Kim Jong Il’s death in North Korea will inevitably shift the focus of Western disdain to his son and president “elect”, Kim Jong Un. Here in the West, his PR will very soon become as colourfully sneering as that enjoyed by his dead father.
Through no fault of ours, we have never really understood either the dead dictator or his people but, the North Korean cult of uber hero-worship appears to be so infused into Korean Society as to look totally genuine.
To us, Kim Jong with his bouffant hair and pigeon posture was a comedy figure but to his people, he was a god. Did EVERYONE really love and revere him? Was he REALLY, like the Catholic Pope Ratz – an infallible near-deity?
We may well have mocked the small man with the big ego whose pronouncements were sacrosanct – but was he really any different to the Man from the Vatican with his pointy hat, red slippers and gold dresses? Was he any more ridiculous or ridiculed? Was he any less dangerous?
At least he didn’t claim to have a hotline to God or to perform miracles or accept the ramblings of the feeble-minded who believed that by simply being touched , they had been cured.
We would argue that you cannot fool ALL of the people ALL of the time but the fact remains that we do all need our heroes and the North Koreans’ hero was their leader.
Some may say that he was a “manufactured” hero – but doesn’t that apply to MOST heroes? Our own heroes are sportspeople and singers – in fact anyone who can have the word “celebrity” appended – no matter how tentatively.
Kim Jong was a political and spiritual celebrity. He gave his people focus.
OK, so he had bought into his own image and had travelled the well-worn celebrity route of believing his own publicity but so what?
Was the publicity of his making?
The sad fact is that he presided over a beaten-down, brainwashed nation where dissent results in Stalinist-type reprisals. The Gulag Culture is alive and well.
Perhaps the comparison with the Vatican was NOT altogether fair. After all , the Vatican does not have Nuclear weapons. North Korea is now a potentially unstable country with REAL weapons of mass destruction and the ability to deliver them. Even its neighbour China will be hoping that the North Korean Generals can return their country to comatose and malnourished stability as soon as possible.
There has always been some suspicion that Kim Jong Il’s personality cult was mere window dressing for a sinister totalitarian military administration – just as Iran’s Ahmandinejad is the fluff and window-dressing for spiritually malevolent turbaned puppet masters of his own.
Today, there was footage of North Koreans wailing in their “grief” for their lost leader. Two things were very striking – there were no real tears and every single frame contained at least two military people in uniform, apparently standing about to ensure acceptably adequate grief.
Here’s a fine example of Korean “sincero-grieving” as practiced by the Korean Central News Agency:
Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) — Leader Kim Jong Il, the great father of the Korean people, passed away too suddenly.
The DPRK is overcome with bitter sorrow at the demise of the father of the nation who had energetically worked day and night for prosperity of the socialist homeland and the happiness of people all his life.
Its army and people’s loyalty and sense of obligation to him are now growing higher than ever before.
They are resolutely rising up to change their sorrow into great strength and courage with the noble sense of moral obligation and immovable faith and will to hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem forever and glorify his feats for all ages.
The hearts of all servicepersons and people are replete with the pledge to hold in high esteem the great Kim Jong Il forever and make neither concession nor delay on the road of the Juche revolution, the Songun revolution true to his behests.
The Korean people have suffered the great loss but are decisively rising up as they have Kim Jong Un, great successor to the revolutionary cause of Juche and prominent leader of the party and the army and people of the DPRK who is standing in the van of the Korean revolution.
He is another great person produced by Korea who is identical to Kim Jong Il.
Quote Source: Korean Central News Agency: http://www.kcna.kp/goHome.do?lang=eng