But what shall we say of Rodman?
As an American with a rich and yet complicated history, he either ignores or remains blissfully unaware of his historical point of connection with those who suffer under the North Korean totalitarian regime. Sadly, he continues to assume that his wisdom and knowledge are greater than those who have lived there, and greater than numerous international human rights organizations combined.
I suppose we could surmise that his friendship with Kim is understandable, however temporary it may be; for friendships with dictators tend to rest on unstable platforms. On the surface, it would seem that the two men have much in common. They both fancy themselves as statesmen, while popular rhetoric persuades them of demigod status. Yet both Rodman and Kim Jong Un fail miserably in their roles, and it seems that their commonality trumps Rodman’s shared history with North Korea’s oppressed.
If I were Rodman, my inevitable in-flight soul-searching would no doubt include the vast darkness of this new public low, a survey of my own place in the American narrative that I have ignored, and the living North Korean souls on which I trample so carelessly.
But that’s just me.
It will be a long flight home, and I am not on that plane.
I am not Dennis Rodman.
I can only think, and wish…
For stories of life inside of North Korea from the mouths of her refugees, watch the short documentary Kimjongilia, the Official Selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. This artfully produced movie is available on Netflix.
[i] Douglas, Frederick. Life and Times of Frederick Douglas (N.Y., 1941, Pathway Press), pp 139-41.
[ii] Angelou, Maya. The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (N.Y., 1994, Random House Publishing Group),pp. 194-195.