Like a great show, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, common people, children, crowded the streets in the snow to express their grief with sobs, cries, swaying and kneeling, their faces in a grimace of pain, however, without any tears.
The ceremony began at 2 pm, four hours late, because of the snow that has been falling on Pyongyang since yesterday. The long motorcade of cars and military trucks, with a large photograph of the deceased left the Kumsusan Memorial building, where the body of Kim Jong-il was laid in state from December 17, the day of his death, and where it was embalmed. With a location kept secret - perhaps for security - The funeral procession will pass through the centre of the capital, returning to the Kumsusan, where the body of Kim Jong-il will rest next to his father Kim Il-sung.
No foreign delegation was allowed to speak at the funeral. But the diplomatic corps in Pyongyang received the indication to gather in the stadium of the city, to be taken on a visit to Kumsusan at noon.
The state television is broadcasting the funeral live, with commentator’s voices cracking with emotion. The mourning will continue tomorrow, with a national memorial service. At noon the whole country will stop cars, trains and ships will sound their horns and sirens as a sign of mourning.
From the south, just today, in conjunction with the funeral of Kim Jong-il, some associations for freedom and North Korean refugees have decided to launch balloons across the border. The balloons contain parcels full of leaflets condemning Kim Jong-il and pushing the population to revolt. There are also gifts packs in U.S. dollars.
Park Sang-hak, head of the "Fighters for a Free North Korea ", told Yonhap: " We decided to send the leaflets to call for reform and openness in North Korea, where nothing has changed even since the death of Kim Jong-il ... Just as a wave of democracy swept across the Arab world, North Koreans must also campaign for democracy. "
The Pyongyang regime has, however, a very strong control on the 24 million inhabitants and it is very unlikely that there will be a popular uprising.