Rise of the felines

We’ve covered feline subversion here before. To a certain extent, it’s unsurprising: the internet loves cats and trolling, so it was only a matter of time before they were brought together. Here, for example, or here or here.

The trend effectively undermines the cute cats theory of censorship by combining apparently innocuous cat pictures with political satire.

The latest incidence comes from Seoul:

Park Sang-hak, head of Fighters for Free North Korea, and a defector activist who launched leaflets to the Northern side, admitted that he removed tore down a poster on a university campus for “praising” Kim Il Sung.

Park, who is currently studying at Korea University’s graduate school of policy studies, said he damaged the poster and reported it to the local police for praising the North Korean national founder.

In recent days, the controversial poem entitled “All Praise Kim Il Sung” has been circulating on Korea University’s campus, in the context of protesting against limits on freedom of speech.

The poem, originally authored by Kim Soo-young in 1960, gave the work its title to make the point that even distasteful speech must be allowed in order to foster freedom in South Korean society.

“This is not a poem. Is it reasonable to praise dictator who start the war?” Park told NK News, when told that the poem’s purpose was not to praise Kim Il Sung but serve as social commentary.

The student who designed the poster was present when Park damaged it.

“I was embarrassed rather than angry. He threw my paper down and trampled it,” she told NK News, on the condition of anonymity.

The poster is credited to “cat,” and reads: “I am a cat. Dear judge, I wrote this. Don’t arrest my owner. I will bite the police if you make a phone call to the campus.” The “cat” byline has become a popular online in South Korea for when people leave negative comments about the authorities.

The student wrote with her left hand to simulate a “cat’s writing” and intentionally made typos.

“I attached it at about 1 a.m. to maintain anonymity,” she said.

“I intended to show self-censorship, which implies the highest level of oppression. At the same time I wanted to respond in a cheerful way, against this violent situation.”

After the incident, she attached follow-up note which reads, “Please return my writing. I can write it again,” with a footprint of a cat.


Cats and free speech in Korea

Cat free speech protest Korea


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