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Kim Jong-il’s 70th Birthday Celebrated in Style

Posted on the 16 February 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Kim Jong-il’s 70th birthday celebrated in style

The new statue of Kim Jong-il. Photocredit: BBC video.

Roll out the rogue state barrels, it’s Kim Jong-il’s 70th birthday! Or at least, it would have been, if the late dicator of North Korea was – well, not late anymore. He went from this earth in December 2011 (not, alas, having metamorphosed into a cockroach, as Team America would have us think.)  The celebrations are seen as a chance for the Kim family to cement its hold on North Korea, according to the BBC. The country will also be meeting the UN over its nuclear programme – the first such powwows since Kim Jong-il died.

There has been much celebration in his country; the army has also pledged its loyalty to Kim’s son, Kim Jong-un. His birthday has now been renamed “day of the shining star”. A mass military parade was held in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-il’s body is currently lying in state in the Kumsusan Palalace. A 6 metre-tall statue, made out of bronze, has been unveiled; though it is unknown whether, like that of Saparmurat Niyazov, late leader of Turkmenistan, it rotates to face the sun. He is on horseback, though, like that of his father, Kim Il-sung. And he’s got his own flower – the kimjongilia (a begonia), thousands of which were placed at the Dear Leader’s grave. AND he’s been awarded the top grade of Generalissimo. What more could a deified ex-dictator want?

What else have the North Koreans done? Oh plenty. They’ve carved a slogan into the mountainside! They’ve issued medals, coins, and stamps. They’ve composed new songs and held synchronised swimming sessions.

“Let’s dedicate our lives to protect Kim Jong Un!” troops in the plaza roared, said The Washington Post.

Time for the heir to move in? Kim Jong-un’s also had songs composed for him – and he received a standing ovation from party officials. “Having Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather portrayed as gods is important for a regime based on hereditary rule,” Peter Beck, a Korea specialist and The Asia Foundation’s representative in Seoul, South Korea, told Huffington Post. “Legitimacy comes from his forefathers. Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather may be dead, but he embodies their essence.” State media is calling for him to be legitimised as his father’s successor.

But seriously. According to The Washington Post, Kim Jong-un was there, wearing a dark Mao suit and a solemn expression. The paper also pointed out that Kim Jong-il ruled “with an iron fist” , including over “a famine in the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of people,” and “protracted tensions over the nation’s drive to build nuclear weapons.” Food is still short, whilst relations with South Korea are still tense. “But since Kim’s death two months ago, expressions of mourning and adoration have been common in Pyongyang.”

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