Let Us Commemorate AntitrusteeshipThe National Fight for Freedom And Democracy Should Be Remembered
Fifty-five years ago on Dec. 28, the allies who freed us from the fetters of Japanese colonial rule announced that Korea would be placed under a trusteeship. This news came as an unwelcome shock amid the emotional turmoil following the liberation. Immediately, people all over the country arose against trusteeship in a movement that outdid the March 1st Independence Move-ment of 1919. As the chairman of the National Student Antitrustee-ship Federation, I participated in the Committee to Mobilize the People against the Trusteeship, set up in the offices of the provisional government. Also working with the committee were such leaders from overseas as Syngman Rhee and Kim Koo; Song Chin-u and Kim Song-su, representing the Korean Democratic Party; and social organizations from all over the country.
I can never forget the words of encouragement Kim Koo spoke at that time: "In the March 1st Independence Movement we opposed the Japanese. Now, in this second movement for independence we oppose the placement of Korea under a trusteeship. With the help of these reinforcements from the Student Antitrusteeship Federation, let us beat the trusteeship and win our self-determination." Only three days after this meeting, the members of the communist bloc, including Lyuh Woon-hyung and Pak Hon-yong, all switched sides and declared their support for the trusteeship. They pushed aside the Korean Democratic Party, led by the nationalist Cho Man-sik, and chose Kim Il Sung, a former lieutenant in the Soviet Army, as their leader, quickly setting up the People''s Committee and the People''s Army and establishing a base in north Korea for the unification of the peninsula under communism. With this, citizens and students who had previously known nothing about communism came to see the Communist Party in its true colors and felt compelled to oppose not only the trusteeship but communism as well. "Antitrusteeship" became a synonym for anticommunism and democracy.
As the antitrusteeship movement swept across the country, the American-Soviet Commission was dissolved and the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea was formed to oversee free elections. Stalin and Kim Il Sung, however, refused to allow the commission into the North and the elections were therefore held in the South only. A constitutional committee was formed, with 100 empty seats left for representatives from the North, and a government was formed, which was recognized by the United Nations as the only legitimate government on the peninsula.
Now, these many years later, we are presented with a proposal not for unification under freedom and democracy but for a federation scheme. Far from bringing us closer to reunification, the government has besmirched the legitimacy achieved by the early founders of the Republic of Korea.
This is all the natural consequence of allowing the antitrusteeship, anticommunist fight for freedom and democracy that drove the founding of the Republic of Korea to pass into oblivion. President Kim Dae-jung has essentially given amnesty to the terrorists who killed 3 million Koreans and more than 50,000 American soldiers in their invasion of the South, blew up a Korean Air passenger liner and killed Korean government officials in an explosion in Rangoon. And how can he call a man who has turned North Korea into a totalitarian society devoid of human rights "a discerning, wonderful person" or say he is sorry that Kim Jong-il and he could not receive the Nobel Peace Prize together?
So that all Koreans can know and remember the real story of how our country was founded and the principles upon which it was established, the antitrusteeship movement should be commemorated nationwide along with the March 1st Independence Move-ment.
The writer is president of the National Congress of Freedom and Democracy.
by Lee Chul-seung