Kim Han Sol: A Generation in the Making

Author’s Note: Faizaa Fatima presents to you a depoliticized account wherein she discusses her views on the newly unleashed Kim. By no means does it represent the views of the Ministry of Unification or seek to promote the views of any party in the matter. 

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In a rare televised interview, Kim Han Sol, Kim Jong-Il’s grandson elucidates his dreams, passions, and his take on unification and world peace.[1]

I admit I knew little about the fourth generation of the Kim dynasty until my fellow Correspondent Lee Seongmin introduced me to him. I only had a perfunctory interest in him, having been someone who was on the verge of enrolling at the United World College (UWC) of Southern Africa/Waterford Kamhlaba, the sister school of UWC of Bosnia-Herzegovina/Mostar, where the little Kim happens to be currently enrolled. Thus began my process of being acquainted with Kim Han Sol solely through his recent interview, interweb sources withstanding. In this article, I attempt to provide you an unseasoned perspective of the Kim family’s newly unleashed scion.

In the interview recently aired on Finnish television and conducted by Elisabeth Rehn, a former UN Diplomat and Minister of Defence, the little Kim tackles the questions with unwavering authority and aplomb. Therein, I see an impeccably dressed 17-year old with a well-defined world perspective, with inklings of dreams and the trajectory he wants to pursue for the future. The magic realist in me sees him as “The Little Prince,” willing to explore the world in his own terms. I see a teenager deciding to apply to the chain of UN-supported high school programs, with a desire to explore the world beyond Macau, with a penchant for what he terms a “different experience,” something I think he has truly excelled at during his term in Mostar. Through his roommate from Libya, he has possibly learnt a lot more about the Libyan uprising and developed a more unique perspective than I did through my media-supported assessment of US administrative action in the region. His multi-cultural experience of UWC is imparting to him the much-needed peace-building skills that can only best be advocated by the UN.

In the words of Chad Harbach, the author of “The Art of Fielding,” the little Kim, “in search of useful wisdom,” is making a turn towards “the most hackneyed concepts, like kindness, forbearance, infinite patience.” Through his didactic classroom experience, Kim comes to an understanding that underlying every conflict is a set of “very similar core set of human values,” and learns to reach a common ground in a multitude of political discussions with his peers as well. It is this very insight on human nature that has contributed most to his critical thinking; his experiences have taught him to discern varying opinions in order to reach his own conclusion, evident in his thoughts concerning the Korean peninsula.

Having navigated the ideological identities of his own unique circle of North Korean acquaintances and South Korean friends from Macau, he reveals having never met his grandfather or uncle before. However, that physical detachedness has not insulated him from developing a keen interest in the plight of his fellow citizens in the North. He dreams of going back to North Korea to “make things better, make it easier for the people there.” Mr. Kim is earnest in his yearning to bridge the gap between the two Koreas, in his longing to “contribute to world peace, especially back home.” He believes that, in a manner similar to his simulated in-class discussions, the two Koreas can eventually reach an ultimatum, regardless of the number of steps required to eventually make it come to fruition.

Kim Han Sol definitely appears to be someone with a mind of his own. He is an articulate, composed and insightful young man at ease with himself. He is one with a broader perspective of peace-building, unification withstanding. Surrounded by the diversity and interactive classroom experience at UWC, he is developing a critical take on issues beyond the peninsular politics, i.e. the little-big world issues at hand, ones he really feels passionate about.

I had initially started this article with the (eventually failed) intent of discussing Mr. Kim’s perspective on unification, which he briefly mentions during the interview. I don’t think Kim Han Sol deserves any more politicizing than he has already been subject to. For now, I am just unmistakably enthusiastic about how he goes on to employ his education, his world perspective for the better good of the global community.

Embedded below is the video for Kim’s 30-minute long interview with Rehn. The interview begins at the 1:35 mark and has been conducted in English.

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