Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kim Jong Thug and the Monster Regime

Themes for Thanksgiving: The Dear Leader

As you plan out your holiday fun, you should include these videos of the zany, madcap Kim Jong Il.

Super Kim (a funny German mock-video game)
Is Kim Jong...Ill? (from chicksongs at

If only he were the clown that he appears to be. There is a third video that is game show themed, but the sadness is just too close to the surface.

If you want a quick introduction to the bizarre, totalitarian and monstrously cruel world that is Kim's North Korea, read Ian Buruma's "Kimworld: Inside the North Korean Slave State" (New Yorker, August 22, 2005). He reviews Bradley K. Martin's Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty (St. Martin's; $29.95) and Jasper Becker's Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea (Oxford; $28). Becker has the better of the two books, though both are world reading. Buruma finds that Martin "paints a grim picture in exhaustive detail, backed by many first-person accounts. But, though he is no apologist, he is perhaps fair to a fault." He finds both books informative, but Becker is less naive, less prone to be duped by this apparently charming tyrant.

North Korea in the nineteen-nineties was, in Martin's somewhat peculiar choice of phrase, “a nightmare by human-rights standards.” Farmers were not allowed to relieve their hunger by growing their own food and selling it, for, Kim observed, “Telling people to solve the food problems on their own only increases the number of farmers markets and peddlers. In addition, this creates egoism among people, and the basis of the Party's class may come to collapse.” If things were bad in “normal” life, the conditions in the vast North Korean gulag are difficult to imagine. Even here Martin's struggles for “balance” come across as slightly otiose: “While more and more inmates died as a result of malnutrition, the political prison camps continued to be run more as slave-labor and slow death camps than as instant death camps. It may seem a small distinction, but it shows that in this regard at least Kim Jong Il was no Hitler.”
Whether you are a John Birch Society Ron Paul supporter or a Bush hater or something in between, this Thanksgiving, give the Lord the thanks he is due for the good government that we have.

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