March 4, 2013
Dennis Rodman’s Controversial Visit To North Korea
I didn’t expect to see Dennis Rodman, the former Chicago Bulls superstar, and Kim Jong Un’s name paired together in the same news article. However, the articles about this trip have taken over my news feed. Dennis Rodman made an unexpected visit to North Korea.
He went to North Korea with three members of the famous Harlem Globetrotters for an exhibition basketball game. The popular picture that is circulating is Kim Jong Un on the left and Dennis Rodman in a nice suit and dark sunglasses on the right. To top it all off, Dennis Rodman has a can of coke next to him, a small piece of Americana in the communist controlled country of North Korea.
I don’t agree with Rodman on several things, but I do like what he did and what he tried to accomplish with his trip to the secluded country of North Korea.
I am not surprised that Rodman had a great time in North Korea, or that the North Koreans gave him what he called an “epic feast.” It was nice that the North Korean government treated them so well, but what about the vast majority of the population in North Korea who are starving to death or suffering from malnourishment?
Rodman also said that Kim Jong Un was an “awesome guy.” The thing I have a problem with is that he also said that Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather were “great leaders.” It will come as no surprise to many of you that the United States government didn’t like that comment very much.
I have met a few people who have been to North Korea, and they said that they were treated really well and had good meals. When North Korea has guest they give them what they can, that way when they report back to their home country they can only talk about their positive experiences.
The North Korean government wants to ensure that its guest have a wonderful experience when they visit North Korea, even though a large section of the North Korean population is living in terrible conditions, including a lack of plumbing and inadequate housing.
Rodman also claimed at Pyongyang’s Sunan airport, on his way to Beijing, that it was “amazing” that the North Koreans were “so honest.” My question to Rodman is this – what were they honest about? Did Kim Jong Un tell him, “Yes, our people are starving even though you are having an ‘epic feast’”? If so, then Kim Jong Un would be a rather honest person.
I have criticized him enough for what I think he has done wrong. I would like to wrap this post up on a more positive note.
I actually like that Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters went to North Korea to spread peace through basketball. They even put two of the Americans on each of the Koreans team, and they ended the game with a tie 110-110.
I had the privilege of watching the Harlem Globetrotters when I was a child. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope that the North Koreans who had the privilege of attending the show enjoyed it as much as I did.
Apparently, Rodman even invited Kim Jong Un to visit the United States and he just laughed. I hope that this was a sincere gesture from Rodman, and that Kim Jong Un seriously considers changing his tactics of dealing with the United States, and by extension South Korea.
Afterword: This was a trip done completely by civilians. The American government had nothing to do with it. It is completely legal for Americans to visit North Korea. However, a person can only visit North Korea if they first travel to Beijing, China. People cannot visit North Korea by going through South Korea.
Image Credit: REUTERS / VICE / Handout