The Plastic Hippo

April 15, 2013

Happy birthday Kim Il-sung

Filed under: History — theplastichippo @ 12:39 am
Image via the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea

Image via the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea

There is no evidence to suggest that Bessie Smith was complicit in placing nuclear missiles on Cuba and there are no recordings of Nikita Khrushchev singing a salacious version of You Got the Right Key, But the Wrong Keyhole in a Tennessee jazz club. If, however, horoscopes are to be believed and who can possibly doubt the exact science of astrology, then the fates of the Empress of the Blues and the cold war Soviet leader were guided by the same planetary influence as both came into the world on April 15 1894.

Other notables born on this day include Leonardo da Vinci in 1482, Henry James in 1843, Jeffrey Archer and Benjamin Zephaniah. Samuel Johnson published A Dictionary of the English Language in 1755 and the very first McDonald`s opened in Des Plaines, Illinois exactly 200 years later. But the big cause for celebration is the anniversary of the birth in 1912 of “The Great Leader”, Eternal President Kim Il-sung of the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea. Mercifully, the old crackpot popped his clogs in 1994 to be replaced by his son, Kim Jong-il. In a communist state based on absolute equality, non-hierarchical opportunity and uniformity, it is either an astonishing coincidence or celestial guidance. This crackpot lasted until 2011 and was replaced by his son, Kim Jong-un. In a communist state based on absolute equality and so on and so on. Anyway, the people of North Korea are enjoying a day off from digging air raid shelters and duping middle-aged BBC reporters pretending to be students.

Sadly, today is not just about celebrating revolutionary glory, abject poverty and another crackpot with some very dangerous toys. Madame de Pompadour died today in 1764, Abraham Lincoln died of his wounds in 1865 and in the eighties the world lost Jean-Paul Sartre, Tommy Cooper and Kenneth Williams. Perhaps less sad, Pol Pot shuffled off the mortal coil in 1998 to universal grief after a house that had been picked up by a tornado landed on him somewhere over the rainbow.

Today sees more serious and grim anniversaries. Exactly 101 years ago RMS Titanic sank with great loss of life and in 1945 the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated revealing unspeakable horror and barbarity. In 1989, on April 15, 96 people went to a football match and never came back. The lies and the cover-ups persist even after 24 years and the guilty continue to escape justice with many enjoying the benefits of generous pensions from retirement to the grave.

If anything is being buried this week, it is justice for the 96.

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