Sometimes these things happen. Yes, when your nephew by marriage is running an absolute dictatorship--one that has all the subtlety of Orwell's Oceania--it is best to stay on his good side.
Mr. Jang Song-thaek was publicly led away in shame during some sort of communist party confab the other day in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Since then his images in news films and official photographs have begun to disappear. You know--as if he was never there--anywhere--ever. The Grand and Exalted Muckety-muck of the DPRK, Kim Jong-un has apparently decided Jang's close proximity to him in photos and on film is a political liability. This despite the fact most believe Jang was Kim's chief PR man and protector during the transition of power after North Korea's previous leader, Kim Jong-il died.
The Christian Science Monitor speculates the reason for his unceremonious removal was because the military disapproved of Jang's economic policies, which they decided were a tad too capitalistic. Kim may be many things, but he isn't stupid. He runs the place, at least for now, but he also realizes other people command the tanks. In places like North Korea, you're in charge only so long as the army agrees with you. That means rogue uncles are immediately and breathtakingly expendable.
The official list of offenses committed by Jang is kinda sorta specific. According to the state media, he is guilty of being, "anti party" and committing, "factional acts." As if these weren't enough he was also slapped with living a, "dissolute and depraved life." In addition the government claimed Jang had inappropriate relationships with several women and was guilty of drug use. My personal favorite, however, was the accusation he was, "dreaming different dreams." Hey, let's face it, that one will nail you every time.
Obviously the North Koreans aren't going to put up with the wildly decadent behavior which has been blatantly displayed by the mayor of Toronto, or even by Kim's BFF Dennis Rodman.
Yeah, Dennis you might want to rethink the exhibition basketball tour you've been planning for the DPRK this month. Apparently your bud isn't too fond of the lifestyle you've been neck deep in for decades.
None of this should be surprising. Every few months Kim has to show everyone the size of his penis and scrotum. Back in October his military basically kidnapped 85 year old Korean War veteran, Merrill Newman, who had been on an official tour of the country. Before releasing him they forced Newman to read a grammatically stupefying "confession" in which he admitted to "indelible crimes against the DPRK government and Korean people. Please forgive me," he said to the cameras. "I want not punish me."
Newman also pledged that on his return he'd tell, "the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are living."
We can hardly wait for that description now he is safely back in the states, although the truth is the State Department may try to put a damper on his enthusiastic depiction of life in North Korea. After all, American, Kenneth Bae is still being held and there is no telling what the reaction might be in Pyongyang if Newman actually speaks his mind.
Bae, was arrested last November and is currently doing 15 years of hard labor for single handedly, "attempting to over throw the government."
The aforementioned George Orwell created the omnipotent Big Brother in his novel, "1984." Obviously in North Korea you not only have to worry about that dude, but Little Nephew as well.
Man, I thought it was cold here.