Possibly the world’s fattest and ugliest dictator, Kim Jong-un is suffering from gout, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Why? He eats copious amounts of cheese, chain smokes, and drinks himself into a state of being a literal “drunken lord.” And he does all this while people in his country starve.
It is astounding to me that this can happen in the modern world. That North Korea can exist in this modern world. To keep a whole population more or less cut off from all sources of outside information is an incredible feat. I wonder if the people actually know that Dear Leader is basically a little pile of pork who lives in decadence to the point that he might actually eat, smoke, and drink himself to death?
I recently read the book a Escape from Camp 14, which chronicles the harrowing tale of Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born and raised in a North Korean political gulag. The book is remarkable for many reasons. One aspect that really stuck with me is that the constant hunger drove the children of the camp to regularly pick through the pig feces in order to find kernels of undigested grain to eat. Staggering.
Right now, there are children in these camps doing just that. Picking through shit to find something to eat while the man who is responsible for that deprivation is indulging himself to death. I really don’t know what to do with thoughts like that.
And as you can imagine, Escape from Camp 14 has a sad ending. Shin does escape but his adjustment to society outside the prison camp does not go well. It would appear that every stage of his development was severely disrupted and, of course, this has made living as an adult in a Western society complicated and frustrating.
When the regime of North Korea falls (and it will fall), the discombobulation of the average North Korean is going to be immense. I think it will be much more extensive than anything the East Germans went through after the wall came down. Maybe this will be an opportunity for the United Nations to do something good in the world as opposed to allowing (and being complicit in) war crimes. The cost will be enormous. The whole population not only has a threadbare education, but the education they do have is more or less a lie, especially when it comes to history.
That Dear Leader fiddled while Pyongyang burned is going to cause tremendous angry denial and then just plain anger at all that was lost. Whole generations have lived and died in abject misery that was manufactured for the sake of power, and the grieving process for this will take many years, a lot of money, and the collective patience of a global community.