I often find myself inspired to blog about North Korea whenever a major Western holiday rolls around. That’s because at those particular points, the contrast between our system of beliefs and that of the subjugated residents of North Korea seems to resonate even more bizarrely than usual.
Tomorrow is of course Father’s Day. But imagine if you had been brainwashed to worship an outside patriarchy more fervently than your own flesh and blood, morning, noon, and night. That’s the case with those living under the shadow of the grandpa-father-son dynasty of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un.
But as a sign of just how bad things have become in post-December 2009 currency reformed North Korea, an increasing number of reports from defectors and other inside-the-country sources point to cracks in the Fatherland armor. Kim Il Sung is safe from such scandalous, highly punishable impulses. However, residents are now more vocally expressing their dissatisfaction with Kim Jong-il and staying dismissively neutral (for the most part) about Kim Jong-un. This is partly because the youngest Kim hasn’t done much so far that can be criticized one way or the other.
The Dear Leader has been banking for years now on being able to pull off the promise of a strong and prosperous nation by 2012, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung. In a land already governed by 365 and a half yearly Father’s Days, next year, impossibly, the stakes have been raised even higher.
Kim Jong-il‘s latest China trip was better than nothing, allowing him to solidify some economic partnerships with his closest ally. But if North Korea‘s patriarchal platform is to be maintained, the country’s current non-tie wearing “World’s Best Dad” is going to have to pull off a couple of miracles in the next few months.
[Illustration (used with permission) by Ed Hall]