Dynamic Despots - Part 1

Source: Foreign Policy
I wrote a bit about the most failed states in the world a few weeks ago and a bit about why they are considered 'failed'. Although each country has its own unique reasons for being screwed up, there is one thread that ties them all together - their leaders, and oftentimes dictators. 

Foreign Policy also came out with a rank of of the worst leaders in the world - ranked on a variety of criteria. Over the next few weeks (or maybe months because there is no shortage of these dynamic despots in the world), I'll be giving little bios of the leaders who make their countries unbearable to live in for the average person. 

I've done a lot of reading and researching on the conflicts in Africa, so I am a bit cynical on many of the situations there and I'm particularity critical of the leaders there. So I was a bit surprised to find that the number 1 worst leader was not from Africa. I would have guessed that the worst leader would be considered Mugabe of Zimbabwe or Bashir of Sudan. But no - the worst leader in the world right now is considered to be Kim Jong Il of North Korea. 

After 16 years in power, Kim Jong Il has done very little, if not anything, for the people of North Korea. Not only has he made it unbearable to live there by letting famine run wild and allowing poverty to grip the citizens, but he also punishes people for trying to leave. Refugees who flee to China must live in hiding because if they are caught they are sent back to North Korea where they face detention in work camps or even execution. Although the UNHCR works in China to secure a safe place for the North Korean refugees, many don't make it to the refugee camps for safety.

Organizations like the World Food Programme provide assistance to those who are suffering from malnutrition in North Korea. The country experiences many food shortages, like the one in 2008 which affected millions of people and was estimated to have killed 2-3% of the population. The World Food Programme recently launched a new operation which will benefit an estimated 2.5 million people with the majority of them being women and children.

Despite the suffering occurring in North Korea, reporters seem to not be interested in covering it unless there are people being detained. Thankfully there are organizations like WFP and UNHCR who work to aid those suffering over there. 

The good news is that bad leaders can only stay in power for so long...right?


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