A lot will be said of Kim Jong Il over the next few days, but I think what we need to also think of are the people left behind. And so, here’s what I say to them:
Do not mourn the monster who passed into the night. His ravages now are ended, yet his legacy lives on. Look around you, at the empty chairs and empty beds – the places where your loved ones should be. They’re not there, and it’s because of him. His excesses and his cruelty robbed you of your families, your lovers, and your friends. The sycophantic wailing you’re required to show for fear of your own life should hide a secret cheering: the monster is dead.
The joy of his death is of course overshadowed by the plain, simple fact that life is not going to instantly change. His son will likely be as decadent and crazy as his father was, but we can hope his excesses may be a little less so than his fathers’. We can hope that change does come, and that you can start revealing your true emotions in the light without fear of persecution, either for yourself, or those you care most about.
And remember, when you are forced to talk “dear leader”, to think in the safety of your own mind, “capricious monster”.