The last critical monument!
Juche Tower (pronounce “djoochay”).
Juche is the key tenet behind “Kimilsong-ism”, a subject of much study and reverence in this part of the world. Juche means “self-reliance”, a nice way to express that North Korea needs to do everything on its own and remain closed to the rest of the world.
Here’s the kicker: the tower was opened in 1982, for the 70th birthday of Kim Il Sung. It contains as many stones as there had been days in the life of Kim Il Song. 1982 was indeed a year of many grand celebrations.
And now, back to Juche. Juche is a philosophy and no matter how many times it was explained to me I found it a very difficult concept to absorb. Thinking that my lack of understanding was coming both from gaps in translations and from my guides’ imperfect knowledge of the philosophy, I asked to have a private lecture from a Juche expert on my return to North Korea this year. And this was granted: a meeting was arranged with a foremost Juche professor and the best translators were used, and… I’m not sure that I’m abreast of the concept now, but I do have a few more thoughts to share with you. More on this when we get to that trip!