I have only been acutely aware of North Korea throughout my lifetime. I know very little about the society and even less about the one we all hate/make fun of, Kim Jong-il.
Tonight, Lisa Ling was on Jimmy Kimmel Live discussing her book about the rescue of her sister by President Clinton.
She said a few things that I found interesting, and I became fascinated with North Korea and the things she was saying about Kim Jong-il. Where did I go to find out some more info? Wikipedia, of course. I would imagine that Wikipedia might be the opposite of anything of any relation to North Korea. Of course, they have their own media that is controlled by the government and tells the people what they need to hear, rather than the truth. Input from outside sources would be...unwelcome...and I'd imagine pretty violently unwelcome at that.
Ling said a few things that blew my mind.
- She said that cell phones are banned. I guess I can see that, but it almost made me gasp.
- She said that Kim Jong-il is considered a huge movie buff and owns over 20,000 titles. Wow. Can I borrow some?
- She said that the media reports that Kim Jong-il shoots around a 27 on a normal round of golf. How many hole-in-ones is that? How true can it be?
- She said that she sat in a room there that had a bookshelf, with only books that the "Dear Leader"(Jong-il) had written.
It painted a picture for me that reminded me, of course, of Hitler and Nazi Germany. I obviously had this picture before, but it's as if that picture had come to life. Hitler has always been an interesting person for me to study because of his sheer brilliance in leadership.
Then she said something that nearly brought me to tears.
I don't know if she is right about this, I don't know if it's exaggerated. I can't guarantee this story, but if it is true, it is incredible.
Kimmel asked Ling why it was that President Clinton was able to get the women back when others were unsuccessful getting through to the leader (and we are all very aware of the controversy of this). Ling said this (my own paraphrase): When Kim Jong-il's father (Kim Il-sung-the founder of North Korea) passed away, Clinton was the first world leader to contact him to express his condolences. Even before many who were associated with the family in the country contacted him. Ling said that that display of humanity (remember that) has stayed in Jong-il's mind to this day.
Interesting. I would argue that humane is not a good way to describe Jong-il. If it was really that touching to him, would that have changed his actions since? How can someone who does not display any sort of recognition of humanity actually recognize a humane act? Was he only appreciative because it was a humane act toward him? Were there selfish ambitions? If so, why would he have allowed the women to leave? Leaving certainly didn't benefit him directly.
And...did anyone ever act in such a humane way to Adolf Hitler?
Interesting, at least to me, to say the least.
UPDATE: Perhaps this says it better: