Monday, December 19, 2011
Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not." - Vaclav Havel
- Kim Jung Il
Showing, once again, that irony is the is the glue that holds the universe together, Kim Jong Il and Vaclev Havel died in juxtaposition.
I've always wondered at the complete absence of humor in the Bible, given the Creator's universally impish qualities in the real world.
Havel was like a dream of a leader. Creative, thoughtful, humane, he presided over one of history's rare bloodless breakups of a country. Kim Jong Il, on the other hand, was a sociopathic lunatic, who almost certainly died of lifestyle diseases, gorging himself on the richest foods, the best liquors, the finest cigars - all while the people, the children, of North Korea starved to the point of eating grass.
I just finished the book "Nothing to Envy" by Barbara Demick, which tells the stories of a handful of North Koreans who managed to get out. Orwell couldn't have imagined a more hellish, perverse, cruel place. I don't exaggerate. North Korea is hell on earth, stage managed by a freakishly mad family of sadists. It is a place where a neighbor overhearing the tiniest complaint about the miserable reality of your life can lead to a death sentence. The "Dear Leader" required that the illusion of complete adoration and joy be maintained - he had the methods to confirm this - even while your children were dying of starvation.
When Bush and Cheney decided to rid the world of despots one wonders why, were their intentions pure, they didn't start with Kim Jong Il. North Korea is the world's biggest lunatic asylum. Good riddance to the alpha lunatic.
I have a series of picture of people who are my heroes on the walls of my library. One of them is Vaclav Havel. Rest in peace.
Read more: Vaclev Havel Obituary The Guardian
Read more: Kim Jung Il Dead BBC
Read more: The Film Producer from Hell The Guardian