Written by Frances Lee, The Smart Show staff writer

Longtime North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il, was announced dead Monday (two days after his actual death) from a fatal heart attack which sets his equally scary looking son as his successor.

I have been fascinated by Kim Jong Il’s regime since I was a child. Being Korean exposed me to the brutal and tragic history of the division of both countries and got firsthand stories from my fathers parents and their decision to move to Seoul, South Korea.

When the demarcation line was announced, my grandparents packed their things, rounded out their four children and took the first available train to South Korea. They left their cousins and relatives behind as they thought staying was the right thing to do.

And then North Korea turned into their own world. If anyone watched a documentary on North Korean culture, you would be shocked at the Twilight World nature they live in. Ignorant of any other life beside anxiety, fear and poverty the citizens are brainwashed that Kim Jong Il, The Great Leader, is their savior on Earth and he is nothing less of a Zeus-figure to their lowly existence. Some refugees spoke about starving conditions and mistreatment from soldiers.

“We are allowed one television set in the house but the only channels that play are biographies on The Great Leader and biased news programs,” a female refugee explained. “The soldiers would randomly turn off the power so if someone was watching a VHS film it would get stuck in the player, anyone with that sort of contraband would be taken away to a concentration camp.”

I had the privilege to travel to the famous demarcation line with my family on a trip to Korea near five years ago. Months prior to our arrival, my father signed up our entire family through the United Nations to visit the line dividing North and South Korea. After switching buses almost five times and being checked by officers, we are ushered to different parts of the sight. A white cement two-foot high line goes straight through a small conference room on the sight and throughout the area, North and South Korean guards face each other nose-to-nose, guns drawn, to fight at any moment.

Yet the physical difference between the two soldiers were like night and day. The North Korean soldiers looked withered and old, clearly from malnutrition and lack of exercise compared to the young and muscular South Korean soldiers.

It was a really somber and cold place even though the area was surrounded by lush and beautiful landscape. I remember watching a willowy white bird flying above a bright green field of greens. What a waste of beauty, land and lives.

Kim Jong Il killed my country and pillaged it from its full economic and political potential. He separated my family and gives me no opportunity to communicate with them so I have no idea if they are dead or alive.

And he was a infamous glutton, flying famous chef’s from around the world to cook for him while his country starves to death. I grew to hate him and became curious to what would happen after his death.

But now his son, an equally stocky and creepy looking boy, will be taking his place. Probably with the same twisted mentality as his father.
Makes me really curious to what the future will bring.