Did atheist N. Korea's leaders really say they'll "pray" for Kim Jong-il?
Why have his successors called for three minutes of prayer at the end of his official mourning period?
Born “Yuri Irsenovich Kim” in Russia, where his father was organizing a guerrilla campaign against Korea, the younger Kim did not step foot into Korea until after the end of the Second World War.
But according to North Korean legend, he was born on the peak of Mount Baekdu, the sacred volcano which is central to Korea’s creation myth.
A double rainbow appeared at his birth, and a new star shone in the firmament.
Other myths suggest that Kim shot a 38-under-par round at the inauguration of Pyongyang’s first golf course in 1994, including eleven holes in one. He also invented the hamburger, or, as the North Koreans call it, the Gogigyeopbbang, or ‘double bread with meat.’ And he was able to skip going to the bathroom; one government website briefly claimed that he had no need to urinate or defecate.
The same propaganda machine is already molding Kim Jong-un, his 29-year-old successor, into a version of his grandfather, always showing him in a Mao suit, with his hair swept back and a grave expression on his face. While the myths about the Kim family appear ludicrous to the West, they sustain a population who many predicted
would have balked at their totalitarian rule decades ago.
Little is known about the new leader. “The young man tipped to be North Korea’s next leader and propel the Kim dynasty into a third generation is even more of an enigma than his mercurial father,” reported Agence France Presse:
Kim Jong-Un’s life is shrouded in mystery, but in recent years he has been pushed to the forefront as his father apparently speeded up plans for the nation’s second dynastic succession, after suffering a stroke in August 2008. In September 2010 the son was made a four-star general and given senior ruling party posts, despite his lack of any military experience.
It was only then that state media published his first-ever adult photograph — an image of a chubby young man dressed in a dark Mao-type suit sitting in a line-up of top communist party officials.Rob Kerby