ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Little Hope in North Korea

A dynastic succession is set to ensure a continuity in repression.

In a display of grandeur exhibited to impress the world, the normally reclusive state of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – better known as North Korea – feted visiting journalists and its citizens with a massive “celebration” on 9 and 10 October in Pyongyang. The occasion ostensibly was to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). But the gala event, featuring the North Korean staple of elaborate gymnastics and pyrotechnics, was held to provide the citizenry with a glimpse of the new “vice- chairman” of the military commission of the WPK, Kim Jong-Un, who also happens to be the youngest son of the ruling “dear leader” Kim Jong-Il, who himself had taken over from his father Kim Il-Sung (anointed as “eternal president” of the country after his death in 1994). The much publicised presence of the hitherto reclusive and unknown Kim Jong-Un is widely seen as a signal for his eventually succeeding the ailing Kim Jong-Il, who has ruled North Korea as the supreme leader of the central military commission for nearly two decades now.

Any nation state that sees three successive generations from a family at the helm of office – India comes close – would have been termed a monarchy. But North Korea defies definitions and there is a big gap between a reality that has nothing to do with “socialism” and what is dished out by its ruling autocratic elite. The choreographed mass exultation, emotions, and other forms of exhibitionism orchestrated by the regime on various occasions have been designed to make people momentarily forget the difficult living conditions.

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