Today is one day in the year when I can always feel thankful. For it is the day that 24 million people who live in the world's largest prison are required and expected to celebrate the birthday of their dead, but still constitutionally empowered, President.
|The cold soulless omnipresent photo of Kim Il Sung|
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (you need that name to top off the entire effect of this vile absurdity) has Kim Il Sung as "eternal President" as he lies in state at his immaculate marble and granite palace in Pyongyang. Koreans unfortunate enough to be on the northern side of the DMZ pay tribute to this wily murdering warmonger every day, bowing four times to his embalmed corpse. They all have this very photo in their homes, offices, schoolroom, looking down upon them all, everywhere. Yes Orwell was prescient.
The prisoners are all expected to give gifts, but in turn they also get small gifts for their children. They are, of course, expected to be grateful for they have "nothing to envy in the world" according to state media. However, whilst they get gifts for their children, they are not foolish - they now sell them on the black market because food rations are so meagre.
What is particularly tragic is that the country is so closed that most of the slaves actually like him. Why? Because he maintained such a totalitarian grip on media, publishing and in completely rewriting history (and removing those who inconveniently know the truth) that he has painted himself as a hero.
His tale is that he founded a revolutionary army in his teens and he led that army to defeat the Japanese and expel them from the Korean peninsula by 1945. The truth is that he led a small brigade in his late 20s who fought the Japanese in a few battles, but then fled to the Soviet Union. Korean was liberated from Japanese enslavement because the US defeated Japan, helped by Chinese partisans (nationalist and communist) and the latecomer Red Army at the last minute.
His tale is that he arrived in Pyongyang to crowds celebrating his return as a famous hero, when he was virtually unknown and installed by Stalin as a compliant local who would help mould Korea into a client state.
His tale is that the US invaded in 1950 and he and his army fought back the imperialist invasion, despite US use of biological weapons and heinous atrocities committed against Koreans. In fact, he invaded south Korea, brutally took over nearly the whole peninsula before the UN Security Council authorised a US led multilateral counteroffensive that would have defeated him, had Mao not gotten frightened by MacArthur's rhetoric and saved his skin. There is no credible evidence of biological weaponry being used in the Korean War, and tales of US atrocities are grossly and obscenely exaggerated (but not completely without foundation).
His tale is that he rebuilt the country into a workers' paradise whilst south Korea lived under the tutelage of US capitalist slavedrivers using south Koreans as subjects, oppressing them under a brutal military dictatorship. The south Korean people's single hearted desire being to reunify the country under Kim Il Sung's leadership. The truth is that while dictatorship DID reign in the south until 1988, and working conditions in the 50s and 60s were harsh, the dictatorship was nowhere near as pervasive as Kim Il Sung's. Living standards in south Korea soared since the Korean War, materially surpassed the north by the late 1960s and virtually no one in the south have any time for Kim Il Sung. He is widely hated in the south.
His tale is that he developed a unique special ideology, called Juche, which empowers humanity and has millions of followers and acolytes around the world, who look upon him as their leader, a genius, "peerlessly great man" and numerous other sycophantic titles. The truth is that he had academics concoct a contradictory and vague philosophy of isolationism, nationalism and pseudo-monarchical hypocrisy, which is virtually unknown in the world except for a strange handful of peculiar malcontents found in the likes of India, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Stoke on Trent.
His tale is that his people have nothing to envy in the world, that the world is full of famine, disease, exploitation, oppression, war, slavery, crime, depravity and death. The truth is that he has created a country that has lost millions from famine, imprisons people in their home towns, tells them where and when to work, denies them privacy at all levels, demands their constant unquestioning obedience, lies to them on a scale and extent that is almost incomprehensible (virtually nothing positive about the outside world is ever reported, and with the exception of a tiny elite, little is shown of foreign culture, news or major events - such as the moon landing).
His tale is that he has always worked long hours, tirelessly for the people, always giving them wise guidance and helping in all fields, and his knowledge and skills are unbounded in their brilliance and breadth. He being a modest man who demands little, but gives all. The truth is that he lived the life of a wealthy king with numerous well appointed palaces, food, drink, clothing and consumer goods from around the world, enjoyed his own "joy division" of especially selected beautiful young women to enjoy orgies that would make Berlusconi jealous, and by the mid 1960s had so ruthlessly purged any challenges to his rule that he could relax. All the time he called for his enslaved people to work ever harder, more tirelessly than before, filling up their "spare time" with activities either to defend the country, or extra-curricular activities for the monthly "celebrations" of him, his inarticulate playboy son, the party, the country, the army or Juche Meanwhile, there has never been room for anyone disabled in the workers' paradise.
So whilst Libyans fight to depose their megalomaniacal ruler (who has long been loved by the Kim gang), and others go about their daily life. Be grateful for a moment that you're not in a country led by a lying murdering corpse, where you can't leave, where you are denied the truth of his life and his rule and are told to sacrifice more every day and you have nothing to envy in the world.