- Key Obamacare official: Last two months much harder than anyone hoped
- Sen. Mike Lee: We must stop ‘the prez’ from acting like the queen
- George Bush consoles embattled Alabama kicker Cade Foster: You will be stronger
- Megachurch pastor with ties to Obama commits suicide
- WaPo to readers: Send us your ‘gun violence’ stories for Sandy Hook anniversary
- U.S. threatens Ukraine with sanctions over dispatch of riot police
- Canada doing away with door-to-door mail delivery by 2018
- NSA chief defends phone spying: ‘There is no other way’
- Hawaii Health Department head killed in plane crash
- Colorado school drops sexual harassment label on boy who kissed girl’s hand
New statue depicts N. Korea’s Kim Jong-il on horseback
Question of the Day
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Coat flying open, reins in hand, Kim Jong-il is depicted astride a galloping horse in a larger-than-life statue unveiled Tuesday as part of birthday celebrations for the late North Korean leader.
The statue is the first bronze casting of Kim, who during his lifetime shunned proposals to erect a bronze like the massive statue of his father, North Korea founder Kim Il-sung, that towers over downtown Pyongyang. Kim Jong-il, who would have turned 70 on Thursday, died of a heart attack in December.
Kim Jong-il told officials in 1999 he wasn’t ready to accept such adulation while his promise of building an affluent society in the nation of 24 million remained unfulfilled, according to excerpts from a speech published last month. During Kim’s reign, the country suffered from a famine that killed hundreds of thousands of North Koreans.
In a posthumous compromise, artisans from the Mansudae Art Studio depicted the Kims riding side by side on horseback for Pyongyang’s first public sculpture of the late leader. But artisans told the Associated Press that a towering bronze of Kim Jong-il is in the works and will take its place on Mansu Hill.
Tuesday’s widely anticipated unveiling of the 18-foot-tall statue took place amid a fervent propaganda campaign to build up the man who led the nation for 17 years as his son and successor, Kim Jong-un, takes over the country’s helm.
Kim Jong-il postage stamps, commemorative coins and gold medals have been rushed into production in the weeks before the birthday, newly dubbed “Day of the Shining Star.” Slogans have been carved on the sides of mountains in honor of his birthday, and a new song was composed in his honor.
State media has reported a series of supernatural events: mountains glowing crimson, double rainbows, a family of bears weeping by the side of a road, hundreds of shrieking magpies hovering over mourning sites.
“Having Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather portrayed as gods is important for a regime based on hereditary rule,” said Peter Beck, a Korea specialist and the Asia Foundation’s representative in Seoul. “Legitimacy comes from his forefathers. Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather may be dead, but he embodies their essence.”
“Some time ago, the Party History Institute submitted to me a suggestion that my statue be built marking my 60th birthday,” he reportedly told top Workers’ Party officials in 1999. “After going over the document, I wrote on it ‘Permission Not Granted,’ and sent it down.”
Kim Jong-il’s era included some of the country’s toughest periods, including a famine in the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of people as well as protracted tensions over the nation’s drive to build nuclear weapons. Despite a decade of warming ties with South Korea during his rule, relations with Seoul are now at their lowest point in years, and the Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war.
“I cannot have my statue set up on the excuse of my 60th birthday when I have still many important tasks to do, like those of economic construction, improving people’s standard of living and reunifying our country,” he said, according to excerpts published in the Pyongyang Times last month.
However, he left the matter of a statue to party officials, ordering them to “correctly understand” his desires and dilemma.
“So far, there has not been any example of making a giant horse-riding statue like this within two months,” he told AP. “We sculptors worked day and night to complete it, showing the loyalty of our people.”
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Washington Post to readers: Send us your gun violence stories for Sandy Hook anniversary
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow