The Korean Succession: Late Great Leader portrayed as dunce who got low Marx: Andrew Higgins learns that Kim Il Sung's old professor of Communism didn't rate him too highly on theory
Monday 11 July 1994
Mr Park, 83, heard the news at dawn on Saturday when a philosphy professor telephoned from the South Korean capital of Seoul. 'It is sad when anyone dies but I am not weeping for him.' Nor is he cheering for Kim Jong Il, the late Great Leader's son and chosen successor. The focus of a personality cult second only to that of his late father, Kim Jong Il is hailed in North Korea as a 'genius of literature, art and military' and the author of 'immortal exploits for mankind.'
Mr Park has never met the younger Kim but takes a more sober view of his talents. Particularly weak, he says, is the Dear Leader's Marxism: 'He knows less than his dad.' And this is bad news for Korea as he thinks Kim Jong Il will have grave trouble holding on to power.
Speaking by telephone from Kazakhstan, where he has lived since leaving Pyongyang in 1948, Mr Park sounds more a schoolmaster than an ideological zealot: 'There are educated people in North Korea but none of them know anything about theory. If Soviet Marxism is distorted, Korean Marxism is distorted three times over.'
An ethnic Korean born in Russia's Far East, Mr Park spent two years in Pyongyang working for the Soviet generals who seized control of the north of the peninsula from Japan at the end of World War Two. Aside from giving a crash-course in Communism, he also helped ghost-write Kim Il Sung's wartime record, a project which led to a rift with Soviet military authorities and his own premature departure from Pyongyang. He says the Great Leader spent much of the war in Russia planting potatoes, not leading guerrillas in the mountains of Korea, as claimed. Also fake, he says, are Kim Il Sung's dozens of books and pamphlets: 'Many Russian authors got an Order of Lenin for writing under Brezhnev's name. It was the same in Korea.'
The truth, buried beneath layer upon layer of propaganda from both sides of the 38th parallel, may never be known. Mr Park insists that most of Kim Il Sung's exploits are a fabrication dictated by the Red Army's chief political commissar, Major- General Romanenko, who needed to create a Communist rival to Syngman Rhee, the American-installed puppet in the south.
Despite extensive contacts today with South Korea, where rigid anti-Communism is the national creed, Mr Park says he remains true to Marxist philosophy, though not always its politics. The only Marxists he admires are Marx and Mao. Marxism is not a question of faith: 'I don't believe in Marxism; I recognise it as a science.' This was something Kim Il Sung could never grasp.
Now that the Great Leader is dead, Mr Park predicts trouble ahead as the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, tries to consolidate power. But he still hopes to live long enough to make it back to Pyongyang. His dream is to give a course on philosophy at the university there.
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
- 5 Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
Turkish President: 'Equality between men and women is against nature'
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Audacious North Korean kidnap plot foiled at Paris airport as 'Asian men' attempted to bundle student onto plane
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby – through the stories of his accusers
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'
£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...