May I suggest Cleveland instead?
A Harvard alumni group is promoting a trip to North Korea of all places.
May 1, 2006 -- HARVARD University has a bizarre idea of how to advance the education of its grads: Instruct them to bow down to North Ko rea's paranoid dictators and show proper "respect" for the Axis of Evil.
It's the ultimate in radical Stalinist chic - the Harvard Alumni Association's $636-a-night totalitarian luxury tour of a rogue nation where thousands are deliberately starved to death.
"Demonstrations of respect for the country's late leader, Kim Il Sung, and for the current leader, Kim Jong Il, are important," instructs the Harvard Alumni Association's tour memo.
"You will be expected to bow as a gesture of respect at the statue of Kim Il Sung and at his mausoleum."
Harvard even tries to pretend that bowing down to thugs is perfectly normal - explaining that it's because "North Korea, like every country, has its own unique protocols."
Well, yes, that certainly is a charming use of euphemism to cover up an ugly and unique reality - since North Korea is not "like every country."
North Korea's "protocols" feature massive human-rights abuses, deliberate famine, concentration camps, religious persecution, gas chambers, likely genocide and trafficking in women and children.
Add counterfeiting, trading in illegal arms, drug dealing, taking triplets away from their parents. I'm sure none of these will be any of the tours.
The ostensible excuse for granting visas to Americans this summer is so they can see the spectacle known as the Arirang games or the Grand Mass Gymnastic and Artistic Performance.
Walter Keats, Harvard '67, whose travel agency is helping to set up the trip, gushed to USA Today that the spectacle is like seeing "Aida" at the Great Pyramids or "Turandot" in Beijing's Forbidden City.
Never mind that the athletes are really slave labor performing under extreme duress -imagine the punishment that awaits anyone who spoils the spectacle by tripping.
This is a free country unlike North Korea. People can go anywhere they want on vacation. I as a blogger are as equally free to point out Keats and others stupidity in going to Pyongyang.
How about a trip closer to home next time? I went to Cleveland back in 1999 to participate in a Star tournament.
On that trip I stayed in a run down lodge, had limited food options for two days, only 4 other people showed up for the tournament, a fire alarm went off on Sunday and I left to go to an airport hotel where drunken people were banging on my hotel room door at 12:30 in the morning.
On second thought I suggest Pittsburgh instead.
Hat tip- Betsy's Page
Open Post- Mark My Words, Blue Star,