On 10 February 2007, a public meeting celebrating the work of DPRK leader Comrade Kim Jong Il was held at Saklatvala Hall, Southall, West London. After a film about life in Korea, Harpal Brar, the chair of Friends of Korea, introduced the various speakers who made short presentations on aspects of the life and leadership of Kim Jong Il, who was born on 16 February 1942. These speakers were Michael Chant [Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)], Andy Brooks [New Communist Party], John McLeod (Socialist Labour Party), Ella Rule [Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)], Dermot Hudson [Juche Study Group] and Keith Bennett. The guest of honour was Jong In Song, Counsellor at the DPRK Embassy in London. We reproduce below extracts of Comrade Jong’s speech, together with the message adopted by the meeting.
Jong In Song – Counsellor, DPRK Embassy in London
After a standing ovation, Comrade Jong In Song expressed his deep thanks to the previous speakers for their messages of greeting and solidarity. He went on to say: I believe that everybody in Korea will be deeply encouraged by your words and accept your good will and desire to work even harder in support of the victory of socialism in Korea and the promotion of the socialist cause in the world. I assure you that I will convey to Korea all that has happened here.
February 16 is the day we mark the 65th birthday of the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il. We celebrate this historic day as it symbolises a bright future and a shining victory for the cause of independence, for the Korean and other progressive peoples. Some people may ask: Why is this day commemorated so significantly? It is because the great leader illuminated the road for the achievement of independence, and without independence we cannot have socialism.
Socialist ideas are characterised by the construction of a society where the masses become the masters of everything and everything must serve for the benefit of the people. This is the basis of socialism in Korea. Why do the Korean people have a strong faith in socialism? It is because socialism guarantees a bright future for human beings; and they have an enormous experience that their ideology and social system has been good for them. The Korean people are full of the will and determination to value dearly the historical traditions achieved in the struggle for socialism and their socialist principles more than their own lives – and hold fast to them until the end. The belief of the Korean people in socialism is the optimistic belief that the ordeals and hardships that they are experiencing now can be easily overcome.
This faith originates from the superiority of the socialist system. The socialist system has been existing and flourishing in Korea for more than 50 years. During this period the Korean people have fully experienced and found that no other social system can be better than this socialist system they have chosen and built by their own hands. [applause]
Socialism ensures dignity for everybody as a human being. Socialism has given them honour and pride in making their revolution and constructing socialism. In socialist Korea ordinary people have become the masters of the society and have been respected as heroes when they have worked for the good of others. This is the reality of socialism in Korea. Having a socialist base is one reason why Korea can survive after the collapse of the socialist bloc and the reason it can continue to survive under the strong pressure of the coalition forces of the western world.
Even when Korea was facing very difficult times during recent years, the state and government still maintained free education, free medical care and strictly rationed food and commodities evenly among all the people, whatever their role, so all were provided for. The state and government continued with the construction of houses, schools, hospitals, factories, power stations, farms, irrigation channels, and so on which benefit the entire people. Although at the moment Koreans do not live rich and luxurious lives, they all feel pride and satisfaction, safety and security, in their lives. In this way the Korean people see that their government and leaders provide for the entire people even when times are hard, so the people have many reasons to be firmly united around the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea under Comrade Kim Jong Il.
The Korean people have defended socialism, successfully overcoming unprecedented difficulties. The Korean people are now striding forward in building a new form of prosperous, powerful socialist nation. Comrade Kim Jong Il stated that the Juche idea, founded by the great leader Kim Il Sung, was the guiding idea for the cause of independence for Korea. He developed and enriched the Juche idea as an integral system of ideology, theory and working method. Comrade Kim Jong Il defines the present era as the era of independence, where no one should live in subjugation and oppression, under exploitation and domination. The Korean people are determined to stand firm and make sure socialism in Korea can grow and prosper.
The celebration concluded with food, drink and lots of discussion.
Message adopted by the meeting of 10 February 2007 (Juche 96) to celebrate the life of Kim Jong Il, organised by the Co-ordinating Committee of Friends of Korea
Dear Comrade Kim Jong Il,
This meeting, organised by the Friends of Korea in Britain, would like to convey to you our warmest congratulations on the joyous and auspicious occasion of the 65th anniversary of your birth, and wish you the best of health and a long life and our very best wishes for the continued success of your great work.
We note with great admiration that your love of the people and fidelity to the principles laid down by the great leader President Kim Il Sung remain undimmed. You have made your special contribution as the architect of the Songun policy, and have upheld and carried forward the principles of maintaining the independence and sovereignty of the DPRK, and making an invaluable contribution to the struggle for peace, progress and security against aggression and war, not only on the Korean Peninsula but also on the world scale. To this end, we recognise the contribution to this cause made by the nuclear capability of the DPRK. This stand under your leadership is a great inspiration and example to all those countries and peoples joined in the massive and growing worldwide movement against the policies of war and intervention which threaten the entire world with catastrophe. The firm stand of the DPRK under your leadership against the US imperialists and their allies in Britain in their attempts to stifle the DPRK and to slander it as an “illegal state” are a great contribution to the anti-imperialist struggles of the people. We denounce the manoeuvres of the Anglo-US imperialists to use the so-called “nuclear issue”, as well as the issue of human rights, to isolate and spread disinformation about the DPRK, and we pledge to do our utmost to counter these ill-intentioned attacks.
We are sure that all parties, organisations and individuals of goodwill in Britain would join with us on this occasion to express hearty best wishes to you on your birthday. The direction in which you are guiding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is one which the world’s people cherish, and which contributes to the unity of the progressive forces in their revolutionary struggles for a better world.
All friends of Korea in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with you and the Korean people in your struggles as we join together to affirm our conviction that humanity will achieve a world where the people are the masters of their own destiny.