World Cup: Should You Root for North Korea?

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The North Korean military's sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan has returned the Korean conflict to the global spotlight, reminding the world of the North's aggressive disposition, regionally destabilizing foreign policy, and unspeakably cruel and repressive treatment of its own citizens. This has led many to wonder if we should punish North Korea's World Cup team. But Gawker's Max Read has a different take. Read suggests we should respond to the brutality of the North Korean by cheering for the country's soccer squad. He lists 10 reasons, most along the lines of "It Will Piss Off Republicans." Here are his most convincing two:

Their presence could actually make a difference. The North Korean players are already learning about the joys of capitalism. On a trip to Europe this year, the team encountered pay toilets and told their Japan-born teammate, striker Jong Tae-se, "This is truly what capitalist society is like," which, well, fair enough. Okay, okay, one tournament may or may not change anything (and it'll change less just because most North Korean citizens aren't going to see any of it), but even the chance that it opens the DPRK up a little bit is worth a vuvuzela toot or two. This is multilateralism!

The team represents the people, not the government. Koreans around the world—even in South Korea—are rooting for the North Korean side, regardless of who's on the invisible phone. So why should it stop you?

Gawker is the latest of a handful of writers to express support for the North Korean soccer team.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.