The Life and Death of Kim Jong-il: North Korea's 'Dear Leader'

Monday, December 19, 2011

South Koreans watch a television broadcast following the announcement of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, at the Seoul Railwat Station on December 19, 2011 in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images/Getty)

He ruled North Korea with an iron fist for 17 years. His infamous isolationism and nuclear ambitions made him a part of George W. Bush's notorious "Axis of Evil." He was one of the last Communist leaders in the world around whom a cult of personality existed. But how Kim Jong-il, the North Korean dictator, will be truly be remembered by his people is yet to be seen. Referred to as "Dear Leader," Kim sank his country into deep famine and ravaged its economy. Though media images out of North Korea may show people weeping in the streets, it's hard to know whether there is real grief behind the tears.

John Hockenberry looks at the life and death of Kim Jong-il, and speaks with the BBC's Lucy Williamson about how South Koreans are reacting to the news out of their northern neighbor.

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