By Graham Earnshaw, Reuters
PYONGYANG, Dec 2, Reuter – Jo Yong-hi, a 15-year-old school girl in the North Korea capital, says she loves North Korean president Kim Il-sung more than her own parents.
Such an attitude is not unusual in North Korea. It is encouraged as part of the Kim Il-sung personality cult which dominates the lives of the country’s 20 million people.
Here are excerpts from a conversation which foreign journalists had last week with Jo, an English language student:
Q: What job do you want to do in the future?
A: I want to be a teacher to teach the Korean people to become socialist builders of the revolutionary cause of the Great Leader Kim Il-sung.
Q: What do you think of Kim Il-sung?
A: The Great Leader Kim Il-sung is the father of all Korean pupils. He loves all the children best and saves nothing for himself. He pays our fees and gives us presents every year — clothes, pencils and other things we should have.
Q: Do you love Kim Il-sung more than your own parents?
A: Yes, of course. I can live apart from my parents but I cannot live without the Great Leader Kim Il-sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong-il (Kim’s son and political heir).
Q: What do you know about Europe?
A: In Europe, there are socialist countries and capitalist countries. There are many countries that follow the Great Leader Kim Il-sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong-il.
Q: What is the difference between socialist and capitalist countries?
A: The difference is that in capitalist countries, not all the people are happy and not all the people have enough food. But in socialist countries, all the people live happily together.
Q: Do you think Kim Il-sung will die?
A: I don’t think he will die. He will be alive forever. (An official spoke to her, and she added:) His spirit will live on, not like that of other people. His body can die but his political spirit will be alive forever in the world.
Q: Would you like to visit other countries?
A: I would like to go to other socialist countries which also follow the Great Leader.
Q: How would you feel if you met Kim Il-sung?
A: The happiness that I would feel I cannot express. We all see the Great Leader in the mornings. We have a portrait of him in our house so we can always meet him.
Q: Do you ever dream of Kim Il Sung?
A: Of course, I often dream about him. REUTER