By Soo Ji Lee
CRESSKILL, New Jersey, U.S.A. – While spending another Sunday night with my parents in the living room, I was on my laptop, logged onto Facebook, and refreshed my news feed. At 10:13 PM, the first story that popped up was a CNN breaking news alert saying that Kim Jong Il was dead.
My dad was in disbelief and wouldn’t trust it until he checked for himself on the Korean news outlet Yonhap. My mother then exclaimed, “He deserved this for the bad rap he gave Korea.”
I suddenly had flashbacks to all the jokes my friends had made about North Korea. Comments had ranged from, “Are you from the good or bad Korea?” to “Hey Kim Jong Il’s daughter.”
At first I was annoyed that no one knew the difference between the democratic South Korea and the dictatorship of North Korea. How could they confuse my identity for a North Korean one? How would I even be in the United States if I came from North Korea? But then I gradually gave in and would joke along with them.
|Kim Jong Il|
Initially, I felt like joining my Facebook friends in celebrating a dictator’s death. However, I am no longer joking; I now realize the global implications.
Indeed, 2011 has been eventful when it comes to the deaths of the two most corrupt world leaders.
The media coverage of both has been similar: minute-by-minute coverage that then exploded into ongoing 24-hour coverage for days.
Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong Il both preached anti-American ideologies; Bin Laden taught jihad while Kim Jong Il advocated juche. Both were committed to the demise of America; both detested modern day democracy. When it came to valuing human life, both committed far too many violations to count.
That’s why students should not be naive in assuming that communism in North Korea will now come to an end. We know nothing about what will happen.
It’s uncertain how communism in North Korea will continue to exist. It’s uncertain if North Korea will take part in Six Party talks. It’s uncertain how Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il’s son and successor, will lead North Korea.
As uncertain we are, maybe we can be hopeful that we won’t have to say, “Like father, like son.”