SEOUL, South Korea – The funeral of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il was a well-choreographed and well -stage-managed event in Pyongyang Wednesday. I've seen several of the mass displays up close. The regime wanted total control for this one and made us sit outside of the country in Seoul, South Korea.
That's OK, I had a great view.
In the funeral procession, there was the hearse carrying the body of Kim Jong-Il. Then there was another vehicle carrying an oversized portrait of the late North Korean leader, and another with a huge wreath made up of his namesake flowers.
The development and preservation of the cult of personality, I am told, is integral to the survival of the regime.
On display Wednesday was the much noted public grieving, done either willingly or unwillingly -- though that's in some ways irrelevant.
I am told Communism, socialism, even the invented system of Juche is not important anymore in North Korea. It is now all about family, dynasty. Critics would say the mafia.
So it's no wonder experts spent the day studying who was seen with Kim Jong-Un. Who are the folks with a huge stake in his survival? They included his Uncle, other civilian officials, as well some military officers (the military is important in keeping this enterprise strong and powerful).
It boils down to the Old Guard and the next generation of the Old Guard, all looking to make sure certain families stay in power.
In the words of one analyst :
They have to "Hang together...or they will hang separately."
All of this is at the expense of the people of North Korea, who played their part Wednesday and will dutifully get up and play their part Thursday in another mass memorial.
Then they will go home, and some will be hungry, some will be needy.
And either Kim Jung-Un's new government will satisfy them, or, as one expert matter of factly told me, the regime will fall. He didn't know when, just that it was inevitable.
But not if the Kim Family has anything to do with it.