December 07, 2023

No Motherland Without Him? – The Statues of Kim Jong-il

Statues of any national leader are usually only built many years after their death and symbolize a specific period in a nation's history. The statue of Lincoln in Washington or Churchill outside Westminster are typical examples of this. However, in North Korea, statues of the leaders have taken on a different purpose and meaning. They have become everyday reminders of the eternal rule of the Kim family, the eternal President and his son forever standing over the people, forced to worship before them.

During his lifetime Kim Jong-il decreed that no statues of his likeness were to be built. In a Associated Press report from February this Kim Jong-il told officials in 1999 that he wasn't ready to accept such adulation according to excerpts from a speech published just after his death.