Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Mind Control of Modern Dictators is Scary

Like most people in the west I daresay, I'm still astonished at the intensity, the vehemence of the mourning for Kim Jong Il in North Korea. One asks if they are only doing it to avoid persecution by the secret police and are reminded of the Solzhenitsyn tale of a workforce meeting at a factory when someone proposed a vote of thanks to the Great Leader Stalin. The applause ensued for so long in the end the factory manager took a decision and sat down. Later on that day he was arrested on suspicion of disloyalty to that same great leader.

I'm sure coercion and fear play a big role but North Korean waitresses in Beijing apparently broke down in floods of tears on hearing the news. A defecting North Korean, now in South Korea on Sky News testified that 'we all hated him' and I'm sure that is true as well. Maybe the conclusion is that totalitarian dictators have a unique way of messing inside their subjects' heads. From birth north Koreans are immersed in a pressure cooker world of nationally drilled adulation which must leave some residue of genuine affection. Yet the day to day life of little food, monotonous hard work and no outlet for real emotions must make the whole population of the maverick state candidates for in depth counselling.

It was not so different with Stalin: queues of people in Moscow waiting to file past his coffin many in helpless tears. Such adulation is not the sole preserve of communist tyrants. Gadaffi's final act displayed crowds prepared to prostrate themselves in support of the 'Great Man' right up to the end. Not so different either with Bashar al Assad. My brother, who visited Syria just before the trouble started told me his highly intelligent guide talked admiringly of 'Our Leader' as if he was a colossus of integrity and benign benificence.

It's beyond belief that a man responsible for impoverishing his country and appalling hypocrisy regarding his own luxurious lifestyle(five hair stylists always on hand and a £5000 a year bill for the best cognac) could be mourned in a way which made the Dina aftermath seem hugely restrained and dignified. At such times one is grateful for our deeply cynical attitudes towards politicians not to mention our awful rottweiler press.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, Skipper old chum. Our Rottweiler press are just part of the illusion. Phil the Greek has a heart murmur and the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth from our media perform the same duty as the Korean or Stalinist media... without the overt threat of violent repression. As John Lennon sang, you "think you're so clever and classless and free, but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see."

Festive greetings comrade.
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