December 17 of this year marked the 10-year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, father and predecessor of North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong Un. To honor the psychopathic leader, there will be 11 days of mourning. Citizens cannot drink alcohol, laugh, or engage in leisure activities, a resident from the border city of Sinuiju told Radio Free Asia.
Grocery shopping will be banned on December 17.
What might be the punishment for violating the anti-laughing ordinance? Well, we’re talking about North Korea, after all.
“In the past many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals,” the unnamed citizen said. “They were taken away and never seen again.”
Citizens will not be able to carry out funeral rites or services or even celebrate their own birthdays if those events should occur within the mourning period.
The Kim Dynasty, like totalitarians the world over, has discovered that people can get used to anything. So while the ban on laughing might be extreme to us, it’s perfectly normal to North Koreans.
Meanwhile, the slimmed-down despot dusted off his trendy black leather trench coat Friday to wear again as he stood beneath a large red banner emblazoned with an image of his dad, who died in 2011.
North Koreans then fell silent and bowed in respect for Kim Jong Il as a midday siren blared for three minutes.
Cars, trains and ships blew their horns, the Hermit Kingdom’s flags were lowered to half-staff and people flocked to Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill to lay flowers and bow before giant statues of Kim Jong Il and his father, Kim Il Sung, who ruled for 46 years.
Kim Jong Un was also shown with hundreds of officials at a ceremony outside the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in the capital, Pyongyang.
This is more than a cult of personality. The Kims are dynastic deities who represent total control over mind, body, and soul by the state. We shouldn’t wonder when an entire nation goes into uncontrollable spasms of grief when one of their leaders dies.
This was the scene after the death of Kim Jong Un’s father.
On Friday, multiple newspapers — all tightly controlled by the government — published articles praising Kim Jong Il.
“He is, indeed, the greatest man and the great sage of the revolution all the people on this land follow with their deep affection and sincerity,” the ruling party’s Rodong Sinmun paper said in a piece.
If your newspaper, your TV stations, your radio, and your internet broadcast similar messages 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wouldn’t your reality be so skewed that you’d see Kim the same way?