Kim Jong-un’s cheese addiction caused his recent mysterious absence. Living in the West had its drawbacks for the authoritarian dictator of North Korea. He supposedly developed an addiction to Emmental cheese while attending school in Switzerland. That is the firm, yellowish cheese with the holes. Agreeably delicious, but could Swiss cheese really be laying the Supreme Leader low?
Kim Jong-un has been noticeably absent from the public scene for the past three weeks. When he did not take his seat at the recent session of his rubber-stamp parliament, his disappearance began to garner serious attention. Could he have health issues keeping him from his duties? When Kim Jong-il became gravely ill and suffered a stroke the North Korean media machine kept it quiet. The lack of any information about Kim Jong-un has even caused some pundits to speculate about his death.
Finally, video of Kim Jong-un inspecting a tile factory has been released. The commentary takes note of his performing his duties despite his physical discomfort. Since North Korea is actually acknowledging an infirmity, it is now assumed by the West that nothing serious is ailing the dictator. Then the cheese theory began to travel around internet news sources.
Before his mysterious absence of nearly a month, Kim Jong-un was exhibiting weight gain and walking with a limp. It was suspected that his weight gain was either cosmetic, because North Korea values rotundness (most starving societies do) or a medical condition. Then rumors about his consumption of Swiss cheese began to swirl. Despite western sanctions, it has been reported that Kim Jong-un imports vast quantities of Emmental cheese. He may use it for sandwiches, fondues, raclettes and gratins. His cheese addiction may be so out of control that Kim Jong-un may have ruined his health. Sept. 25 was the first time the Supreme Leader has missed a session of Parliament since he assumed leadership in 2011.
Some defectors from North Korea accuse Kim Jong-un of emulating his corpulent grandfather Kim Il-sung. Kim Il-sung was the first dictator of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Of course, there is nothing democratic about North Korea. Kim Il-sung developed a cult of personality to exercise absolute control over every aspect of the government, culture and society of North Korea. The totalitarian leaders obviously have more than enough to eat while 25 million citizens struggle to maintain sustenance. Food shortages and even famine often plague the people of North Korea. If Kim Jong-un has made himself sick gorging on foreign cheese he deserves whatever discomfort he is feeling, many say.
North Korea is an isolated, secretive nation. It is impossible to know which state media is true, let alone what rumors coming out of the small country have validity. Kim Jong-un could be ailed by any sort of illness, but the West will not know for sure until the dictator himself reveals the facts. Both South Korea and the United States are fascinated by any tidbit of information from North Korea. They constantly hope that the next piece of bad news will signal the end of the communist nation.
Perhaps Kim Jong-un’s cheese addiction has caused his mysterious absence from government business. Perhaps it is wild speculation by the West with little basis for truth, but some commentators are saying that something stinks in North Korea whether it is the cheese or the politics.
By: Rebecca Savastio