With September came the near fall of another Communitst leader, as Kim Jong Il, dictator over North Korea vanished from the limelight, joining his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro in the murky depths of unknown, fiercely hidden ailments.
The realist in me knows that both leaders are gravely ill. Kim Jong Il is said to have suffered a stroke early this month and hasn’t since been seen in public — even for state celebrations. In a similar light, Castro, who seems to have largely recovered from last year’s digestive problems, has resigned from his official state role in Cuban politics and now stays largely out of the public eye — no doubt because he is still an aging, fragile man.
But the conspiracy theorist in my has broader, more hopeful aspirations. I think about these two ailing leaders and wonder if perhaps, Communism has taken a toll on them over these last years and if maybe they’ve finally thrown in the towel and headed out to the beach for some good old vaycay.
I see Kim Jong and Fidel sitting on chaise lounges in the Indonesian Archipelago somewhere, bare feet up and drinking out of coconuts while looking out at the setting sun over a crisp, white beach. And Kim Jong looks over, out of his massive blue blockers at Fidel as the Cuban puts down his latest Harry Potter book to take a pull off his strawberry daiquiri. And Kim says, “Hey buddy… we gave it a shot.”
Wherever you two are, know this: I would take two old school Communist evil doers over one rambunctious Latin American president any day of the week. May your countries be open and peaceful and prosperous without you.