Thursday, June 17, 2010
Anti-American Art: The Fiery Furnace
This stamp was issued by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) to mark the intended 1965 African-Asian solidarity conference to be held in Algiers, on the anniversary of the 1955 Bandung conference. The conference collapsed.
The stamp appears to show a group of Korean workers hurling bits of flotsam labelled "USA" into an industrial fire, presumably to reforge jeep parts into plowshares or somesuch. In the background is a more properly industrial Korean worker, and dimly in the upper right hand corner seems to be a map of Korea breaking out of chains. When tensions between South and North Korea escalated in 1994, a North Korean government spokesperson said, "Seoul is not far from here, If there is a war, it will
become a sea of fire." I wonder if this is what they meant.
The 1965 summit failed to materialize in part because of competing Sino-Soviet tensions as well as the rightward drift of the so-called Nonaligned movement.