Most Western world leaders and organizations have been relatively mum about the passing of North Korean dictator Kim Jong – Il. This is not surprising: Kim Jong –Il was considered a volatile kook with access to nukes and most leaders in Europe and North America couldn’t stand him.
I’m sure President Obama did a high five with some of his DOD friends when he got the news. However, it’s important to note that other nations, beyond the typical gadflies like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, had a much different view of Kim Jong – Il and have expressed their sadness in much more powerful ways.
The ANC Youth League has long been known as one of the most aggressive and progressive elements of modern South African politics. Their actions, some violent and some explicitly political, have put them in the crosshairs of South African political leaders on more than one occasion. But, in a move of solidarity with a fellow ‘comrade’ in communism the Youth League has put forth one of the most glowing and effusive eulogies of the fallen “Dear Leader” that any political organization has released publicly. ANC Youth Leader Abner Mosaase praised Kim Jong – Il for taking his people out of poverty, ending homelessness, cleaning up the environment and defending North Korea from the imperialists in the South and the West.
Now, let’s overlook the fact that by all accounts North Korea is an environmental and human rights nightmare the likes of which even makes the Chinese squeamish. That is not what’s interesting about the ANCYL letter. The real kicker for those of us not living in South Africa is that this letter is a reminder of the still very strong communist sentiments that exist in South Africa: A nation that hosted the World Cup last year and is still considered one of the continent’s shining examples of capitalist progress.
Communist nations like China, Cuba and South Korea were instrumental in arming and training the ANC during their decades long battles against apartheid while the United States and Europe looked the other way as long as we kept getting cheap diamonds. Even in this glowing post-apartheid and capitalist era, a major wing of the ruling African National Congress party is still praising a man that the United States labeled a member of the Axis of Evil just a few years ago. This isn’t necessarily something that should keep us up at night, but it is another indicator of the disconnect between U.S. opinion about other world leaders and just about everyone else in the 3rd world.
Dr. Jason Johnson, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at www.drjasonjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson