The Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-il has passed away. It ends the 17 year old reign of one of the most secluded characters in contemporary world history.
Kim Jong-il was a mystery from his birth. More correctly, the North Korean regime has made it appear a mystery. According to Russian records, he was born in 1941 in Siberia. His father, Kim Il-sung was leading a Soviet battalion of Korean and Chinese exiles. However, as the elder Kim, North Korea's "Great Leader" was growing older, he took care that his son was going to be a legend. Accordingly, it was claimed that the birth of the "Dear Leader" occurred on the sacred Baekdu mountain, the legendary birthplace of the Korean nation. Also, the birth of this leader had been foretold by a swallow. On that particular day, a guiding star, mystical lights and a double rainbow had appeared over the mountain.
The "Great Leader" took pains to build a log cabin on the mountain and dispatch a team of preservation experts to the Lenin Museum in Moscow to study ways to make new wood appear old. He took every measure to pave the way for a Marxist dynasty.
The unbelievable feats of the "Dear Leader" included giving "on the spot" advice to workers and soldiers and producing six classic operas in just two years, each of them better than any one ever made by mankind.
He was the 31st most powerful man on Earth in 2010 according to the Forbes magazine. At the time of his death he was in 37th place. He was adept in nuclear politics, from the times of his father. He had inherited a isolated failed state relying on Juche, North Korean form of Communism based on self-reliance. His half-hearted efforts to implement Chinese style economic reforms in selected zones, ended in debacles. Kim Jong-il wanted to control the opening up of his country, as he had controlled everything else, including the story of his birth.
However, the "Dear Leader" was unable to control his death. Also, his dynasty may not last his son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un. Its uncertain if he could even take power as he is still too weak. The "Dear Leader" was ultimately defeated by death and it prevented him from completing the job of securing his son's path to power in the manner his father did for him.