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Strange things happen in NK

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By Tong Kim

Last Wednesday, Oct. 16, North Korea released a picture of its leader Kim Jong-un riding a white horse on the snow-covered top of Mount Paektu. The news agency reported that on horseback, Chairman Kim renewed his determination to build "a powerful and prosperous country against all headwinds" overcoming the "difficulties and hardships from sanctions and pressure from the hostile forces."

According to Pyongyang's storyline, his grandfather Kim Il-sung was riding a white horse, commanding "revolutionary guerrilla warfare against Japanese colonialists," using Korea's highest mountain as his military base. The North's second ruler, Kim Jong-il, is said to have been born on the slope of the same mountain. Thus, began the legend of "Paektu bloodline" for the Kim dynasty.

Average North Koreans may not believe this fairytale-like legend, but they do not publicly question its veracity. The symbolism of the legend serves to consolidate the support and unity of the people for their leader. There may be the legacies of superstitious shamanic mysticism from old Korean culture still lingering in the minds of the people.

Another strange story, on Oct. 15,........

© The Korea Times