søndag 26. april 2020

How North Korea's ideology is built on song and dance

"So dear to all our hearts is our General's glorious name; our own beloved Kim Il Sung of undying fame," go the lyrics to one of North Korea's best-known songs, "Song of General Kim Il Sung," which honors the country's founding ruler and eternal president. "Tell blizzards that rage in the wild Manchurian plains," it continues. "Tell, you nights in forests deep where the silence reigns."

It's a triumphant marching song that ethnomusicologist Keith Howard has heard countless times since he first visited North Korea in 1992. Universally known across the country, it is played on news broadcasts and sung by schoolchildren. Howard even saw the lyrics etched onto rocks along mountain paths in order to inspire walkers. "It really sets out who Kim Il Sung is, and celebrates him as the person who fought the Japanese single-handedly and then got rid of them -- which is the authorized picture of what happened," said Howard, a professor at London's School of Oriental and African Studies, in a phone interview.