Who’s up for a Throwback Thursday with Kim Jong Un?
posted at 8:41 pm on April 24, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
I kid, of course. North Korea’s state-run television broadcast the never-before-seen photos on Monday during a military concert held in his honor, and they didn’t do it for all of the warm fuzzies. Scott Bixby explains at the Daily Beast:
At first glance, the photographs appear to prove that the youngest son and successor of the late Kim Jong-il has been groomed for the dictatorship since childhood, a latter-day version of the Roman Emperor Caligula, who earned his epithet (“little soldier’s boots”) after wearing military footwear as a child. The propagandist importance of these photos extends far beyond dynastic education, however. More than just an assertion by the North Korean government that Kim Jong-un has been raised since birth to replace his father as the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the photos are an example of North Korea’s “child cult,” an often ignored aspect of the North’s cultural ideology that informs nearly every aspect of its government.
As presented in B.R. Myers’ The Cleanest Race, North Korea’s cultural and political identity isn’t based on its (dubious) status as “the last bastion of Stalinism.” Rather, North Korea’s self-perception is rooted in a racist ideology of virtue and innocence, with the Korean race standing alone as the world’s “purest” race. As Myers puts it, “The Korean people are too pure blooded, and therefore too virtuous, to survive in this evil world without a great parental leader.”
This, my friends — for me at least — is not easy to watch.
And so the relentless propaganda continues as usual — as does the ceaseless saber-rattling.
North Korea has stepped up activity at its main nuclear test site, possibly preparing to carry out a fourth underground blast, South Korea said Tuesday.
The report comes just days before U.S. President Barack Obama is due to arrive in South Korea as part of a visit to several Asian countries.
“We confirm that we have spotted several activities related to the nuclear test in Punggye-ri in North Korea,” the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement. It declined to specify what the activities were, saying the information was classified.
The ministry said it had increased its military preparedness since Monday morning and was monitoring around the clock for signs of activity at the Punggye-ri site in a northeastern region of North Korea.
North Korea said last month that it wouldn’t rule “a new form of a nuclear test” to strengthen its nuclear deterrent. Experts have speculated that that could refer to the testing of a uranium bomb.