Kim Jong-il, or North Korea’s ‘Dear Leader’, passed away at the age of 69, after having ruled the country with dictatorship for the last 17 years. According to Korean resources, the cause of Kim Jong’s death is a heart attack that took place when he was on his way to a neighborhood around Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Kim Jong died on Saturday morning (8.30 AM KST), yet it was not announced until Monday — a fashionably old-world act that goes well with the country’s reclusive Stalinist regime (which, to the rest of the world’s surprise, keeps standing still in the 21st century.)
Known equally for his distinct sense of fashion — platform shoes, extra large shades and, well-fitted overcoats among the everyday ‘must’s– and his fondness for nuclear weapons, Kim Jong took over from his father, Kim Il-Sung in 1994. Both leaders are known for having built their ‘right-to-all’ type of governing around cults of personality, which deems them legitimate in all fields of life, from golf course to opera house. Given that late Kim Il-Sung is still the official president of North Korea; Kim family’s claim to fame even transcends. Translate it into the Western discourse and it’s called good PR.
‘Dear Leader’s death quickly raised the hopes for a potential North Korean reform in the Global North — the ‘dream’ of a non-totalitarian North Korea that is not so fond of it’s nuclear weapons — which, you have to admit, is pretty naive. Before Kim Jong-il’s body even got cold, it was rumored that Kim Jong-un, ‘Dear Leader’s youngest, Swiss-educated and twenty-something son was going to take his place.Jong-un, a four-striped general of the North Korean army, bears an uncanny resemblance to the beloved Kim Il-Sung.
No one, including the most respectable think tanks, can tell what the future will look like for North Korea but two things are certain: Monarchy is not dead and we will miss the snapshots of Kim Jong-il looking at things.