London, Aug 21 : A former Korean academic has revealed how he first met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il who was an ordinary student, who turned into a tyrant that rid Pyongyang of the disabled and ordered his entire family killed.
Kim Hyun-sik (76) recollected North Korean leader Kim's boyhood based on his experience as a private tutor for the late Kim Il-sung's children in the 1970s, in an article in the September-October issue of Foreign Policy magazine.
Kim Hyun-sik is now a research professor at George Mason University in Virginia. He fled North Korea, where he taught Russian at Pyongyang University of Education, in 1992 and arrived in the US later.
Titled "The Secret History of Kim Jong-il," Kim Hyun-sik remembers Kim Jong-il as a "blushing and shy student" when he saw him first in October 1959.
"So many times I've imagined killing him and then killing myself," he writes of his former student in a powerful new memoir in Foreign Policy magazine, which pulls back the curtain on the Supreme Leader's background.
The piece, in one of the most influential US publications, is likely to fuel criticism North Korea and embolden the US conservatives who demand military intervention there, The Independent reported.
But Professor Kim said he has just one wish that Kim Jong-il open the country's doors to the freedom and abundance the rest of the world enjoys.
Until then, he is determined to tell everyone what he has seen: "A young, innocent boy who turned into a monster, and a country so full of promise transformed into a concentration camp."
The story begins in 1959. The professor, who Kim Il Sung had handpicked to tutor his family in Russian, summoned Kim Jnr, then 17, to take an oral test.
The dictator-to-be was a 17-year-old senior in high school at the time. Anxious about his son's proficiency in Russian, Kim Il-sung sent Kim Hyun-sik to the elite Namsan Senior High School to evaluate his son's proficiency.
Kim Hyun-sik recollects that despite his proficiency in Russian grammar, Kim Jong-il performed poorly in an oral Russian exam, silently taking the exam without advertising himself as a son of the great leader.
Especially during the oral exam, he blushed and perspired. Kim says he still remembers what he asked the student and what answer he gave 50 years ago. "I love and respect my father most, the putative dear leader said. I enjoy films more than sports."
Kim Hyun-sik says he was told that after he fled North Korea, his family in North Korea were sent to a labour camp and executed afterwards. He confesses to such great pain when he thinks of what Kim Jong-il did to his family that he frequently imagines killing him and then committing suicide.
Kim Jong-il exacted a terrible price for that betrayal. Professor Kim's wife, daughters and son, their spouses and "even our dear grandchildren" were apparently sent to state gulags and murdered.
"To this day, I know nothing of the details of their deaths, of whether they blamed me as they perished." Today, up to 200,000 people are still being held in the North Korea's gulags, according to the US State Department.
Years later after he had inherited his father's exclusive powers, Professor Kim alleges that the student would order his alma mater blown up to eliminate potential rivals to his own children.