Upon the death of Kim Jong-il, many North Koreans surprisingly show their grief, and sincerely mourn publicly. Public display of this love of the dictator may seem illogical and irrational to millions of people around the world; yet looking at the situation from their [blinded] eyes might reveal even a little bit of the sensitivity beneath the display of national-pain. Many can say that people are forced to mourn and show that they feel the pain of losing their head of state. On the other hand, Kim Jong-il who died at the age of 69 has managed to establish his state of gulag to such a level that almost no one in the country can think different than himself.
National brainwashing has caused millions of North Koreans to perceive the entire world as enemies, even those that had close relations with N. Korea. Although he was personally responsible for starvation of an entire nation as well as starting a nuclear program that resulted in full isolation from international arena, he was still perceived as a national hero and savior.
Some may remember the documentary about river blindness in N. Korea, and how the people that could see again were grateful to Kim Jong-il and perceived the medical staff that operated them as mere agents. Most people in that documentary were filmed while worshipping the portrait of a dictator, and grateful for seeing him again.
North Korean methods of brainwashing have caused a nation to love their dictator dearly. However, it is not very different in other societies either. If one is to consider the attachment levels of nationalist groups to their leaders, flags, objects of fetish, it is easy to see resemblances that look very much like mourners of North Korea. I believe it is an expectable social behavior in a dictatorial country under harsh conditions of life and full gulag interference of state in every personal matter. While I can understand the people who feel insecure in North Korea because their “Great Dictator” is gone, it is more shocking a behavior to see millions showing similar behavior upon the death, illness, accident of an elected person in a rather democratic country.
Yet, in every country there are people with such high nationalist tendencies, and they will certainly show off their fears, affection, pain upon certain events such as death of a leader, attack on a national fetish object [such as flags, borders, bank notes, etc.], any personal crisis that the leader experiences which has nothing to do with the well-being of the state or nation herself.