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by Johann A. Gsell
Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 at 3:38 AM
It has all everything it needs to become a judicial precedent: Internal issues, global war crime and swift boat diplomacy. The recent killing of a South Korean in an American remote control air-to-ground attack with a so-called „drone“ in Gambia has not triggered a response from Seoul so far. But now it caused one from Pyongyang. A government spokesperson elaborated that due to a naming similarity the South Korean had been assassinated because the attackers believed the target was a North Korean. Pyongyang said it had arrested an American missionary to enforce compliance with investigations.
Namesake war crimes have been committed before by the Americans, the most prominent one being the case a Muslim abducted in South-Eastern Europe who, after being put through the bureaucracy mill of the notorious exterritorial prison colony on Cuba, had to be returned due to his self-evident innocence. The El Masri and El Bakri cases have served as precedents of bureaucrat errors of the naming similarity type. In the other case the mismatch was executed by the national government with the result that the suspect was found assassinated by brute force. So it was in the recent Rag Ma case, only without any involvement of national government.
The spokesperson said that the war crime was to be persecuted according to the assumptions used by the perpetrator to raise its intent regardless whether they were erroneous. Naming similarities have played a huge role in the Palestinian intifada, where they also lead to the destruction of homes and occupation settlements. In this case, since the Americans by targeting a South Korean intended to hurt North Korea, the latter is entitled to retaliate as well or on top of the former, diplomatic sources elaborated. On the condition of anonymity one official said if the Americans had been aware that the target was the South Korean of the same name, a common one in both, he might still be alive.
Rag Ma, a sweatshop worker who had won a little fortune in a lottery and invested it into exotic field trips, was assumed to be Rag Ma, a communist party delegate known for his thorough examinations of land reform implementations and blacklisted by Washington as an enemy of its aggressive monopoly corporations in the agricultural sector. When aerial surveillance receivers noticed phone connections accounted on the name, they spotted the target and asked their supervisors for permission to kill. That permission was given along the military hierarchy under the assumption that despite of a hitherto unknown phone number it could only be the expected target.
It was because the Americans came to read out of several possibilities what they wanted to read out of them, not what it would be, and indulged into plagiarism and wishful thinking, the spokesperson said. And it was another example that contrary to the assumption of some in America, not everything can be expressed in the Western alphabet. Besides some qualities and advantages it also has very specific disadvantages, of which the naming similarity is only the most common one. Others vary from simple omission over several grades of forked misspellings to integrated varieties so absurd that most people immediately forget them.
Authentic or not, they all have in common that they leave open whether they are unintended or intended, and that this ambiguity takes away more clarity than the content of the distorted message could deliver, leaving an overall negative impact. Then there are differences among Western languages themselves, for example in several European languages with a tighter dictionary the three words evil, bad and ugly are tied in three different combinations of two words. But while naming mistakes in principle can happen in any alphabet, the probability thereof heavily increases with a shrinking size thereof.
In the otherwise user-friendly-tailored Roman alphabet they are much more likely already to narrower naming conventions, and all the more in transcriptions, where the mistake also may consist of different transcriptions of identical content. In the accumulated pictogram alphabets names are susceptible to be out-shadowed by partial illiteracy as well, but the Western alphabet tends to work out much more risky in terms of difficult-to-see-in-advance risks when grafted upon native languages with or without their own alphabet.
For example, one Haussa dialect in West Africa whose written alphabet died out with a plant species used as writing material has nearly exactly the same word for a person who received a present and a person who was set on fire, originally expressed by the condition of the plant material. The verbal difference is being pronounced merely by a little wave of tongue, and lost when text is being transmitted through the Western alphabet between native speakers, resulting in cultural suffering and denigration. But Africa is huge enough for this example to be located in a different time zone than the targeted assassination.
As its retaliation, Pyongyang said it had turned upon an American missionary currently in the country for talking about Bible studies. The culprit was accused to intentionally have abused an envelope of an edition of Das Kapital for disguise. Yet the Northern Rag Ma, the agro communist, was said to have refused consent to a symmetric retaliation, arguing any retribution or reparation ought not to infringe upon the asymmetric nature of the conflict. As a result, the evangelist was only taken prisoner as a means to enforce Washington’s cooperation in an external investigation not seriously enforced by Seoul despite it lost one of its citizens. South Korean families find little representation of their interests when they collide with American ones.
Pyongyang argued that Washington’s handling of the benefit of the doubt left by the linguistic ambiguity along many cases clearly demonstrated that its regime loved death more than life, as also can regularly be seen from statistical figures measuring military efficiency on civilian background issued by Washington itself as well. Drone assassinations in Africa, according to official declarations due to time zone issues, are being pursued from Germany abusing as human shields the military hospitals along the oil war return path. The El Masri and El Bakri cases are from near where the perpetrator side of the remote-controlled assassinations takes place.
Communist party daily Rodong Shimbun argued in its lead commentary that both the incident and its ensuing handling thereof showed that Washington was not serious about world peace. It quoted the guest missionary who was said to have pointed at a Bible quote on true service which he interpreted as a condemnation of the “Haarp” naval command transmission system. In the quote, the prophet disrupts a party in full force by taking away the main music instrument and then goes on with a river of uproar ordering corrupt elites to identify with the marks of their duplicity.
The communist party commentary branded the issue as an icon of American hypocrisy. “After Haarp there only is Daesh” the headline said. The evangelist was quoted to have said that as a proof of seriousness he would avoid mentioning the location address and trust on recipient’s capabilities to find the source by themselves among thousands of pages to fly over in search for a stealth antenna grid. The device is serving as a pivotal element of nuclear deterrence, enabling that even after the loss of urban areas and command centres submarines can be reached by final commands of the kind issued in this case.
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