Oh Yeah…North Korea

The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

~Charlie Chaplin

October 8, 2014

When I was growing up, North Korea was scary. North Korea was perhaps scarier than Russia. There were some places that were bad in my mind. I don’t know if they were bad because the media told me so or my parents did, though I suspect it is because the media told my parents. North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia, they were all lumped together in this giant group of places “that might nuke us.”

To my young imagination, Kim Jong-il looked more like a raving mad scientist than a leader of a country. I visualized him as someone like Mr. Hyde. Whenever I heard anyone talk about him I saw a hunchback figure in a black cape hovering over his cauldron of boiling puppies and laughing maniacally. I should also note that he was never Asian when I pictured him. So I got some things wrong.

When Kim Jong-il died and Kim Jong Un took over, I remember being told by someone that Kim Jong Un was worse. While Kim Jong-il just presented a threat of nuclear attack on the United States, Kim Jong Un would do it.

Apparently though, whoever told me that was wrong and Kim Jong Un is not actually doing much of anything, either to attack the United States or to improve the terrible quality of life his people face. [Side note: to read more about this, check out this blog by someone who visited North Korea. I will add that it’s humorous but there is some foul language].

As a matter of fact, no one really knows where Kim Jong Un is right now. Huh?

In this age of technology and information buzzing by us at one million miles per second, how can the leader of an entire nation go missing and us not have any idea where he is?

Well, as it turns out, North Korea is super good at one thing – hiding.

There’s a lot of speculation about what is really going on with him. I’ve heard the word “coup” come out a few times. His number two and three in command recently popped over to South Korea for a little chat about “talks” and still the leader of the country is nowhere to be found. He’s been missing for over a month. In North Korea, where the media lies far worse than they do here, he is apparently suffering some “discomfort.”

I wonder though, if Kim Jong Un has been overthrown – what does it mean for his country? Life can’t possibly get any worse, right? And talks with South Korea have to be a good sign. But then again, if he dies, there is no one to replace him because he doesn’t have an heir, which could send the country into political turmoil. War could result and then, well, us being us, we’d be right back where we were in the 50s.

Good times. In a world where Ebola is raging through Africa, ISIS is marching onto new territories, Russia is invading Ukraine, Palestine and Israel are at a tentative (but likely short-lived peace) and we are stretched too thin, is it wrong of me to say I hope Kim Jong Un really is just undergoing some “discomfort”?

North Korea at night

The bottom half which is lit up is South Korea at night, the top half is North Korea. (c) Department of Defense, 2011, source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/dprk/dprk-dark.htm



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