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North Korea is something of an enigma. The outside world has little access to the daily workings of the country, internet connections are few, and reserved for the ruling elite. Despite this Kim Jong Il, the country’s long-time ruler was one of the most recognisable figures in international politics. It isn’t all that surprising, therefore, that his death became a trending topic on Twitter.
A number of those tweeting about the dictator’s death were simply sharing the news:
Kim Jong-il, Dictator Who Turned North Korea Into a Nuclear State, Dies nyti.ms/rKzqa9
— NYTimes World (@nytimesworld) December 19, 2011
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dies: In later life, he gave up heavy drinking on the advice of his doctors, swi… bit.ly/s4Po9H
— Dave Palmer (@dpalmer1098) December 19, 2011
— Paul (@PKCarpenter) December 19, 2011
Others noted his obsession with basketball:
I hope Kim Il Jong’s death doesn’t further delay the start of Basketball season. #northkorea
— Jason Smith (@thelegalstep) December 19, 2011
I know only two things after 2 hours of coverage. 1. Kim Jong-il is dead. 2. Kim Jong -un likes basketball. #c‘mon
— Sharlene (@JusteSunshine) December 19, 2011
Let’s take a sec to acknowledge Kim Jong Il. According to NK, he invented Hamburgers, basketball, and is the world’s best golfer. #INSANE
— Emma Taylor (@emmarolyat) December 19, 2011
Another speculated on what might happen to the “Kim Jong Il looking at things” tumblr blog:
Of course, the saddest part about Kim Jong-Il dying is there’ll be no more of these: kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com
— James Marshall (@jamesbmarshall) December 19, 2011
Wanna know more about how kim jong il looking at things? This will help you to understand kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com
— Fiona Verisqa (@verisqa) December 19, 2011
NyTimes News N. Korea Says Dictator, Kim Jong-il, Dies: The North kept news of Mr. Kim’s death a secret for roug…oio.gr//94
— Jehovah’s Witness (@JwForum) December 19, 2011
Kim Jong Il doesn’t look at things anymorekimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com
— Julie R جولي (@JulR) December 19, 2011
One frequently shared article concerned 10 of the “most insane delusions of Kim Jong Il” and covers everything from his belief that his birth was divine, to the fact that he imprisoned the relatives of convicts, owing to his conviction that “the stain of criminality” persists for three generations:
— Antoine Aoun (@ant1aou1) December 19, 2011
Sultan Al-Qassimi: Giant Rabbits and Double Rainbows: The 10 Most Insane Delusions of Kim Jong-il gaw.kr/vLfMoj
— Ahmad ashour (@a340aviator) December 19, 2011
— Rory Brady (@RoryBrady) December 19, 2011
The 10 Most Insane Delusions of Kim Jong-Il gaw.kr/sz7MaV The man was a nutter.
— Peter McFeely (@mcfeelyp) December 19, 2011
Some saw the North Korean leader’s death as an opportunity to dole out a little dark humour:
However Kim Jong il will be remembered for inspiring his national football team to World Cup glory & all his holes in 1 on the golf course!
— Prince Harry (@Prince___Harry) December 19, 2011
— Barnaby Edwards (@BarnabyEdwards) December 19, 2011
The greatest golfer of all time has died. North Korean state TV said that in his first-ever round, Kim Jong Il was 38 under par with 5 aces.
— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) December 19, 2011
Kim Jong Il is dead! I guess his son Kim Jong-un must be Ronery!
— Graeme Lipschitz (@Wallfish) December 19, 2011
Wahaha > RT @ChrisRoperZA: Kim Jong Il assassinated as part of Nando’s marketing campaign. The things they do to sell chicken.
— Mike Sharman (@mikesharman) December 19, 2011
Kim Jong Il is dead but we still have to take care of Kourtney Jong Il and Khloe Jong Il before we can rejoice.
— Barack Obama (@ThePresObama) December 19, 2011
A slew of puns around the “Il” part of Kim Jong Il’s name also emerged:
KIM JONG II DEAD! TALK ABOUT AWFUL SEQUEL!
— DRUNK HULK (@DRUNKHULK) December 19, 2011
Should I keep count of the number of Kim Jong jokes that are a play on the word ‘ill’ today?
— Andy Morwood (@morwoo) December 19, 2011
“oh, it’s kim jong il, i thought it was kim jong the second.” #thingsiwishsomeonewouldsay
— barns (@barnsisnoble) December 19, 2011
Kim Jong-Il has died, but they’ve already found a young ‘un to replace him.
— Karen Jeynes (@karenjeynes) December 19, 2011
North Korean tyrant dictator Kim Jong dead? I didn’t know the poor chap was il, remarkable.
— Tweeter Alliss (@TweeterAlliss) December 19, 2011
The Huffington Post, meanwhile, tweeted out its list of the best impressions of the North Korean dictator on film and television (Yes Team America is right up there):
Kim Jong Il on ‘South Park,’ ’30 Rock’ and more huff.to/u8ZguS
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) December 19, 2011
More serious users compared the legacy of Czech leader Vaclav Havel — who helped peacefully bring his country out of communist rule — with that of his North Korean Counterpart. Havel died one day after Kim Jong Il, although his death was made public to the world first:
A friend writes: “So Kim Jong Il, Havel & Hitchens are waiting outside Heaven’s door….” Sounds like the start of a great joke.
— jamescrabtree (@jamescrabtree) December 19, 2011
— Rudy Katoch (@RudyKatoch) December 19, 2011
Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-il die. Only one will be missed.
— Juha Heikkinen (@Juha_Heikkinen) December 19, 2011