News of Kim Jong-un’s death and Lazarean resurrection appear to be greatly exaggerated – on both accounts.
Life as the deified leader of a three-generation personality cult can’t be easy and neither, it seems, is death. Vanishing in April of 2020, sightings of Kim Jong-un are met with about as much credibility as photographs of the Loch Ness Monster.
After months of speculation, North Korean experts are now (mostly) certain that the Hermit Kingdom is on the verge of switching shells. All the world can do is wait to see which personality emerges. There aren’t many contenders within the bloodline. Most are toddlers, some have already been poisoned, and one is far too much of a hippy to lead a totalitarian regime.
In a coup for feminism, the most likely successor is a woman – Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong.
What’s not to like? She’s a thirty-two(ish?) working mother holding a position of supreme power at the Propaganda and Agitation Department – which is what Google would look like if you painted it red and gave it a military. Nothing is whispered inside North Korea unless Kim Yo-jong ‘likes’ it first. Dissenters from the virtuous monologue are not merely shadow-banned, they’re cancelled three hereditary layers deep with their children’s children sent to labour camps where they continue to be productive members of society.
North Korea might sound like a Wokeratti dream, purified and safe from heretical thought, but it commits one cardinal sin; it’s a patriarchy. Worse than that, it is Confucian where masculinity is elevated and the glass ceiling for a woman’s employment opportunity is proportional to the rank of influential male relatives. Unless born into political privilege, women keep house, make male socialist heirs, and slave in the working class.
Will North Korea’s obsession with racial blood purity outrank misogyny? Probably. Kim Yo-jong has been the power in the shadows for a long time. Not only is she the granddaughter of god-ruler Kim Il Sung, her father-in-law is party royalty, Choe Ryong Hae.
Peace in this region is a domino balanced on the 38th parallel, quivering between the winds of civilisation. It is a proxy armistice and relic of the Cold War. A new leader risks unravelling the fragile political mess.
The Korean peninsula spent its infancy colonised by ancient Japanese and Chinese only to endure thousands of years having its preferred pronouns changed by imperial campaigns between the warring empires. In 1910, Japan took full possession before promptly losing the Second World War. Korea was severed along the 38th parallel with the US governing the South and the USSR in the North. Split personality disorder was never a long-term plan, but unification means picking a winner to the destruction of the other.
Despite being Allied Powers, the USA and USSR have created a microcosm for the greater political struggle – Democratic Capitalism versus Communism – ideologies that consume each other. The South had problems but engaged in a steady campaign of progress through trade and manufacturing, taking it from rags to riches in a single generation. The North was adopted as a puppet empire, administered by Stalin’s Russia and radicalised by Mao’s China. The collapse of the Soviet Union put North Korea’s parents through a trial separation, and on the eve of Mao’s cultural revolution, China accused a bickering North Korea of being Trotsky’s illegitimate brat rather than a true Communist nation.
That ‘brat’ went on to become the cursed kid from The Grudge.
The usual Communist power trip went the extra mile into a dystopia that would make Orwell blush. Perhaps they can be forgiven, they are a young nation with their calendar re-set to the Eternal President’s birth in 1912. That puts them a couple of thousand years behind. What were your ancestors doing then? Probably embarking on a Viking raid.
North Korea has had, ‘The Great Leader’, ‘The Dear Leader’, and ‘The Dead Leader’. Is it time for, ‘The Feminist Leader’?
Kim Yo-jong is a powerful woman. I’m sure her removal from Politburo in April 2020 and reinstatement shortly after Kim Jong-un’s first recorded death is a coincidence. Her rumoured close ties to China and rejection of the American influence her brother was courting, are not of note.
Feminists have to take victories where they can and the ascension of a racially supremacist, god-empress that even Xi Jinping thinks took Communism a bit too far, counts as a win in a country where even your human traffic lights are spying on you.
Yes, some of those are women too.
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