[EDITORIALS]‘History war’ begins at homeIt is said that the government has decided to settle the issue of the distortion of the history of the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo by the Chinese authorities by biding its time. If the Chinese government continues to refuse to correct the distortions it has made on the history of Goguryeo, there are very limited means at our disposal.
If there is no means with which we can win a quick victory, our best option is applying diplomatic pressure on the governmental level with a long-term view, while cooperating with North Korea, which possesses various Goguryeo relics and accumulated research on Goguryeo, in setting the record straight.
Above all, the public must show an active attitude in learning and understanding our history, including the history of Goguryeo. Unless we know our own history, we will not be able to deal efficiently and systematically with China’s historical distortions or the offenses committed by the Japanese.
A history that is ignored and shunned by its own people is bound to be stolen and distorted. Therefore, the most urgent task here is to educate our people about our history.
Unfortunately, the history education classes in our elementary, middle and high schools, and universities are extremely insufficient. In elementary and middle school, the number of history classes per week has shrunk.
History classes are compulsory only in the first year of high school, where students learn up until the second half of the Joseon Dynasty. The classes are optional in the second year, and many students choose world history instead because they feel Korean history is too difficult. Moreover, Korean history is not a compulsory subject of the Scholastic Ability Test for university entrance. It has also been recently taken out of many government exams for public service.
Of course, a chauvinistic attitude that emphasizes only the education of our own history is not desirable. However, it is important to understand one’s own history within the context of the world’s, so that one can work in the world market proudly with a sense of independence and national identity.
The government should reinforce research on our history at a national level and revise the current education system that treats Korean history as an unwanted subject. The first step to winning a “history war” with other countries is to learn about one’s history and to take pride in it.