively quickly there) judge a globally interested Central European to be quite one-sided due to real constraints. Trump is the foreign policy star, the Chinese are considered overpowering, you can't really get along with Japan because of the history of the occupation, Russia is far, the EU is still further, there are hardly any cultural reports, there is often a longing for Europe, especially in the so-called cultural area. But those mostly loving people there? Those who even want to talk about this their Korea today? Especially those who studied in Germany or Austria, for example, who were able to travel around? An interpreter: "Most of the people here act very cool, but most of the people are scared." Fear of what? "All of this is just a theater for Americans and Chinese. They want to take our prosperity away." A university lecturer, he was often in Europe: "You compare everything in the West with Germany, with the GDR and the FRG. Firstly, this is about a lot more people. Second, about completely different traditions that play a much greater role in our country And thirdly, the gap between living conditions is much greater than it was back then in Germany, a thousand times. "

Total uncertainties

I ask for. Somehow, one in the south is not very interested in the north at all - are these fears? "The pictures are always the same. Provided. Prefabricated. In the FRG one saw reports from the East every day; the extent to which they voted was secondary, but they were there. And in the GDR many people survived psychologically, so to speak, through Western television. Here?" A musician: "Almost everyone has family ties to the north. But we have no idea. If there were to be any relaxation, you wouldn't even know what to do. These total uncertainties are frightening." I want to know more again. "Koreans don't want to embarrass themselves in their own families. If we don't even know who and what we are going to face. Maybe they are all too far away from us here. Maybe we would never find each other?" An actor, he's more brutal: "The people here are afraid of losing their prosperity or at least having to accept losses if we are suddenly supposed to take care of the northern people." I email with friends. They say almost nothing about the current situation, which is to be expected after some experiences in the country. Then it goes: "The dictator up there wants to close his nuclear programs, suddenly after he threatened us with killing a few days ago? So either he himself will soon be history - killed by the Chinese or Russian secret service - or it It turned out that all his weapons are already broken. The rocket and nuclear tests we have seen in recent months were either a bluff or were Chinese dummies. And so many think here. But of course that doesn't work at a reassurance. "

Another mail. One makes fun of the mutual assurances of an impending "eternal peace within one country". "The only reason the regime in the north survived so long is because, firstly, it is the semi-secret transshipment point for civil war weapons all over the world. For the Arab countries and Africa above all. And secondly, because North Korea has offered itself as a nuclear waste dump for decades without a lot to ask. They are probably full now; or something has happened that will still contaminate half of Northeast Asia. And that's why we're scared and not cheering around, as you in Europe think it should be now Eastern bloc. Back then. In another world and time. "

I was in an academy for so-called modern arts. Almost nobody talks about politics in Korea, they prefer to ask about trends in Central Europe. But some say flatly: "Trump is great! He averted nuclear war from us." Another university lecturer, he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall live: "We are at a turning point. Admittedly. Perhaps. The fears stem mainly from the fact that nobody wants to give up prosperity. On the other hand, we almost only worship Central Europe and the USA . Living in our second worlds of mobile phones and tablets. We even felt the Olympic Games that way; it was like virtual rooms and it doesn't matter now. "

Full nuclear waste dump

A musician who only recently returned to South Korea: "The hierarchies here will prevent the two countries from coming together for years to come. And those in industry, the family clans, will be decisive in politics in order to maintain their own power, say : We don't want to have to start paying for these crazy people in the north for years. "

An interpreting student, 25 years old: "Do you know what is terrible? Nobody trusts anyone anymore. Even in families and in private with friends you hardly ever talk about politics. You don't know - just think of the GDR or the secret services in the cold War - whoever belongs to the Stasi, to the northern, but (!) Also to ours. " The other university lecturer takes me aside, he invites me for a coffee: "What I'm saying now doesn't sound good and would actually cause me a lot of difficulties in my work areas, even if almost everyone silently agreed. People are afraid that if it came to a real rapprochement, to opening of borders, to attempts at reunification, that there would then be revolts in our southern country. The masses here would not want to be offered the necessary restrictions, because then perhaps there would not be a few A hundred thousand down, most of them without any idea where they were going, initially almost two million. Do we really want refugees? I tell you, they would defend themselves against them. Yes! If necessary, by force of arms! " (Otto Brusatti, June 2nd, 2018)

About the author:

Otto Brusatti, born in Zell am See in 1948, is a radio presenter (Ö1), author and director. He has been to South Korea three times in the past 13 months, the last time in April 2018.