30 September, 2011

Constructing a God

How does one turn a nobody into a God?

It is a telling sign of who is the rising star in North Korea: state-run television showing octogenarian party secretaries bowing to a man their grandchildren’s age before accepting the smiling young man’s handshake or kowtowing to his instructions.
When Kim Jong-un, thought to be in his late 20s, emerged from obscurity a year ago this past week as a four-star general and vice chairman of the Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission, the first thing the outside world noticed was the obesity he appeared to have inherited from his father and his grandfather, the late North Korean founder Kim Il-sung. (Some South Korean news media outlets speculate that he may have undergone plastic surgery to more closely resemble his grandfather, a godlike figure among North Koreans.)
A year on, it appears increasingly clear that the regime is helping Kim Jong-un inherit a personality cult of his own. On state TV, he is packaged to look like his grandfather: Mao suit, swept-back hair and the gravitas North Koreans associate with the “Great Leader,” who died in 1994. Less clear is whether the ruthless cunning that has intimidated generals and party elders is his or his father’s. Key to the political dynamics surrounding the succession in Pyongyang, analysts say, is whether Kim Jong-il can live long enough to provide his son with whatever assistance he may need to settle into power.
I suppose it's a little easier when you are taking over the family business.

A Year On, North Korea’s ‘Dear Young General’ Has Made His Mark - NYTimes.com:

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