Bears weep for Kim Jong-il as North Korea marks his birthday

Great Successor Kim Jong-un leads tributes to Dear Leader who would have been 70 today

LAST UPDATED AT 14:07 ON Thu 16 Feb 2012

HE MAY be dead but that has not stopped the people, and wildlife, of North Korea from celebrating the 70th birthday of their Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il, who died of a heart attack in December.

The occasion has been dubbed the "Day of the Shining Star", and Kim's son, the Great Successor Kim Jong-un, led the tributes. He and other dignitaries paraded before a giant portrait of the Dear Leader in Pyonyang and paid their respects. There were also fireworks and military displays in the city's Kim Il-sung square and thousands of mourners laid flowers, although it was reported that many of them were plastic. State TV ran music, tributes and documentaries about Kim Jong-il.

Earlier a giant bronze statue of the Dear Leader and his father Kim Il-sung on horseback was unveiled in Pyongyang.

But that was not all. "Events on Wednesday included an international skating show and synchronised swimming," reported The Guardian. "Both opened with mournful odes to Kim Jong-il and ended with a new song for his son: “We Will Defend General Kim Jong-un at the Risk of Our Lives."

Nature also marked the event. "Magpies hover over significant landmarks, cawing out their appalling cries of lament. Mighty mountains have spent days shrouded in a mysterious blood-red aura. Bears have been spotted weeping," revealed The Times.

Last year, when he was still alive, trees bloomed early and there were solar flares to mark the occasion.

Special coins have also been minted, which bear the slogan "The Great Leader Comrade Kim Jong-il Will Always Be Alive." And a new medal, the Order of Kim Jong-il, has been awarded to 132 people, including his widow, for services to the "thriving socialist nation" and its defence. The deceased leader has also been awarded the adulatory title "Generalissimo".

As The Daily Telegraph notes: "The lavish scale of the birthday proceedings invariably conflicted with the current situation in North Korea, home to a crumbling economy blighted by shortages of power and raw materials." · 

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