What is North Korea hiding

North KoreaPraise be to Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un parades across the screen to the praise of a North Korean ensemble. In ever new scenes, North Korea's national television broadcaster presents a state leader who is pensive and serious, smiling benevolently or even holding court with mischief in his eyes. The 36-year-old takes a bath in the crowd on the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il-sung, which has been declared a national holiday. Then the "Great Successor", all in white, with his hands clasped behind his back, oversees an agricultural project that obviously finds his favor. In yet another scene, the dictator is sitting on the plane and pointing a pointer at the map in front of him. Two followers, armed with a notepad and pen, listen to Kim Jong-uns' remarks with a glued-on smile.

While one shot of the Führer moves across the screen, the newscaster of the propaganda station reads her text stoically from the sheet without looking up. This will go on for ten minutes that will never end. Not even the series of photos that accompanied Kim Jong-un on horseback on the way to the holy mountain Paektu, brought the television announcer out of composure.

The current ruler of North Korea travels frequently to "Paektu-San", the Paektu mountain on the Chinese border. As his father and grandfather did before him, Kim Jong-un expresses his will to make important political decisions. He also goes to the Paektu to mythically underpin and glorify the rule of the Kim family once more.

David A. Mason, professor of tourism with a focus on culture and religion at Sejong University in Seoul, says: "North Korea claims that state founder Kim Il Sun fought as a communist partisan on this mountain. He lived in secret camps and attacks from there against the Japanese. The Japanese army suffered great losses because of him. But all of this is a lie, none of it is true! "

The "holy mountain" Paektu is considered by North and South Koreans to be the founding site of the Korean people, emphasizes David A. Mason.

A pinch of religion

After the partition of Korea, the communist regime expanded this founding myth to add a pinch of religion to the "Korean Democratic People's Republic" under the aegis of Kim Il-sung. The citizens of North Korea, who grew up with the ethical norms of Confucianism, were used to a strict hierarchy. The virtuous relationships between spouses, father and son, and, first of all, between rulers and subjects, governed daily life from an early age. The North Korean Workers' Party took over, with a mythically inflated leader holding the reins of it all.

The previous leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il and the reigning Kim Jong-un are also attributed with supernatural abilities: miraculous healings, outstanding victories over enemies of all stripes, the ability to take on a different, cosmic form lead to the performance For the Kims, the sun had entered the lives of the citizens. A huge golden ball, which through its light only makes the other small celestial bodies shine all around. The leadership of the former Soviet Union was not entirely innocent of this legitimation of the all-embracing power of the Kims, says David A. Mason:

"When the Soviet troops invaded Korea towards the end of World War II, they named Kim Il-sung the leader of the Koreans and created the myth that he fought the Japanese on Mount Paektu. It is also said that his son Kim Jong- Il, who would later become the second dictator of North Korea, was born there while his father was involved in the fight against the Japanese. A hidden hut is said to have existed on the mountain at the time, but in truth it was not built secretly until later the shrine many North Koreans like to visit today. It is said that the birds sang praises in this sacred place and animals bowed in front of the hut after Kim Jong-il was born there. This is all fictional, but part of the Mythology. It is said that Kim Jong-Il is descended from Mount Paektu and that he has the spirit of the mountain in him, as his father did heroic deeds there. Kim Jong-un, the new e dictator, is said to have inherited the skills and strengths of his ancestors. Young Kim makes full use of it. So he is now considered to be the third person to be imbued with the power and spirit of the great volcano. "

Confucian teaching

In Confucian doctrine, the relationships within the family are clearly defined by a strict but benevolent system. The younger one respects the older one, the son, for example, especially his father, and no less, his uncle. Kim Jong-un, on the other hand, had his father's brother executed in December 2013 for allegedly committing "counter-revolutionary crimes". The historian Leonid Petrov of the Australian National University in Canberra:

"The fact that Kim Jong-un had his uncle executed is incompatible with the principles of Confucianism. The doctrine prescribes fair and caring conduct for the ruler. A ruthless leader loses the 'mandate of heaven', the right to rule. "

Religion is nothing but superstition, North Korean teachers pray for the children from school books, which are peppered with quotes from the state leader Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994.

It says: "History has shown us that religion has long been abused by the respective ruling class in order to deceive citizens, in order to exploit and suppress them. The imperialists have also discovered this for themselves and abuse religion as an ideological weapon that they direct against allegedly "backward peoples". "

The Americans, it is rumored to this day, came with their Bibles, under which they hid heavy ideological artillery. They were, too, Kim the First noted in the school books that started the Korean War at the time.

Hate in the math book

Arithmetic primers for the first grade pack the hatred of the Americans into basic mathematical problems.

"Three soldiers of the Korean People's Army killed thirty American soldiers. How many American soldiers would each Korean soldier kill if they all killed the same number of enemy soldiers?"

This corresponds to the songs that North Korean children are taught in music lessons. In addition to the odes of the Kim dynasty, anti-American tunes are also rehearsed. One such stanza is:

Our enemies are the American bastards
who want to usurp our beautiful country.
With guns that I build with my own hands
I want to shoot her. Piff, puff, puff.

Religion does not play a role in school lessons, unless it concerns the godlike glorification of the Führer dynasty, which definitely has religious traits, says the religious scholar Byong-Ro An. In addition to elements from Confucianism, shamanistic borrowings can also be clearly recognized. Byong-Ro An:

"There is, for example, the structure of thought that supernatural forces connect us with the cosmos. And from this derives, among other things, the thought that man is actually just a leaf in the wind, a note in the score of the earth. But there is also also a few chosen ones who have special abilities, whose spiritual power, their commitment, is worthy of admiration. Kim Il sung is revered in this sense to this day. His son Kim Jong-Il and his grandson Kim Jong-un have this myth Inherited, so to speak. I would like to paraphrase this with the religious-scientific term "religious psyche": In shamanism, the general religious psyche of a Korean is revealed. "

Complete dedication is expected

In order to fully exploit life, man should devote himself to an ideal, a cause, with all his might. It is therefore no coincidence that this shamanistic claim is found in the construct of Juche, as the North Korean personality cult is often called. Just like his two predecessors, Kim Jong-un adheres to this recipe: He never misses an opportunity to demonstrate to his subjects that he is doing his job with complete dedication.

The stoic news anchor has now reached the sequence "Kim-Jong-un-as-a-young-father-of-his-people".

During her seven-minute lecture, she has still not looked up from her text. When she puts down a sheet of paper and picks up her next original, the paper rustles.

You can see how Kim Jong-un signs a history volume for the inauguration of a small school in the province, the front of which is provided with his likeness. The school staff and pupils in their uniform blue uniforms watch from a suitable distance as their head of state immortalizes himself in this work. His features are inspired by a fatherly smile that makes the young dictator at least ten years older and - one hardly dares to pronounce it - appear exceptionally amiable.

One song says:

Our father, our guide.
We lack nothing in this world.
Our house is under the protection of the Labor Party. We are all brothers and sisters.
Even if a conflagration rolls towards us
good children need not fear.
Our father is with us.
We lack nothing in the world.

Leonid Petrov "You can say that the so-called 'Juche system' is the religion of North Korea. The pillars of Juche are independence and self-reliance. And the importance of the human being, who is seen as the center of the universe, is particularly emphasized. That is the essence des Juche.

However, that a human life in North Korea is not worth much in practice is impressively testified again and again by North Koreans who managed to flee to the south. Many of them have fled because of famine, restrictions on freedom of information and movement, and constant surveillance. Still others were tortured in North Korea, discriminated against because of physical disabilities, or feared for their lives because their Christian faith meant more to them than worshiping their leader.

Dangerous escape to South Korea

Ji Seong Ho and Kim Kon Un dared the dangerous escape to South Korea and have not regretted this decision to this day.

Ji Seon Ho says: "All religions are suppressed in North Korea. I had already tried to flee to China, where I had contact with Christians. But I was picked up there after a few weeks. I was deported to North Korea again Tortured so brutally that I almost died from it. Then I finally realized that I had to make a second attempt to escape because life in North Korea is inhuman. In North Korea we have only one religion, only one God: Juche and our leaders the Kim family. "

Kim Kon Un says: "I never want to go back north! I keep thinking about the boy next door, who died of malnutrition during a famine. I was just lucky that it didn't hit me! To North Korea going back would be digging my own grave.

One of the people who also made it to freedom is the missionary Kenneth Bae. In 2014, the US citizen, who was born in South Korea, was allowed to leave North Korea after a long diplomatic tug of war. The evangelical Christian had regularly organized tours from China to North Korea and inadvertently carried a hard drive containing missionary strategies. Kenneth Bae was held for 735 days. He spent most of the time in labor camps. Kenneth Bae relates:

"During one of my stays in North Korea I encouraged some people to pray. Then I was accused of wanting to overthrow the government. I asked how that should be possible - just by worshiping God and praying ?! Answer was: First we have one Christian, then one hundred and then ten thousand Christians. We are not afraid of American nuclear weapons. But when missionaries come and spread their faith, people lose trust in the government and the leader.

Myth of Power

Before the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, there were around 200,000 Christians in Korea. In South Korea there are around 14 million today, almost a third of the population, in North Korea their number is said to be just 13,000. Most of them are organized in house churches. The North Koreans who fled to South Korea do not confirm that there are underground communities. It is also unlikely that such communities could exist under constant surveillance by the state apparatus and neighbors. Kenneth Bae:

"There is one Catholic and two Protestant churches in Pyongyang. There are also a few smaller Buddhist temples. The aim is to give the impression that there is freedom of belief in North Korea."

It is not known to what extent North Korean Christians are being instrumentalized by the state, whether they are reminiscent of the ancestors Kim Jong-uns, who were considered pious Christians, or whether dictator Kim simply wants to fool the West with their presence. However, there is evidence that Kim Jong-un is serious when it comes to upholding the only valid religion in North Korea, namely the myth that keeps him in power.

So nothing new can be expected from him in the near or distant future, says Leonid Petrov. Even after Kim Jong-uns next ride to holy Paektu, the spokeswoman for the national television station will hardly read out the groundbreaking report that God is planning to leave Kim's holy throne. Leonid Petrov:

"Contrary to popular rumors, Kim Jong-un is nowhere near as popular as his father or even his grandfather. Mainly because he is too young for that - age and experience are very important in Confucianism, so a 36- In addition, Kim Jong-un has never served in the army. And his economic knowledge leaves a lot to be desired. In the end, the only thing that speaks for him is: He is the grandson of the North Korean founding father Kim Il-sung and in royal blood flows, as it were, in his veins. "