Get Off My Lawn

I can't tell if he's laughing or crying.

Kim Jong-un is a Tubby Tyrant

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.

I feel like shit. Maybe a bit more cheese and drink will make me feel better.

I feel like shit. Maybe a bit more cheese and drink will make me feel better.

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.

Camp 14

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.







Categories: Non-Fiction, Politics

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38 replies

  1. Wow! Depressing, but educational.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John, It has not improved since his Father was “God” in North Korea!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whenever I read or hear about children suffering, it’s like a black curtain falls over me. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. Of course, I don’t want anybody to suffer, but there’s something so visceral when it’s children. That book sounds like an amazing read, but I don’t know if I could take it. :/

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I definitely couldn’t take that book. Like you said, John, what in heck do you do with thoughts like that? Anyway, it was beautifully written and like someone above said, I learned a lot about what’s going on just from that brief but very interesting post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I will have to read this…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sometimes I am ashamed to be the same species as this bloke and others like him. It will fall, one day, perhaps in your lifetime John

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Do you think it’s remotely possible that he doesn’t even realize how bad conditions are in his own country? He is now the third generation of his family holding absolute power. But if he has been so hermetically sealed his entire life that what goes on in the countryside and in the prisons is hidden from him? Probably not likely and I’ve never really thought of it that way before, but what if?

    I share your fascination with NK, but have never read a book about it. I may have to read this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose it is possible but he was educated in Switzerland do he at does know the difference between democracy and fascism. But it is possible that he is the figurehead and the real power is more secretive. The problem is so much about this country is unknown.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s that unknown quality that makes it so fascinating. It’s like decades ago when the Soviet Union was around and experts could only guess at what happened behind the closed doors of the Kremlin when a leader died. Only, it’s about 100 times worse in NK because of their total isolation.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes. It is so much worse. And the mystery is intriguing. I watched a documentary just this week on NK where they had a bunch of smuggled footage of every day life in NK. It was really interesting. Very different from the official footage released. The country is so dirty and poor. Everything seems to be falling apart.


  8. I don’t know how to think about things like this, people like this. I don’t want to put my head in the sand and refuse to know, but it often feels there are no answers. I would like to believe the regime could be toppled, and that because of the connectedness of the world now, it could not happen again, anywhere. But I am not so sure. Thanks for writing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. Part of the intrigue for me is how in the hell a whole population, more or less, can be coerced into living this way. The right amount of fear, propaganda, and cencorship, I guess. But the question is how long before the system cracks. Believe it or not the telivision show Dallas was probably the most effective tool in bringing down the Soviet Union and American pop culture is infiltrating NK and sowing the seeds of descent.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Historically, fear is a powerful motivator. We’ve seen it a lot – where the few torment, and hold sway over the many. Who wants to be the one to stick their neck out? I can’t imagine what it must take to be willing to martyr yourself for the sake of other people and future generations. And what if you do fight back and nothing comes of it? Or your loved ones are imprisoned or killed as a way of punishing you? I guess I’m saying this generally, anywhere situations like this go on.

        It intrigues me too, the social psychology aspect. I may have heard that about Dallas… weird thing is, it had the same effect on a lot of U.S. citizens who became disenchanted with their lives and thought they were missing out. The trend toward living well beyond your means might be traced to there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are right about the fear. If someone defects, or commis a crime, their whole extended family is put in prison. Some have no idea they are related until the police come knocking.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d be so super angry if I looked like this, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The “hog” is another Hitler- just goes about it in a different way. Starving his own country. He is like a killing machine for choking the very life from his countrymen. Deranged and extremely paranoid. Nice posting. Lots of people are not aware of the severity of depravation in that country. Perhaps you have educated a few with this post.


    Liked by 1 person

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