North Koreans have been told they have to do everything possible to protect the portraits of the Kim dynasty as the country braces for heavy rains and winds caused by Tropical Storm Khanun. The official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party of North Korea, The Rodong Sinmunhas said that the “main concern” of the people should be “ensuring the security” of the propaganda portraits of their current leader, Kim Jong-un, his father, Kim Jong-il, and his grandfather and founder of North Korea. , Kim Il-sung.
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The newspaper also urges citizens to safeguard the large number of statues, mosaics, murals and other monuments of the Kim dynasty, which has ruled North Korea since 1948.
Khanun, which made landfall on the Korean peninsula on Thursday, is expected to move north on Friday. Natural disasters can have a devastating impact in the impoverished north, where weak infrastructure and deforestation have increased vulnerability to flooding.
The tropical storm has already caused flooding and landslides in South Korea, killing one person so far and forcing more than 16,000 people to evacuate their homes in risky areas.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA has said that “all sectors and units” in the country are “carrying out a dynamic campaign to deal with abnormal and disastrous weather.” The agency adds that “warnings of strong winds, downpours and tidal waves” have been issued.
Khanun’s arrival comes two weeks after torrential rain caused flash floods and mudslides that killed at least 47 people in South Korea.
“A Theocratic State”
The order to protect Kim’s imagery is a reminder of the importance the regime places on symbolism to bolster its legitimacy. Portraits of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung adorn every home and office in the country, and people can face execution for damaging them, even by accident, according to NK News.
“Let’s not forget that North Korea among other things is a theocratic state,” says Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University, to the news portal. “These statues and portraits are not just symbols, but sacred religious symbols, icons. Every religion since time immemorial expects its followers to be willing to die, or at least to suffer, to save their sacred icons.
North Korean state media have said members of the military and the ruling party have been ordered to prepare measures to mitigate the flooding and save crops, amid reports that the storm could hit the capital Pyongyang.
Translation by Víctor Ibáñez