A bad year for dictators

The North Korean “dear leader” Kim Jong-Il is dead.  His son, twenty-something Kim Jong-Un, has been named his successor.  The military is running a missile-test, as if to warn the world to stay back.

2011:  A bad year for dictators.  Gaddafi overthrown and killed.  Mubarak thrown out.  Hassad and Putin facing unrest.  And now this.

What do you think will happen now?  Will North Korea take the chance to join with its prosperous relatives in the South, or keep the starvation and mass oppression of Communism going?

via Kim Jong-Il dies, North Korea rallies around son – Yahoo! News.

See also Mollie Hemingway’s account of the brutality of the Kim Jong-Il regime and how it especially targeted Christians.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    No post like this is complete without the ad “Last Dictator Standing” from the South African fast food chain, Nando’s “starring” Robert Mugabe….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38YWB8iX7OY

    It ran earlier this year for about a week, till Nando’s pulled it because of threates against franchise staff in Zimbabwe. Nando’s is famous for controversial, edgy advertising. And really good chicken, beating KFC etc hands down….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    No post like this is complete without the ad “Last Dictator Standing” from the South African fast food chain, Nando’s “starring” Robert Mugabe….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38YWB8iX7OY

    It ran earlier this year for about a week, till Nando’s pulled it because of threates against franchise staff in Zimbabwe. Nando’s is famous for controversial, edgy advertising. And really good chicken, beating KFC etc hands down….

  • SKPeterson

    My man Bobby Mugabe! My wife’s cousin is full of wonderful stories about this charming man and the great policies he has enacted to the benefit of the Zimbabwean people. We expect to hear more about the glories of Mugabean leadership once the electricity and phone service come back on.

  • SKPeterson

    My man Bobby Mugabe! My wife’s cousin is full of wonderful stories about this charming man and the great policies he has enacted to the benefit of the Zimbabwean people. We expect to hear more about the glories of Mugabean leadership once the electricity and phone service come back on.

  • mikeb

    North Korea will not see an ‘Asian spring’ because unlike most other parts of the world, the people don’t know what they’re missing. The State controls access to information and communications and since there’s little or no access to outside news sources the proletariat aren’t likely to plan a revolution via Twitter or Facebook. The starving masses are powerless to fight back. It’s sad, but at least it serves as a good example, a caution against cult leader worship, consolidated State power, and trusting in those who claim to know what’s best.

  • mikeb

    North Korea will not see an ‘Asian spring’ because unlike most other parts of the world, the people don’t know what they’re missing. The State controls access to information and communications and since there’s little or no access to outside news sources the proletariat aren’t likely to plan a revolution via Twitter or Facebook. The starving masses are powerless to fight back. It’s sad, but at least it serves as a good example, a caution against cult leader worship, consolidated State power, and trusting in those who claim to know what’s best.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Unfortunately, for the North Korean people there will be no change. With the passing time of more than one generation, the current population knows nothing beyond the Jongs – and which ever one of them who dons the mantel of power will have every intention of keeping the people ignorant and oppressed. If you need an analogy, sinners don’t realize they’re sinners until someone tells them. The problem is how do we communicate with the people of North Korea given the totalitarian state government ruling with an iron fist?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Unfortunately, for the North Korean people there will be no change. With the passing time of more than one generation, the current population knows nothing beyond the Jongs – and which ever one of them who dons the mantel of power will have every intention of keeping the people ignorant and oppressed. If you need an analogy, sinners don’t realize they’re sinners until someone tells them. The problem is how do we communicate with the people of North Korea given the totalitarian state government ruling with an iron fist?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • MarkB

    I saw an article in Breitbart.com linked to a video of the mourning for Kim Jung Il and will put the text here.

    “This is What Totalitarianism Looks Like

    Posted by Joel B. Pollak Dec 19th 2011 at 8:17 am in Asia, Communism, News | Comments (75)

    Aside from the performative displays of anguish–possibly sincere, in a bizarre way–note the total lack of interaction among mourners at monuments to recently deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.

    Orwell’s great insight into totalitarianism was that it destroys all capacity for human intimacy, and replaces normal emotions with manipulable mania–and here’s further, chilling evidence.”

    I thought that this was very insightful.

    You can see the video here: http://bigpeace.com/jpollak/2011/12/19/this-is-what-totalitarianism-looks-like/

  • MarkB

    I saw an article in Breitbart.com linked to a video of the mourning for Kim Jung Il and will put the text here.

    “This is What Totalitarianism Looks Like

    Posted by Joel B. Pollak Dec 19th 2011 at 8:17 am in Asia, Communism, News | Comments (75)

    Aside from the performative displays of anguish–possibly sincere, in a bizarre way–note the total lack of interaction among mourners at monuments to recently deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.

    Orwell’s great insight into totalitarianism was that it destroys all capacity for human intimacy, and replaces normal emotions with manipulable mania–and here’s further, chilling evidence.”

    I thought that this was very insightful.

    You can see the video here: http://bigpeace.com/jpollak/2011/12/19/this-is-what-totalitarianism-looks-like/

  • CRB

    Since the alternate text for this past Sunday was from Luke 1, I couldn’t help (in light of this good news about the demise of another dictator) but think of Mary’s Magnificat, esply these verses:
    51 He has shown strength with His arm;
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    And exalted the lowly.

  • CRB

    Since the alternate text for this past Sunday was from Luke 1, I couldn’t help (in light of this good news about the demise of another dictator) but think of Mary’s Magnificat, esply these verses:
    51 He has shown strength with His arm;
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    And exalted the lowly.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dennis (@4), your analogy actually convinced me of the opposite of your point:

    If you need an analogy, sinners don’t realize they’re sinners until someone tells them.

    Scripture actually tells us the opposite — that men know they are guilty, they know they have done wrong, even if they don’t have God’s Word to tell them so. People in societies that know little of the Bible still recognize that something is wrong in the world.

    In the same way, we can hope that the people of North Korea, though cut off from an understanding of how the rest of the world lives and views them, may still recognize that, well, their lives suck. After all, not every culture and society learned how to improve their lot by looking at another culture or society — if it were so, how did we arrive at this point?

    Point being, a time may yet come when North Koreans simply decide they have too little to lose in rising up, or that fear is no longer sufficient to suppress their dissent. It’s happened to other societies at other times. It could be many more generations before that happens, of course, but history does tend to teach us that people can only take so much oppression for so long.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dennis (@4), your analogy actually convinced me of the opposite of your point:

    If you need an analogy, sinners don’t realize they’re sinners until someone tells them.

    Scripture actually tells us the opposite — that men know they are guilty, they know they have done wrong, even if they don’t have God’s Word to tell them so. People in societies that know little of the Bible still recognize that something is wrong in the world.

    In the same way, we can hope that the people of North Korea, though cut off from an understanding of how the rest of the world lives and views them, may still recognize that, well, their lives suck. After all, not every culture and society learned how to improve their lot by looking at another culture or society — if it were so, how did we arrive at this point?

    Point being, a time may yet come when North Koreans simply decide they have too little to lose in rising up, or that fear is no longer sufficient to suppress their dissent. It’s happened to other societies at other times. It could be many more generations before that happens, of course, but history does tend to teach us that people can only take so much oppression for so long.

  • Jonathan

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/the-evil-in-pyongyang.html

    I’m late in posting this, but here’s more evidence of how horrible life is in N Korea.

  • Jonathan

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/the-evil-in-pyongyang.html

    I’m late in posting this, but here’s more evidence of how horrible life is in N Korea.

  • http://jeevankuruvilla.blogspot.com/ Jeevan Kuruvilla

    Don’t forget the massive movement against corruption in a supposedly democratic and prospering India…

  • http://jeevankuruvilla.blogspot.com/ Jeevan Kuruvilla

    Don’t forget the massive movement against corruption in a supposedly democratic and prospering India…


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