Kim Jong-Il, the supreme leader of North Korea, has been keeping the world guessing, but gets lots of attention in the bargain! He keeps the hermit country under wraps, away from the prying eyes of the world! Unfortunately, Kim does not tweet, so lots of guess work have to be made, to put one & one together, to make sense of his direction; it has been mostly, one step forward, with one or more, back! He makes secret getaways, by train, to meet-up with his only abiding friend- in- need, China, with which, he shares a special bond. It cannot be equal as his country gets vital supplies from the latter. We all know what that entails, from our own experience, with over-dependency!
Kim has the ultimate weapon to command respect – the dreaded N word – Nuclear weapons! Kim saber-rattles that to get attention, like the rattlesnake – watch-out, I can strike, if provoked! He has managed to get the attention by maintaining the mystery; people are more interested & curious by what is hidden than revealed! It is the exact opposite of democratic countries where, even dirty linen is washed in public, but patched-up soon after, after hell has been let lose! For Kim, it seems to be too good to be true – all in his country entitled to his opinion meaning Kim’s – only one view, one vision from all! If he says it is day, even if it is night time; his people have to accept it as a fact! That too in the modern world, when China is also confronting own demons with clamor to open-up & Fidel Castro, almost giving up on state control, as it does not deliver!
The sad part of the whole issue is even close family members are separated between North & South for over fifty years, some dying heart-broken at their fate that is intertwined with that of one person, unable to reconcile with the outside world. Once the wall is broken, like in the East Europe, couple of decades ago, there would be mass reunions, like the dead meeting each other, after-life! Also, one cannot forget the agony of Chilean coal-miners, waiting desperately to be rescued & rejoin the families; of course, the latter is due to an accident, but with North Koreans, more due to the intransigence, whims & fancies of one person!
For the rest, in a world inter-connected, it is time to reflect on the fate of North Koreans fenced-in, in a world forced on them, unable to breath the fresh air of a free world. No one knows what transpires between Kim & China, but they do not seem to make much headway! Even military regimes like Myanmar allow their people free travel overseas, so North Korea is the one isolated country, totally fenced-in!
We cannot choose our parents and the country we are born in. Though it is part of the democratic process, those in developed countries & even from the poor, flex their muscles on the premise that they are short-changed; but if the choice that are available to them is factored-in, they do not have much to complain about! Those from poorer countries can work within the system to better their lots or even seek fortunes outside their countries; some have met spectacular success in adopted countries. We are all blessed that we can make such choices when few are still denied, almost imprisoned from birth to death & their whole life depending on a person, who seems to be afraid of his own shadow! Going by reports, Kim cannot trust anyone, with his health failing by the day; even the crucial party meeting to decide the future, had to be delayed due to his ill-health!
We wonder at the thought that slavery was prevalent just couple of generation ago in some parts of the world and apartheid dismantled only couple of decades ago; but such facts are revolting to think of now. Soon, let us hope that North Koreans would also look back in wonder & amazement that they had to live through a life, where their every activity & even their thought-process were controlled, when they also enjoy the freedom that most others take for granted & even misuse! Better to also reflect, never say never; we should guard against going overboard, nothing is guaranteed, in the end!