View from the 6th floor

“I hope that the journalists present here report only the absolute truth,” said Ri Jinju, her voice trembling, her hair frozen with hairspray. “The truth about how much our people miss our comrade Kim Jong Il, and how strong the unity is between the people and leadership … to build a great, prosperous and powerful nation.”  so it was reported in the NZ Herald this week as the journalist’s bus inadvertently took the wrong road on the carefully managed tour in North Korea.

It’s the 193rd richest country per capita in the world.  Which I guess makes it close to the poorest country in the world. South Korea is 40th, New Zealand 48th. It has a little over 700 km of paved roads, New Zealand over 68,000 km. So when I read tonight that the new leader of this sad place said it had built a “mighty military” capable of both offence and defence in any type of modern warfare, it really struck me at how serious demented and deluded leadership can have such serious implications for those being led (nowhere!).  The whole drama of a family handing down its power and treating its dead former leaders like some sort of Messiah is very Monty Pythonesque. But I guess, that it really is quite serious, not just for the danger to the region but to all the poor starving people who have to live there.

The hired help who lived on the 6th floor in the French movie “The women on the 6th floor” know a bit about narcissistic leadership too. Confined to tiny rooms with no facilities and a shared, permanently blocked, toilet they work tirelessly without complaint. It’s 1962.  When one of “the bossess” ventures to their living quarters he discovers as much about himself as he does about the women.

Perhaps Kim Jo Un should take the road the Western Journalists went down and ask himself, like the Boss who visited the 6th floor, “what I am really doing to these people?”.

Leader? Yeah right!.

A delightful movie, with a Whatever Works theme about it.


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