A North Korean propaganda leaflet was dropped on me from out of the sky by a MIG (North Korean) jet fighter. I was manning a checkpoint at the Bridge of No Return (The Loneliest Outpost in the World it was called then), in 1972. I looked up and saw leaflets fluttering down. I caught one.
Here it is.
It depicts a lone South Korean soldier freezing his tail off in a frontline trench in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone, a no-man’s land between North and South Korea). In the inset picture on the leaflet, Americans are drinking and whoring and whooping it up in a bar.
While the poor South Korean stooge freezes.
The message (I don’t read Korean) must say something like, “What Are You Freezing Your Ass Off For?”
I’m posting this for my JSA buddies (Joint Security Area – the guys who stood In Front of Them All at the North Korean border), and anyone who is interested in psychological warfare propaganda.
By the way. You can tell the Americans in the inset picture are Americans by the exaggerated length of their noses. To North Koreans supposedly, Americans are long nosed devils. I actually have a nose that is almost as long as those depicted.
Which leads to a war story about long appendages.
The communists at Panmunjom at that time conducted tours of the area for visiting civilians from communist countries, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Russia, and so forth. Many of these countries today embrace capitalism, but back then they were part of a United States-hating “Communist Block.”
From their side of the truce village (Panmunjom), the communist visitors, egged on by North Korean guards, would scream insults at us and make obscene gestures from the top of a hill. Some times these demonstrations turned ugly. Throwing rocks, and other examples of human intelligence and development.
We would deploy in riot formation below, a thin line of men to counter the mob if and when they made a fight of it.
One particular tour had a collection of European (communist) civilians. The tour guide, a North Korean, saw me and with a hand gesture, traced outward from his nose, the shape of a huge imaginary nose. He mocked me, showing the large gathering that I had a big nose.
The crowd laughed at this.
Now, I do look a little like Ringo Starr, I admit. But I consider myself a handsome fellow. None of the women I’ve ever known have complained.
I needed a way to get back at that North Korean bastard. A thought hit me.
With the hostile crowd watching, and jeering, I got their attention. I pointed to my crotch, and smiling, outlined with my finger in an outward motion, the huge shape of an imaginary giant penis. I made the fictional point that everything on me was big.
The crowd went wild. They loved it. My joke got much greater laughter than the North Korean’s did. And boy, was he a sore loser. His face turned beet red. He was enraged. You see, I caused him to lose face in front of his own crowd.
I one-upped him, a really serious affront to a macho Asian. He kicked the jack boot he wore in my direction, indicating what he’d like to do to me if and when he got the chance.
In the war of words, and in the war of shells, at least this time, freedom had won a round.
You can read more of these stories in my book “Freedom Pagoda,” for sale at Amazon.com and Target Store.