Bitter Tears For The Dear Leader

Posted: December 19, 2011 in economics, politics

We in the west assume that all these tears being wept for Kim Jong Il must be of the crocodile variety, empty propaganda or fake tears being shed for fear of imprisonment or deportation to some snowbound labour camp where the chief of the labours are simply to stay alive. However, there may be genuine feeling behind the tears being shed today. 
When any dictator or tyrant dies there are always public outpourings of emotion, we privileged, demand economy First World residents couldn’t understand. We are able to publicly criticise our leaders, point out their faults and failings and get rid of them when they’re past their usefulness. In totalitarian states the population don’t get that luxury. If they have the feeling that their Supreme Leader is somehow faulty there is no way for them to share these opinions and, separate from others, they cannot know that they are not alone. Like children kept under the strict control of a domineering parent or religion, free thought is atrophied and a naive credulity often takes its place.
So, the tears may in fact be real, as when Stalin died there were genuine tears of grief, certainly, but, after having been kept with their faces under a jackboot for so long there are other reasons to cry. The patriarch instills his cult so thoroughly that the uncertainty and doubt that come with the vacuum of such a personality’s absence throws the nation into a miasma of fear, mistrust and anxiety. In a Stalinist monarchy such as North Korea one can imagine the transfer of power to be relatively transparent: The names remain the same, simply transpose an Il for an Un and carry on as normal. In other counties the death of a similar leader would naturally result in a civil war. And as you can see in the civil wars that have existed in Somalia,The Congo and Rwanda those wars are filthier, more violent, sadistic and brutal than national wars seem to be.
That fear, terror no less is exactly what the leaders, while alive, want. As a part of their warped, megalomaniac hegemonic process the seek to terrify their minions into blind obedience through the implicit threat of what will be the result if any action is taken to depose them: They are the capo dei capi because they are ordained by their singular ability to control their nation state. The fact that these are failing states is often used to their advantage as opposed to their detriment as one might suppose. Kim Jong Il inculcated his people to believe that their unremitting hunger, forced voluntary labour and lack of resources and energy was a consequence of the constant siege that was being waged defending North Korea from the south, and most importantly the United States. Should people ever question why the food that was provided to them came in sacks marked with Old Glory the truth, that the country was kept from complete collapse by the supply of international aid, they were told it was a quaking States’ tribute paid to Il to appease him and stay his hand from delivering his final masterstroke against the decadent west.
Now that power is gone and the stability that came with the Dear Leader is gone so the future without him is a very scary place. We all fear the unknown but in North Korea the unknown of the future is virtually unknowable, making it scarier yet.
So don’t suppose that those tears are anything less than genuine, just don’t think that they are for Kim Jong Il. They’re not, they’re tears of fear, paranoia and for a future which had always been prescribed but now leads only to an uncertain fate

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