Some surreal footage released by state television in North Korea after the death of Kim Jong-Il:
It’s hard to tell how much of this is put on, how much of it is down to real reverence for the psychotic dictator and how much of it is down to fear. My guess is its some sort of combination of the three.
We will never really understand the psychology of a nation that has been deliberately isolated from the rest of the world for 60 years, subjected to relentless brutality and repression and brainwashed through the use of constant paranoid propaganda. Life in North Korea is unimaginable, largely due to the fact that we just don’t know what goes on there. The glimpses we get through stories from refugees, rare travelers to the country and the footage released from state television tell a fractured story, and the latest images of a nation in a state of mass hypnosis do little more.
Surely many North Koreans understand how bad Kim Jong-Il was and are secretly happy he is gone. The problem is, we’ll never really know.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.