Whil I knew he'd been sick for a while, it's still a shock the hear that Kim Jong Il has died. L'il Kim was the epitome of the loony tyrannical dictator, with the fashion sense of a Dr Evil and the grandiosity of a "James Bond" villain. While the people of North Korea faced chronic starvation, he indulged in the consumption of luxury goods- even his "Dr Evil" fatigues were made of expensive cloth. Amidst the background of crimes against humanity, Kim also indulged in quixotic crimes, such as kidnaping actresses. He apparently had a great love for action films and even wrote a book on cinema. I used to joke that the best way to remove him from power would be to offer him a starring role in a cheesy action flick with Sylvester Stallone. Well, now that's not necessary.
Of course, the question of succession is now of utmost importance... will he be succeeded by his son Kim Jong Huey, or his son Kim Jong Louie, or his son Kim Jong Dewey? Hopefully, his successor will be amenable to suggestions to step down, to open up North Korea to the world, and to allow the North Koreans a measure of freedom, a measure of security against famine and repression. Sadly, I just don't think that's going to happen. Relief agencies should be flooding North Korea with food aid, all the while trying to persuade the regime's leaders that they should join the world community.
I'm not optimistic about North Korea's future, although the death of Kim Jong Il is certainly a good development. Maybe the best way to assuage my misgivings is to watch Pulgasari a movie made at KJI's behest by a kidnaped South Korean filmmaker:
Of course, with the death Kim Jong Il, the world is bereft of a James Bond villain, but there's always another James Bond villain waiting in the wings, and attempting to rise to the status of "Dear Leader".