Do North Koreans actually believe this crap? ("the great Kim Jong Il looked over me")

North Korean weightlifter, Om Yun Chol sets Olympic record.

From the link: “Asked how a man so small could lift a weight so big, Om credited the ‘Great Leader’ as North Korean athletes often do after great achievements. ‘How can any man possibly lift 168kg? I believe the great Kim Jong Il looked over me’.”

It’s like all those videos of people weeping on the streets following the death of the Dear [del]Playboy[/del] Leader last year - is it mass insanity or mass intimidation?

(I suspect it’s the latter given that a stay at a labour or re-education camp is the penalty for saying or doing pretty much anything that’s not officially approved. But then I have to ask - how did an entire nation learn Oscar-worthy acting skills?)

Keep in mind that his father was promoted to god-like status in North Korea and he inherited much of that position. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_korea#Personality_cult

Would you think twice if the win had been attributed to God, Allah, etc? Would you wonder if people were weeping in the streets at the death of a well loved religious figure?

The system that runs North Korea is, in fact, religious, rather than political.

I think many North Koreans would believe that and frankly you may as well say the same thing of Christians saying ‘God looked over me’. One belief is no more absurd than the other from a rationalist viewpoint.

Maybe it’s like what you and Bosda say - a religion. I guess one its defining tenets is that their religion’s hell is dispersed throughout the country, in the form of the various “re-education” and labour camps. Or maybe the country itself.

ETA: I see that aldiboronti also shares that sentiment. Still, it’s one thing to believe in a religion (and its mythic figures) when there’s a 2000 year history of the same. But it’s another to worship a contemporary political family.

It’s true that it is religious. I heard an interesting radio programme about this so no cites but the dictatorship was deliberately based on North Korean traditional religious beliefs which are patriarchal. There was lots of little details whereby the government is framed around the old traditional religion but I can’t recall any of them right now. The upshot though is that it may look very odd to an outsider but it all makes more sense to a North Korean.

The people in the radio programme were all North Korean experts and were being very polite but I definitely got the impression they were hinting that the Juche had deliberately and somewhat cynically framed the dictatorship around the religion to make it more acceptable to the masses

I actually think it makes more sense to worship a living deity. You absolutely know they exist so that is one hurdle down in the whole belief thing.

If you have been indoctrinated your whole life into the idea I don’t find it any more odd than any other religious belief. It’s far less bat shit insane than Scientology.

I have been living and working in China for the past 4 years, and most Chinese people that I talk to tell me that Mao is their hero.
Mao supposedly is responsible for the death of 35 million Chinese, but that doesn’t stop people from telling me what a great person he was.

Not unlike YHWH killing everyone on earth except one family in The Great Flood.

There are millions of people alive right now whose parents or grandparents died due to Mao. Not quite the same.

Are you saying that Mao’s actions are worse or vice versa?

Perhaps due to decades of exposure to propaganda like this.

  • For some reason the caption doesn’t appear with the linked image. It originally read: “Chairman Mao gives us a happy life.

I do believe he believes, though as pointed out fear may prompt him to say things that he does not believe. If he does believe it I would say he is more aware then many other people, because what he states I do believe is true and we all have ‘gods’, some of us in people we turn for strength, wisdom, knowledge, he is just stating his spiritual awareness of his god Kim Jong Il, or alternatively his god ‘fear’ which would be a demonic god which is forcing him to support Kim Jong Il by saying such things.

So a lot would depend on how you wish to define ‘god’, which to me can be any being that can be worshiped or turned to in times of trouble, and hence the biblical principal ‘men are gods’ (not men are mistaken for gods)

Like kanicbird said, even if he didn’t believe it, I don’t think he really has the option to go on worldwide television and not praise the glorious North Korean regime.

North Koreans who go overseas for sporting events are very carefully monitored. To speak to the media and NOT be singing the praises of the Great Leader would be suicidal and bring harm to one’s entire family.

Not to mention the acting skills required of their interviewers.

“So, Om, what happens to you if you forget to give credit to the great Kim Jong Il?”

Similarly related, the Lisa Ling trip to North [del]Carolina[/del] Korea with the team of eye doctors, who were there on a charity mission to do (as I recall) cataract surgery, and restore some vision to a number of the locals.

One by one, after the surgeries, they all praised the portrait of Kim (don’t recall which one). When one of them was asked in advance of the surgery what they most looked forward to, the translator responded that they looked forward to seeing (a portrait of) either the Great Leader or the Dear Leader.

It used to be on youtube. Maybe it still is.

A Marxist Leninist Saskatchewan farmer I knew (a friend of a friend) was talking of his visit to Cuba years ago and his regrets he did not make more of an effort to meet Castro as he did successfully with Mao when he visited China. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe (even) a Marxist would want to shake Mao’s hand. He really thought Mao was an admirable personage and my perception of him as a monster was a result of my indoctrination and acceptance of Western lies.

I guess we both made decisions about what we would believe. The difference between us is I guess that I decided long ago that no person of power should be treated as a hero, and I am critical of all leaders. He chose to designate some as saviors and idolize them.

No different than a religious conviction, it required faith and the choice to discount and reject valid questions and evidence.

-The useful idiots will always be with us, those who can not see the trouble in their own life, but prefer to blame a democratic process and praise a slave mentalitet instead…they are slaves waiting to die with a smile on the face in some Chomsky, Stakhanovite hell.

Remember that there isn’t much else to look at in North Korea. It tends to be rather drab.