CHANGE OF GUARD IN NORTH KOREA

Kim Jong II, aged 68, due to deteriorating health was mulling passing the baton of power to one of his siblings since a year or two. He, the son of Kim-II-Sung, founder leader of Democratic(?) Peoples’ Republic of Korea, occupied the Supreme commander cum Head in 1973 upon the passing away of his father. After thirty seven years of uninterrupted rule, uninterrupted owing to the sole reason that dissent in any form is suppressed and silenced then and there justification being it is still a ‘so-called Communist nation’. Peoples’ democratic – how it dares to call it a “Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea” please don’t ask, find out the answer for yourselves isolated from the world by four iron-curtains only a window is provided to big brother China to peep into and also to convey important messages if any or to get necessary advice as and when required from big-brother, a cunning brother literally, cunning in the sense that a new kind of communism is practised there evenwhile practising economic freedom and following neo-liberal economic reforms, the dissenting voices are silenced when it feels like enough is enough.

But the younger brother has neither learned any lessons nor is it interested in providing a window of opportunity to any kind of freedom inside the four walls. Rule with an iron-hand, force the subjects obey the diktats of the powerful and practise whatever directions the master orders. Reminding one of medieval times and hence one Indian journalist once sarcastically called it ‘Jurassic Park’. Its co-brother South Korea despite being co-brothers like India and Pakistan – both are at loggerheads – is practising democracy, has thrown the windows and doors wide open invite other nations to invest and simultaneously invests in other nations and has entered into economic and strategic ties with them in the process turning out to be one of the emerging economies of the world, one of the prosperous nations in the world. While South Korea remains on a high growth trajectory, North Korea defying all advices and threats of sanctions by other nations was in pursuit of developing nuclear weapons without caring the basic needs of the poor across the nation. Please don’t be mistaken while extolling the virtues of South Korea, as a humble observer, I am not blind to the negative aspects of that nation but on weighing pros and cons the positive aspects always emerge to be the winner.

Now come back to the impending change of guard in North Korea. It seems as in some nations a dynastic succession is going to be the order of the day there also. In the power hierarchy after the founder leader Kim-Il-Sung his son Kim-Jong-II emerged the successor, the first of its kind in any Communist nation across the world and upon his retirement his youngest sibling Kim-Jong-Un, who is in his twenties is going to be the inheritor. Reports suggest, just before the meeting of the Workers Party – this is the name of the ruling Communist Party there – the election of Kim-Jong-Un was passed on to the media. It is reported that in the run-up to the party meeting the whole country wore a festive look, it should be so, otherwise it would be something shameful to the leaders and subjects. Worth remembering here a few months ago, on the birthday of Kim-Jong-Un a public holiday was declared to all as a mark of rejoicing and celebration. His ascendancy to power was on the anvil, then no doubt. That holiday declaration across the nation was something awful to the entire world.

Kim-Jong-Un was as per custom (?) appointed a Four star General, means he is going to be the ‘sun-gun’ – means the supreme head of Democratic(?) Peoples’ Republic of Korea. Kim-Jong-Il’s four siblings including the Kim-Jong-Un were assigned various important posts, among the four, one being Kim’s one and only daughter. Thus power well within the grip of a family and I fear we as well as the generation X have to witness this kind of iron-rule within the iron-curtains of a ‘so-called’ Communist country. If this could be called Communism how many of us would be there lenient to it?

Even the Latin American hero Fidel Castro’s Cuba after half a century of its Communist rule ponders over loosening control over economy. Such a possibility is not only probable but inevitable in the days to come. Why can’t North Korean rulers think for a while at least to keep up with changing times.