In a move that has shocked many around the world, an Indonesian organization has made the decision to award Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s Supreme Leader, a peace and humanitarian prize. Kim will be joining the ranks of India’s Mahatma Gandhi and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, both of whom have previously been awarded the same prize.
The organization has had to jump on the defensive pretty quickly after the announcement about the peace prize was made, and with Jong Un’s reputation, it is not hard to see why. It was only just last year that an investigation into the operation of the secretive government of North Korea came back with reports denouncing them as a country of “human rights abusers without any equal in the current modern age.” The only fit comparison at the time was thought to be that of Nazi Germany.
The Huffington Post’s report on the story regarding the peace prize even cited a recent statement from Phil Robertson, Asia’s deputy director of Human Rights Watch, that had him showing just how the Jong-Un family has stayed in power so long.
“Kim Jong-Un’s power is built on the continued abuses inflicted on the North Korean people because he sits at the helm of a central government apparatus that uses public executions, extensive political prison camps, and brutal forced labor to maintain control.”
Rachmawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia’s first president and head of the foundation, maintains that Kim deserves the prize for peace. Sukarnoputri believes that Kim should be honored for his fight against neo-colonialist imperialism. She is adamant that claims of him as a ruthless dictator are untrue and nothing but Western World propaganda.
“Those Western governments like to put ugly labels on North Korea.”
While there has been a steady outpouring of ridicule at the news, if the history of Indonesia and North Korea is taken into account, the announcement may be less shocking, if no less outrageous. Kim Jong Un’s late grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and Sukarnoputri’s father, Sukarno, actually had quite an established and friendly relationship during Sukarno’s presidential term from 1945 to 1967. Indeed, the organization had posthumously given the same prize to Kim Jong Un’s grandfather after he died in 1994, which they now seek to make him the recipient of.
Rachmawati has compared Jong Un to her father, who led Indonesia’s independence struggle and ruled Southeast Asia’s archipelago until he was overthrown in 1965. The Washington Post has her stating to Indonesia’s Jakarta Post her stance regarding Kim Jong Un’s dictator label.
“It’s common [to be branded a dictator]. To stand on one’s principles in reaching a goal, many consider this the behavior of a dictator.”
Earlier this year, reports were received that Kim Jong Un ordered executions of 15 of his senior officials and a few members of the Unhasu Orchestra. In fact, Jang Song-Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s own uncle and mentor, was accused by him of corruption and treason in 2013 and eventually executed.
Kim Jong Un is scheduled to receive his prize for “peace, justice and humanity” in September.
[Photo Courtesy of Ed Jones via Getty Images]