North Korea Today No. 218 - Sep 2008
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Pyongsung City Starts a Large-Scale Patriotic Rice Donation Movement
After reaching the decision to promote the patriotic rice donation movement, the Pyongsung City Party convened each district party with the leading secretary and People's Assembly chairman attended in attendance, and discussed specifically how to support the movement. At the district party meeting they said, "If people eat 3 meals a day, we can tell them to eat only 2 meals and donate the food for one meal" and decided that the person in charge of each unit will carry a rice sack in person to collect the grain.
The motivation behind this patriotic rice donation movement is the determination of the party's leading secretary, who attended the Central Party organizational meeting. The Pyongsung City Party's leading secretary response to the report, "Soldiers barely eat 2 meals of corn porridge because there is not enough food in the military base. There are many weaklings (those who suffer from malnutrition) and even officers are not being fed properly." He organized the patriotic rice donation movement as soon as he returned to Pyongsung. He first donated rice from his own house and made a plea to the residents of Pyongsung to join the patriotic rice donation movement. The Pyongsung City Party's officials and the city People's Assembly members also gave the highest priority to the patriotic rice donation movement and went around the city to encourage people to join the movement, saying, "Be conscientious and donate as much as you can." Also, each village office, factory, public enterprise, school, hospital, and Democratic Women's Union, are all focusing on the promotion of patriotic rice donation movement for 10 days. As the patriotic rice donation initiative has turned into a well-organized movement, the Central Party highly praised the Pyongsung City leading secretary as the "pioneer of the patriotic rice movement."
Those Who Do Not Donate Patriotic Rice Are "Cold-hearted Egoists"
People in Pyongsung city who barely eat two meals a day are having trouble with the patriotic rice donation movement. Authorities ask "Just take one spoonful of rice from your meal." However, that is too much of a burden for the people, who can barely eat corn porridge as a daily meal. The City Party's initial plea for voluntary donation has become more oppressive as nobody showed signs of donating voluntarily. At every meeting, they call the names of those who did not donate patriotic rice and denounce them as "cold-hearted egoists."
Patriotic Rice Donation Movement Spreads to All Areas in South Pyongan Province
While the patriotic rice donation movement is being actively organized the movement also started in the countryside near Pyongsung City. As the atmosphere of obligatory donation forms, farm members have reluctantly donated 1 kg of potatoes or green onions, or garlic, which they grow in small lots. Because the patriotic rice donation movement affects all of the population, including party-members, non-party members, workers, housewives, students, or farmers, the movement has spread from Pyongsung city to all areas of South Pyongan Province. The city of Pyongsung and the Central Party expect that Pyongsung City's patriotic rice donation movement will soon spread throughout the nation. Nevertheless, the people suffer from it because the movement adds extra burdens while they already have difficulty feeding themselves. Hwang Ok-hee (age 38) complained by saying, "I wouldn't feel too bad about donating patriotic rice or whatever if they allow us to do trading business. They don't allow us to trading business; my husband is not getting any rations. There is no place we can get any grain. So, how can we donate anything more? Our life is hard enough with hunger and hardships. Why do they have to make us suffer like this?"