North Korea Airs Film Celebrating Its ‘Genius Among the Geniuses’

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Not content with claims that bears have been crying woefully and magpies are hovering mournfully, North Korean propagandists continue to outdo themselves in building a cult of personality around new leader Kim Jong Un, the son of, and heir to, recently departed dictator Kim Jong Il.

The latest occasion for some unashamed “great successor” worship: the young man (nobody’s sure quite how young) reportedly had a birthday on Jan 8, so it presented the ideal moment to air a documentary — excerpts above — hailing him as “the genius among the geniuses” in military strategy. In case there are any doubts, Kim is seen climbing inside a tank and riding a strapping gray horse.

(PHOTOS: Kim Jong Il: A Dictator’s Passing)

The state TV documentary also lauded the younger Kim’s “excellent military leadership” and showed him giving orders to troops in artillery, navy and air force units. “The respected comrade Kim Jong Un is perfectly versed in all military strategies and … displays excellent military leadership,” said the film, over images of soldiers jumping in joy at seeing him on field trips, according to the Agence France-Presse.

Other snippets to emerge about North Korea’s new dictator include that he wrote his first thesis on military strategy at the age of 16, after sleeping only three to four hours a night and often skipping meals to study. Perhaps most worrying, though, is that the Associated Press reports the footage also shows Kim vowing in 2009 to wage war if the country’s enemies shot down its long-range rocket.

Meanwhile, it appears Kim’s Jan. 8 birthday — pinpointed using testimonies from a Japanese chef who worked for the family, defectors and his childhood friends at a Swiss school where he briefly studied as a teenager — was not a national holiday like those of his father and grandfather, according to the Telegraph.

Yang Moo-jin, from the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told the Korea Times newspaper that the date might not have been celebrated because the country is supposedly still in mourning for Kim Jong Il, making a celebration inappropriate.

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