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Two Leaders Lost; Reflecting on Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong Il December 19, 2011

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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In the past few days the world has lost two leaders who could not have more profoundly different.  As leaders of countries have a profound impact on global risk, it seemed appropriate to discuss these two leaders and their differences.

Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) was a Czech writer, dramatist and politician.  He is largely responsible for the Czech revolution which peacefully defeated communism and implemented democracy in Czechoslovakia in what is know known as the Velvet Revolution or Velvet Divorce.  He was the last president of Czechoslovakia and first president of the Czech Republic.  Vaclav was a prolific writer who changed peoples’ perspectives on politics, life, and economics.  One of his quotes is: “We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it”.  You can read more about Vaclav here.

Kim Jong Il, or the “Dear Leader” (1941-2011 ) was the dictator of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  This is more commonly known as North Korea.  While many believe, and it is put forth that North Korea is Communist, in truth only their economic system is Communist.  They are a dictatorship.  Preceding Kim Jong Il was his father Kim Il Sung (the Great Leader), and proceding his reign is his son, Kim Jon Un (the Great Successor).  Compare the words of Vaclav Havel above, with those of Kim Jong-Il in the song: “There is no motherland without you”.   You can read more about Kim Jong Il here.

“You pushed away the severe storm.
You made us believe, Comrade Kim Jong-il.
We cannot live without you.
Our country cannot exist without you!”

Vaclav Havel fought his entire life for the values of Democracy, freedom, and prosperity for his people.  He lead the only violent free revolution which resulted in two countries being formed- the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  He was revered throughout the world and will certainly be missed.  Kim Jong Il fought his entire life to maintain an iron clad grip on power by oppressing and imprisoning those who dare speak against him.  North Korea is one of the poorest countries on Earth yet they pursue nuclear weapons with a passion.  He was universally reviled and will only be missed because it is unclear what his successor brings.  Sometimes “The Devil You Know is Better Than The Devil You Don’t.”

Vaclav you will be missed.  Kim Jong Il, God help us if you are missed.

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