Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Kim Jong-Il is dead! This song popped into my head the instant I heard the news this morning, and it's been singing in my head all day. The news spread rapidly through my office, and I'm pretty sure not much work got done over the next hour, as we all sat and refreshed news sites over and over looking for updates. The atmosphere was almost joyous - but this momentous occasion was marred somewhat by the thought that well... Kim Jong-Il was the devil we knew. He threatened to turn Seoul into a sea of fire on numerous occasions, but he never actually did it. Will his successor show similar restraint? This concern was discussed at length among my coworkers - many of whom are either working at my company as interns in lieu of active duty military service, or who are military reservists. The South Korean military has been placed on alert - just in case.
Kim Jong-Il named his 20-something son, Kim Jong Un as his official successor last year, but he's young and inexperienced. Will the old guard follow him? If so, what kind of leader will he make? If not, what kind of power struggle will ensue? Will the people rise up, or will they meekly suffer a new dictator? At this point, it's impossible to predict what will happen.
I'd say I'll keep you posted, but getting accurate news out of North Korea is pretty damn near impossible in the best of times.