Monday, November 07, 2005

North Korea: The Madman's Kingdom

Peter Goodspeed's five-part series in the National Post on North Korea should be required reading for people who believe that collectivist statism is the best and purest form of government for mankind.

Part one on Saturday details the deification of the late Kim Il Sung, the long-time Communist leader who officially rules North Korea even in death as the god-like figure of a personality cult that owes far more to the ancient Eastern concept of ancestor worship than to anything in the Marxist ideology.

North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung, the "Great Leader" who died in 1994 after ruling the country with a Stalinist grip for 49 years, was officially declared its "Supreme Leader Eternal" when the constitution was revised in 1998.

Visiting foreigners usually have a strictly controlled itinerary and the first thing they must do is pay tribute to Kim Il Sung.

Ordinary tourists are taken to a giant bronze statue of the dead dictator on Mansu Hill.

The largest one-piece statue in the world, it stands 27 metres high and presents a determined Kim Il Sung sweeping an arm out toward the futuristic city he built as a propaganda showcase, with wide, tree-lined avenues, huge public squares, massive monuments and geometric concrete buildings.

Other select groups of foreigners bypass Mansu Hill and are brought to a massive grey granite palace on the edge of Pyongyang to view Kim Il Sung's embalmed corpse.


Universities and hospitals bear Kim Il Sung's name, parks are dedicated to his glorious memory. An Arch of Triumph, larger than Napoleon's in Paris, was erected in his honour in 1982.

Pyongyang's skyline is dominated by a granite torch-like tower to Kim Il Sung's homegrown juche philosophy of self-reliance. It's three times taller than the obelisk commemorating the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Rome.

Once a week, North Korea's workers and peasants attend classes to study the thoughts of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, while all day long, newspapers, radio and television bombard the public with news about the current Great Leader.

Today's segment takes us inside a state-run nursery where children are separated from their parents during the week and indoctrinated in the Kim personality cult:

Instead of nursery rhymes, the pre-schoolers sing and dance together, making identical facial expressions and movements to such tunes as Long Life and Good Health to the Leader and We Sing of His Benevolent Love.


Before a class starts, the children bow to the Great Leaders' portraits and chant "Thank You Marshall Father."

During their lessons, teachers call on students to recite facts about the Great Leaders' lives, and youngsters step forward and solemnly repeat episodes that are now part of North Korean mythology.

In sing-song voices, they tell how Kim Jong Il was born in a log cabin on the slopes of Mount Paektu, North Korea's most sacred spot, on its northern border with China, and the place where the Korean people's divine ancestor, the son of a sky god and a bear, was born. The implication is that Kim Jong Il is the reincarnation of ancient Korea's divine "bear man."


Even when they eat, the youngsters are told they depend on the Great Leader for their "happy childhood." At the end of each meal, they stand and chant in unison, "Great Leader, thank you. We ate well."

As thoroughgoing as the North Korean dictatorship is, as imposing as it tries to make itself look, it is still built on a foundation of sand.

When it can no longer hold up, it will collapse as swiftly and completely as have other tyrannical regimes before it. The people who worship the Kim family today will be stomping all over their corpses, smashing their monuments, and cursing their names tomorrow.

Sidenote: When you read the accounts of the nursery school and think about plans to create universal daycare in Canada, don't you shudder to think that some of its proponents might well like to see a North Korean-style nursery school system imposed in Canada?

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