Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Once Every 30 Years

In a Convene Reads item about the book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea a few months ago, I wrote about a human-rights conference at which a North Korean defector named Hyuck had testified: "[M]aybe we can take some small comfort in the fact that conferences of the type that Hyuck attended ... are helping shine a light on situations like this."

But conferences don't just happen outside the impenetrable Stalinist monolith that is the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea. Today, the Workers' Party of Korea -- the country's ruling party -- convened in Pyongyang for its first meeting in 30 years, according to The New York Times, during which Kim Jong-Il was "renominated" as general secretary. One doesn't imagine there was much debate. One also wonders about the meeting planners tasked with setting up this conference, and what that RFP might have looked like.

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