People and Politics by Patrick Roberts
De Valera was the Irish equivalent of Korean dictator Kim Yung Il
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2011 at 05:51 AM
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Watching the North Korean news announcer weeping as she revealed the death of Dear Leader Kim Yong- Il in North Korea reminded me of the crocodile tears we shed in Ireland many years ago after the death of Eamon De Valera.
Like Kim, De Valera was our dear leader, a mythical figure when I was growing up in Ireland.
Like Kim he had his own brass band in the media which trumpeted everything he did from opening schools to meeting with minor world leaders.
Like Kim many of his people were suffering, the emigrant boats were full, many left behind barely surviving. But the cult continued and grew.
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We think the Koreans are the only ones with the cult of personality but Ireland had it too many years ago, or maybe not that long ago really.
De Valera was every bit as insidious as Kim in many ways.
He ushered in the era of church power and monopoly and bowed the knee on every occasion to church luminaries such as Archbishop John McQuaid who was recently accused of child abuse himself.
They in turn created their own dictatorship that Kim would have been proud of.
De Valera loomed over every facet of Irish life like Kim.
We should learn from the dangers of cult worship from our own Irish experience too.
Ireland only recently emerged from the shadow of 'the Long Fellow.'
North Korea has to deal with the legacy of the 'short fellow' now.
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