04/18/2013, 00.00
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Musan, a mosaic to Kim's glory collapses on the 'Day of the Sun'

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
The 5-by-8-metre mural located near the central station depicts Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. According to a local source, "it fell down because of the strong wind, since corrupt officials stole money destined for the planning and materials." This is the first time a symbol of the dictatorship collapses, and the population is now afraid of retaliation by the police.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - A mosaic celebrating the North Korean dictatorship collapsed a few hours before the start of the 'Day of the Sun' holiday, a festivity that marks the birthday of the late Kim Il-sung on 15 April. The regime's secret police, led by the grandson of the 'father of the nation', young Kim Jong-un, is investigating to determine whether a political motive is behind the collapse.

News about the incident came from a source in Musan, in the northern province of Hamkyung, and reached DailyNK, a news bulletin published by North Korean exiles in Seoul.

According to the source, anonymous for security reasons, "there is no conspiracy behind the collapse. The truth is that the mosaic (representing Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il) fell because it was built with inferior materials that did not stand up to strong winds in the area."

The 5-by-8-metre mural stood on a 4-way intersection outside Musan Station. "A lot of people saw the collapse because it was built in the town centre, so news spread quickly and immediately became a political issue. Some say that those responsible are family members of an exile, but the truth is that corrupt officials stole the money destined for the planning and construction of the mosaic."

This is the first time since the end of the Korean War (1953) that a symbol of the North Korean dictatorship collapses. In 2005, a tribute to Kim Jong-suk, a heroine in the war against the Japanese, had collapsed, resulting in the chief designer's arrest and sentence to a concentration camp. But now, the source noted, "given the fact it is our leaders who have fallen, the punishment will be much worse."

Pyongyang's ideology is based on the idolatry of its leaders and on military and economic autarky. Although reduced to quasi famine conditions, the people of the North is forced to build statues, monuments and mausoleums of various kinds to "glorify" the homeland.

Since Kim Jong-il' death in December of 2012, six new statues of the leaders (for a total cost of US$ 9.5 million) have been erected and about 400 mosaics laid at cost of US$ 32 million. By comparison, about half of the country's 22 million people live on less than a dollar day, with the national average at 3.5 dollars.

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