The Countdown is On

[In order to bring up-to-date our website readers who are not CanKor Report subscribers, we are posting the introductions of the last three issues for your information. Here follows the introduction to CanKor Report #349, the penultimate issue.  –CanKor]

CanKor LogoFollowing the announcement that CanKor is coming to an end, we received numerous heartfelt expressions of regret and congratulations. Let me share some of them with you:

“You have been selfless, brilliant, imaginative, balanced and inspirationally dogged in conceiving, launching and sustaining an important enterprise to push the North Korean rock up a steep Canadian hill.” –Paul Evans

“What you have accomplished is remarkable!  You have been pulling this sled loaded with heavy logs uphill, winter and summer, virtually alone.  Your accomplishments have been (sometimes grudgingly) recognized in officialdom, academic and church circles in Canada, by specialists abroad and that handful (which may be more than a small one) of North Koreans who enjoy your humor, profit from your insights, trust your integrity, and now and again find it convenient to communicate to a wider public through you.” –Dwain Epps

“Sad… I really wait anxiously for the CanKor. Don’t know what to say.” –Rita Bhatia

“As a wise man (well, it was Stephane Dion) told me with regard to a democratic development project I ran between Canada and China from 1992-98 ‘everything has a beginning, a middle and an end.’ I am really sorry that you never got the funding, recognition or ambassadorship you should have achieved.  But we did have some truly memorable occasions and a lot of really interesting pieces in CanKor (not least of which was your ‘Patriot’ series). So the memories and the friendship live on.” –Charles Burton

“I am just writing to say that I am sorry that CanKor is going out of business but I thoroughly understand the reasoning.” –Hazel Smith

“You made CanKor what it is.  You created the attention with your writing. You attracted others to link up with you in a network. I see no one on the horizon who can carry your bright and shining torch, alas. There may be some with the interest, but it would be extremely difficult to find one with the passion, the depth of commitment, the precious realistic insights and the broad geopolitical perspective with which you have guided CanKor. You are unique and truly irreplaceable.” –Victor Hsu

“I am sorry to hear that you are planning to stop the CanKor Service, but can fully understand that you have a deserved quieter retirement.” –Karin Janz

“A sincere Thank You for the many years and all the effort you (and Marilyn and Miranda) have put into this project – it has been important, and beneficial to many. And you should be proud and content with what has transpired over the years, never mind that the current state of affairs isn’t conducive to the financial support needed to continue it as it should be.” –Randy Ireson

“I am sad to hear that you are withdrawing from this project, although I also fully understand what a tedious task that has been. Keeping something on North Korea afloat without strong institutional and financial support is, in the long run, almost impossible. So I thank you for all the great work in the past years, and hope that the project will somehow continue.” –Rudiger Frank

“I refuse to say good bye, Erich. You’ve done great work and I congratulate you heartily. I hope you keep writing about North Korea and that our paths will cross.” –Roberta Cohen

“Yes, with the ending of CanKor, there would be a lack of easily accessible, reliable information about DPRK from a Canadian perspective. But I would like to emphasize the role that you played in the unique contribution of CanKor as an information service. You provided a perspective from one who has personally invested and committed to North Korea and finding a solution to the situation. For me, and I guess other people who are engaged in the work, CanKor is reliable not only because of its ideological objectivity but because it’s an objectivity from a particular lens of commitment.” –Bern Jagunos

“Ich lese mit Trauer, daß nun CanKor tatsächlich schon so alt ist und in Ruhestand gehen wird.  Ich hoffe sehr, daß Ihr am 27. Juli richtig groß gefeiert werdet von den Leuten, die wissen, was sie dann an Euch verloren haben, wenn Ihr nicht mehr erscheint!!” –Gerhard Köberlin

“Though you’d mentioned it in another email, I was again saddened by the thought you’d be wrapping things up in summer.  I do hope we can continue to connect in some way. The Mennonite Central Committee has been honored to be able to support your work over the course of a number of years. We’ve also been fortunate to have been able to learn from your experience in the DPRK as well as your perspectives on the DPRK. Your ‘labour of love’ has impacted many, bringing better understanding to most, I’m quite sure, on the DPRK.” –Kathy Suderman

“Say it ain’t so!!! I was very sad to read your announcement about the end of CanKor. However, I am sure your next phase will be just as fulfilling (not only to you, but to others) in as many ways, if not more. I am a huge fan of yours, as you know. And even though CanKor will no longer exist in the same form, I look forward to keeping in touch!” –Justin Rohrlich

“I wanted to say congratulations on your upcoming retirement from CanKor! I found your article about the end of CanKor quite moving. I have no doubt that many people will continue to pick your brain on the topic, but I’m glad for you that this stage of constant production is over. You deserve more freedom and less deadlines!!! I also just wanted to say congratulations on such a wonderful publication over the years! I will miss it.” –Ilene Solomon

A warm THANK YOU to all who have sent us messages of support. It is gratifying to know that CanKor has served a purpose and that it will be missed.

With best wishes,
Erich Weingartner,

One Response to “The Countdown is On”

  1. dalo2013 Says:

    Really enjoy your blog…post have been so informative and helpful. Great work!

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