Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Senegalese photographer's flashbacks to Africans throughout history

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Hollande photographed with Julie Gayet on Elysée Palace balcony

Read more

REVISITED

Is Beirut still haunted by ghosts of the civil war?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Band Aid 30 - Hit or Miss? Bob Geldof in Hot Water over Ebola Single

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Deal or No Deal with Iran? Home Stretch to Reach Historic Agreement

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Football scandals: The ugly side of the beautiful game

Read more

#THE 51%

Ending violence against women: The dangers of trial by Twitter

Read more

#TECH 24

Tech giants under scrutiny: The problem with Uber

Read more

FOCUS

Inside an Iranian nuclear research reactor

Read more

Asia-pacific

Symbolism and hysteria at Kim Jong-il’s state funeral

Text by Julien PEYRON

Latest update : 2011-12-28

North Korea specialist Juliette Morillot explains the ubiquitous tears and the powerful symbolism of the late Kim Jong-il’s funeral.

The highly choreographed funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il took place on Wednesday, more than ten days after the “dear leader” passed away on December 17 from "a great mental and physical strain,” according to the country's state TV.

State television broadcasted the ceremony from a snow-clad Pyongyang, devoting much of the coverage to the tearful soldiers and civilians who lined the route of the funeral cortege.

While much of the emotion may have seemed exaggerated to foreign viewers, these were not necessarily crocodile tears, according to Juliette Morillot, North Korea expert and journalist for the monthly magazine “La Revue”.

“North Korea is a closed country where state propaganda is all-pervasive,” she told FRANCE 24. “Koreans are culturally highly expressive people. They cry openly and they show their emotions. They are not at all closed when it comes to sentimental outbursts.”

Power hierarchy

Beyond the sights of collective hysteria, the funeral broadcast also offered a glimpse into North Korea’s newly established power hierarchy.

“The cortege was highly choreographed, and each official mourner was in his place around the hearse,” said Morillot.

Centre-stage and dressed in black was Kim Jong-un, the late leader’s third son who has been lauded by state media as the “great successor”.

Date created : 2011-12-28

COMMENT(S)