Two Deaths

Kim Jong-il and Vaclav Havel died within days of each other, yet the legacies they leave behind couldn’t be more strikingly different from each other if a writer had planned it. Kim Jong-il lead a repressive authoritarian regime that routinely starved its citizens while lavishing luxury on its divine leader. Havel was instrumental in leading his country to freedom from just the kind of dictatorship that Kim Jong-il created. He suffered persecution in the form of constant government surveillance and sporadic prison sentences, yet his response was to write some of the most influence literature to come out of Central Europe.

The universe, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

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