Is Kim Jong Un dead? He has not been seen in public for weeks, and all over the globe there is speculation that he has passed away following a botched surgery. It is being reported that an emergency heart procedure went bad because his doctor's hands were shaking, and according to a magazine in Japan, that resulted in Kim Jong Un going into a "vegetative state." But, of course, we don't really know for sure what happened, and the North Korean government is insisting that he is alive and well.
South Korea is also saying it has "enough intelligence" to say the dictator is still alive. And it is entirely possible that Kim Jong Un just pulled a fast one on us and that he will come out of hiding tomorrow. But if the rumors are true, this could finally be the moment that the people of North Korea have been waiting for. After decades of living under tyranny, this could finally be the moment when freedom arrives.
It has been said that there is no place on Earth worse than a North Korean prison camp. Many will remember King Jong Un for his comical relationship with Donald Trump, but let there be no doubt that he was a tyrant. He ruthlessly murdered any North Korean who crossed him, and that included members of his own extended family.
And considering the fact that he was still fairly young, it was expected that he would rule North Korea for decades to come. But at this point he has not been seen in public since April 11, and it was very strange that he did not make an appearance for the April 15 festivities:
April 15 is North Korea's most important holiday, the Day of the Sun.
It celebrates the birthday of the country's founding father, Kim Il Sung, and has in the past been marked with events like satellite launches and massive military parades. The North Korean calendar even begins on April 15 and years are measured from the date of Kim's birth.
Subsequently, there were reports that a team of medical experts had been sent from China to help North Korean doctors treat him:
The whereabouts and health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remain shrouded in mystery—but Reuters is reporting that China sent medical experts to the communist state in an advisory capacity. The delegation left Beijing on Thursday, but the news agency said it was unable to determine what the trip indicated about Kim's medical condition. Kim has not been seen in public for two weeks, sparking reports that he had fallen gravely ill after some type of surgery.
It definitely sounded like Kim Jong Un was facing something very serious, and then there have been all of the rumors about the "botched surgery" over the past several days.
But at this point the North Korean government keeps insisting that he is "alive and well":
South Korea continued to pour water on mounting speculation about the health of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, telling CNN he is "alive and well."
"Our government position is firm," Moon Chung-in, the top foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, told CNN. "Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected."
So we will just have to wait and see what happens.
But it is interesting to note that the people of North Korea seem to be quite convinced that the rumors are true:
Residents in the North Korean capital have resorted to panic-buying amid reports that controversial leader Kim Jong Un is gravely ill or dead, according to a report.
Store shelves in Pyongyang were being cleaned out of everything from liquor to laundry detergent, canned fish to cigarettes in recent days — as conflicting reports continue to surface about the portly dictator's possible demise, the Washington Post wrote Sunday.
If Kim Jong Un really is dead, we might not get official confirmation until a new leader is firmly in place, and so far most of the speculation has centered on his sister, Kim Yo Jong.
Not that much is known about Kim Yo Jong, but we do know that she has been strongly supportive of her brother's regime and we also know that she represented the regime publicly at some key events:
Her first public appearance was at her father's funeral in 2011. Since then, she has worked quietly in the background of Kim Jong Un's regime, even accompanying him in 2018 as he met South Korean leader Moon Jae-in during the historic summit between the two nations.
Just months beforehand, she attended the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, becoming the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the region since the end of the Korean War in 1953. She later attended a highly publicized lunch with Moon Jae-in.
As I told my wife earlier, it is entirely possible that Kim Yo Jong could be even worse than Kim Jong Un.
But let's hope that will not be the case.
If Kim Jong Un really is gone, let's pray that this will finally be a historic turning point for the people of North Korea.
The mainstream media in the western world rarely talks about it anymore, but the truth is that there is a vast network of concentration camps all across North Korea, and thousands upon thousands of people are deeply suffering in these camps every hour of every day.
According to Amnesty International, these camps hold "at least 200,000 men, women and children":
Amnesty estimates that these camps hold at least 200,000 men, women and children (estimates by other human rights groups are much higher). Untold numbers of innocent North Koreans have passed through and passed away in the camps since they were created 60 years ago. Most have no idea why they were arrested; they are held without charge or trial, without access to an independent judiciary.
Offenses that might lead to arrest include: criticizing the ruling family; listening to unauthorized radio broadcasts; trying to leave the country; performing poorly on the job. Many are held simply because they are related to someone who was detained – husbands, wives, children, grandparents, siblings, cousins.
Of course, one of the main offenses that can get you sent to one of these camps is being a Christian.
One Christian woman who survived being put in a camp described it as "one long living nightmare":
But any sense of happiness or relief quickly disappeared when I arrived at the camp. I remember seeing moving, shapeless forms. It took me a moment to realize they were people. Some were bent over; others were missing an arm or a leg. I looked down at my own arms and legs, thin like matches. I didn't look much better than the other inmates.
In the camp, I work 12 hours a day. Sometimes more. Every day is just one long living nightmare. But at least I am not alone in a cell anymore.
Eventually she encountered other Christians in the camp, and they ultimately formed a secret church.
But then one day one of the leaders of the secret church was grabbed by authorities and taken to the infamous Kwan-li-so maximum security prison:
Inside this North Korean prison, we wound up forming a secret church. When we met and felt safe enough, we prayed the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed.
She was actually much braver than I was. She spoke to others about Christ as well.
That's why one day a car came to pick her up. When I saw her leave, I knew they were taking her to a maximum-security Kwan-li-so. I knew I would never see her again.
No matter how bad your problems are, they pale in comparison to what those living in these camps are going through on a daily basis.
For their sake, and for the sake of every precious soul living in North Korea, let us pray that this is the moment when freedom finally breaks out in that nation.
Millions of North Koreans are living in total darkness, and they have deeply suffered for so long. There is now a spark of hope, and we should do all that we can to help fan that spark into a flame.
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