Radical chic: Great Leader’s tomb

For those interested in the bizarre, the surreal, the macabre, the irrational, the outlandish and the inexplicable, there is a delicious story today in Australia’s The Age on the tomb of late North Korean tyrant Great Leader (Dear Leader Kim Jong Il’s pop).

It starts:

Kim Il-sung looked at me, slightly hunched forward and arms out, as though ready to reach out and embrace. Behind him, the sunlit panorama of lake, mountains, and forest of blossoming fruit trees added to the uplifting aura around him.

This was odd, seeing that Kim has been dead for nine years, and his country is now heading into another grim winter rather than any kind of spring. Nonetheless, around me a phalanx of North Koreans lined up in rows, and at the cue of their stern-faced guide, bowed deeply from the waist in unison towards the wax effigy. As expectant faces turned, The Age managed an awkward nod.

From there it only gets stranger. Conclusion:

If North Korea today presents the listless, shabby appearance of the Soviet Union briefly in the 1980s, this must be partly due to the fact it is partly still ruled by a dead man.

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