– A shopping mall, a cathedral and an ancient bridge have been added to the North Korean catalog of relics from its kingly past. But the culprit of most dismay in Pyongyang has been the Khaju sculpture tumbled over in 2011 by an angry mob, one of the worst crimes of modern North Korea.
According to a New York Times article published last week, North Korea now views the statues as a symbol of how badly its economy has fallen behind that of the West. But Seoul is not overly mollified, seeing the accident as the symbolic failure of a regime eager to control its past while also able to use its fears of a hostile U.S. as a veneer of security.
The Khaju itself does not look like a fascist Warsaw Ghetto or the World Trade Center. The statues are models of real structures — the Iron Dome and the Armistice Wall. Ironically, the 35-ton statues were built by a German firm to repair a two-mile-long early 20th century bridge across an unmarked river in the modern city of Taenggye, which itself is testament to Pyongyang’s early economic expansion.
The monster-sized creations were, according to legend, designed by Sun Myung Moon’s ancestors and completed in memory of the people who fought for unification with China. Still, it is worth noting that the myth can be unpleasantly poetic and highly questionable, requiring the passage of a critical constitutional amendment last year before it could take effect.
Source: New York Times.