Grim Tales

Living The Orwellian Dream

Like most news coming out of North Korea, this business of Kim Jong-Un purging his uncle is more than a little grotesque. I guess it’s one thing to remove somebody you find threatening, it’s entirely another thing to execute them and make them an object lesson. Fortunately most of us don’t have to make such choices, but all the same, one is confronted by the very blood-thirsty nature of power plays in dictatorships.

Before his arrest Mr Jang sought foreign investment for a country that lacks hard currency, overseeing special economic zones near the border with China. Mr Jang represented a “China wing” of the leadership that was very close to Beijing, Professor Armstrong said.

Mr Jang’s crimes included “overtly and covertly standing in the way of settling the issue of succession” when Mr Kim was readying to take over from his father, longtime ruler Kim Jong-il, KCNA said, describing him as a traitor with a “dirty political ambition”.

“Despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him,” KCNA said.

There have been other news of people getting purged and executed by the new tyrant. None of this terribly comforting to read because in all honesty, this kind of institutionally violent human being is at the helm of a nation that wants to have nuclear weapons. A man ready and willing to be a kin-slayer in order to hold power is a very frightening man. The news sticks out because whatever you might think of the disputes between Japan, China and South Korea, North Korea remains the biggest joker in the pack. The speculation is that more purges are likely to follow.

The truly horrible thing about North Korean politics as it stands is that it exists not as an example of an Orwellian Dystopia, but it has gone beyond it to being a kind of parody of an Orwellian Dystopia. There, you would dare not bat an eyelid without it somehow being support of the regime, and Doublethink would be the only way to think. There is no rhyme or reason why the people in the countryside are starved to death while an army that never goes to war exploits the masses so vigorously. Despite sanctions and shaming and international pressure, the Kim regime keeps on going by selling arms and illicit drugs. It’s like n entire nation that has “broken bad”. Perhaps the best way to understand Kim Jong-Un is that he’s a kind of Jesse Pinkman, and he has finally killed his Walter White.

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