Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Nail in the Wall

Here's an excerpt from a Stratfor intelligence report (, highly recommended):
Reports that portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il are being removed from public sites in North Korea continue to circulate. The removal of the official portraiture, which might have begun as early as August, could signal another shift in Pyongyang's attempts at economic and political evolution.

Even more intriguing is the prospect that the missing pictures, if true, could signal the end of plans for familial succession once Kim is no longer the leader.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited a Seoul source with "good connections" in the North as saying that North Korea is removing pictures of Kim Jong Il from public places. This follows an Itar-Tass report on Nov. 16 that, at a recent reception in North Korea, there was only a "light rectangular spot and a nail in the wall" where the portrait of Kim once hung next to the one of his father, Kim Il Sung.

If you're a Communist leader, the one phrase you never want to see in conjunction with your portrait is 'only a light rectangular spot and a nail in the wall.' There aren't enough state-manufactured aspirins in all of P’yŏngyang to get rid of that headache.

There's a fascinating book titled "The Commissar Vanishes" which is a look at governmental alteration of photographs in Stalin's Russia. After an individual was purged, he was wiped out from the photographic record, with someone else (still in favor) replacing him. The book has hundreds of photographs comparing the before and after images, and as you see them you realize that George Orwell was an optimist.

This is also very bad news for Kim Jong Il's recording career, since his first album ('King of the Ill') is being released next week. An anonymous source was able to obtain the track listing for me:
1. Bewitched, Bothered and Beheaded
2. Every Step You Take
3. Don't Let the Shun Come Down on Me
4. Chains of Love
5. Hang Ya
6. State-Sponsored Agricultural Worker's Solidarity Anthem
7. I Left My Seoul in South Korea
8. Man! I Feel Like a Sovereign!
9. That Don't Impress Me Much--Kill Him
10. Sympathy for the Devil (acoustic)
11. State-Sponsored Agricultural Worker's Solidarity Anthem (Dance Remix)

Advance sales have been described as 'light.'

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