[EDITORIALS]Honesty, Mr. SongThe voluntary return of a South Korean-born sociologist currently living in Germany has created social discord. The sociologist, Song Du-yul, denies the allegations against him and refuses to repent for his mistakes.
Mr. Song’s visit to the German Embassy in Seoul yesterday to complain to German officials that his lawyer was not allowed to attend an interrogation session during the National Intelligence Service’s investigation into his activities, and that the authorities had made false claims about him, exacerbated his standing with the Korean public. The public interprets his actions as seeking Germany’s intervention in his case.
Unless the purpose of Mr. Song’s visit here is an intricate plan to confirm his pro-North inclinations, he should not deny them and make excuses for allegations already shown to be true. He must admit the truth and show contrition. South Korea is a country of laws. The allegations against Mr. Song make it hard for him to avoid facing a trial.
If Mr. Song wants to stand trial to prove his innocence instead of being deported, as he purports to, he should first admit his wrongs and apologize for his illegal actions. The people are not asking Mr. Song to betray his conscience and philosophy. They are merely asking him to stop all pro-North political deeds he carries out as an influential member of the North Korean Workers’ Party. Mr. Song is refusing to do even that small bit.
Mr. Song hid his identity and actions, even from those close to him. Because of this, many of his friends and acquaintances are turning their backs on him now. Mr. Song should refrain from his recent pattern: admitting to facts about his past in the face of evidence presented by the authorities only to deny them publicly later. He must face the truth that such self-betrayal will not work.
Mr. Song should not underestimate Korean society. The “emotional gap” of having been away from Korea for so long is no excuse to lie and recant continuously. If Mr. Song truly wants to return to his native country, he must become more honest and sincere. That would be the least he could do to win sympathy and forgiveness.