The hermit state of North Korea is in an official 11-day period of mourning following the death of the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il. His body is displayed in an open glass coffin wreathed in flowers at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, Pyongyang, where the embalmed body of his father, Kim-il Sung has been displayed since his death in 1994. The state funeral of the "Glorious General Who Descended From Heaven" just one of over 50 titles Kim was known by, will take place on Dec. 28.
According to the Telegraph
sobbing mourners are gathered at public monuments to pay their respects. From the moment of birth North Korean's are subjected to the all pervasive influence of the personality cult of the Kim dynastic leadership, brain washed into public exhortations of adoration.
Many of the displays of mourning may in fact be genuine, whilst others are simply the continuation of fear that is bred in a populace that dare not criticize its leadership. Loyalty is force-fed through permanent propaganda and a culture of spying that can lead to one wrong word spelling disappearance to a state concentration camp for all family members.
Officials in North Korea have said that no foreign dignitaries will be invited to the funeral, the Herald Sun
reported. Already the communist country is paving the way for Kim's successor, Kim Jong-um
, to fill the gap required when a nation is ruled by a personality cult. The Korean news agency is spewing out propaganda regarding the Kim's son, referring to him as "a great person born of heaven."
As the international community looks on anxiously the transition period is perceived as one of great risk. The mourners remain isolated from world events, just as the country will remain isolated if those who carry influence can retain their grip on power.