Come Into Our Tender Embrace

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Across the road from the Eternal Life Monument is a duo of murals commonly found throughout North Korea and, in fact, the only murals that I have seen in multiple locations, including in Pyongyang and at Mt Myohyang in addition to this one in Sinuiju. The slogans on these murals are in keeping with the Eternal Life Monument and read “The great comrade Kim Il-sung will be with us forever” and “The great comrade Kim Jong-il will be with us forever”.

Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang, which has a virtual (if not real) monopoly on the production of statues, mosaics and murals of the leaders and, in fact, anything else featuring their images including the ubiquitous lapel pins worn by all adult North Koreans must have a raft of designers to be able to come up with an ever ending stream of new designs and pictures for this artwork.

One has to admit that the pastel colours and highly emphasised smiles on the leaders in these murals create a feeling of warmth and comfort in people looking at them. Who wouldn’t want to be under the wings and loving care of these omnipresent, wise, benevolent and endearing gentlemen?

The cult of personality, unparalleled by any other world leader or indeed person, remains very much alive and well in North Korea, even 20 years after the death of Kim Il-sung and, of course, murals such as this are aimed at cementing loyalty to the Kim dynasty into the future.

The vehicle in the foreground of this picture was our transport in Sinuiju, remembering that in addition to two of us and the driver, room was needed for our two guides as well.

By this stage it was getting on to mid morning and our attention now turned to a more recent generation of North Koreans – our next stop was a school, but off course no ordinary school.


This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on my trip to Sinuiju, North Korea. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Sinuiju School Visit – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – In North Korea – On the Border with China.


 

Amnokgang Hotel: “Clean and Comfortable”

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Until mid 2013 Sinuiju was off limits to western tourists and those who exited North Korea by train only stopped in the train station for customs and immigration formalities which took place on the train, as they still do for those proceeding into China. Visitors from China could only enter on a day trip with no overnight options.

Since mid 2013 it has been possible to stop-over in Sinuiju. At present there is only one hotel at which foreign visitors can stay – the Amnokgang Hotel. Continue reading “Amnokgang Hotel: “Clean and Comfortable””

International Friendship Exhibition

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Throughout our tour in North Korea our guides went to great lengths to extol the virtues and wholesomeness of North Korea and its Leaders and took great pride in the fact that it and its people are pure, clean and devoid of negative outside influences. Our guide told us of how the State makes every effort to protect itself and its citizens from everything bad and wicked. This, of course or at least for the domestic audience, explains why North Korea isolates itself from the outside world rather than the outside world isolating itself from North Korea. Continue reading “International Friendship Exhibition”

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – Meet the Leaders

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Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

Where does one begin?

Today was the day when shirts and ties were required for men with appropriately modest attire required for the ladies. We were headed for the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, final resting place for both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Both leaders have been embalmed and lie in state for loyal subjects and tourists to visit. Clearly this is a site of very great importance to the North Korean people and one, quite reasonably, requiring a level of reverence and discretion from all those who visit. Continue reading “Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – Meet the Leaders”

Tower of Immortality

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Tower of Immortality

Kim Il-sung died in 1994 but the North Korean Constitution states that he is and will remain forever the president of the DPRK. My review – Eternal Life for the Eternal President – covers Yeong Saeng ( Eternal Life) monuments throughout North Korea. These monuments, all similar, imbue the citizens of North Korea to remember that Kim Il-sung will be with them for ever.

This, the Tower of Immortality built at the entrance of Kumsong Street in 1997, does pretty much the same thing and bears a legend reassuring the people that The Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-sung and the Dear Leader Comrade Kim Jong-il (subsequently added of course) will always be with them. Continue reading “Tower of Immortality”