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nikkibong
08-18-2009, 02:56 PM
....no, not necessarily to Robert Novak.

Rather, Kim Dae Jung, the great champion of South Korean liberalism, democracy, and civil society, died today in Seoul.

While he spent the last years of his life advocating a more conciliatory approach to Kim Jong Il than I would have preferred, he did so with the utmost sincerity in his belief that engagement would actually improve the lives of North Koreans.

A tireless defender of South Korea's feisty civil society and democracy movement, President Kim is a hero for giving the lie to amoral realists who claim that "some cultures just aren't ready for democracy and human rights."

His support for democracy almost got him killed ... twice.

I was in Seoul last week, and he had already been admitted to the hospital: watching Korean news (brushing up on my rather rusty memory of the beautiful tongue!), his condition seemed to have stabilized. So this comes as a profound disappointment.

Spare a though for this brave, honorable, and altrustic man today.

UPDATE: The Korea Herald rather unadvisedly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Il-sung) refers to Kim as a "Great Leader," but provides a brief obit: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/08/18/200908180087.asp