[EDITORIALS]Let experts assess historyControversy has become amplified following the disclosure of the pro-Japanese activities of Uri Party leader Shin Ki-nam’s father, who served in the Japanese military police during the colonial era. Critics of the Roh administration said this incident showed that no one is free from Korea’s past. The supporters of the administration argued that is why modern history should be re-examined thoroughly.
Those feeling pleased by the revelation and those trying to victimize Mr. Shin both are playing sides now. This should not happen. Examining Korea’s past must be done carefully and objectively.
It has been only three days since the revelation was made, but the situation has become lamentable. Some are already saying that Mr. Shin’s father tortured them. Trivial matters of the Shins were all laid bare.
The substance of this incident is that Mr. Shin, as a political leader, had lied. Condemning Mr. Shin by revealing his father’s past is failing to see the true nature of this incident. Why are we reviving the inhumane guilt-by-association system?
Opinions differ by political parties ― even in the Uri Party, opinions differ by political interests. This indicates the magnitude of the aftermath of making an issue out of the past in politics. We cannot allow examination of our modern history only to damage, insult and disgrace a politician. That will only lead to mudslinging. We cannot clean up our past through such means.
The madness similar to China’s Cultural Revolution must not dominate our society. Witch-hunting has already begun on various Internet sites, including the homepage of Mr. Shin. We must refrain from such emotional approaches.
We should also reconsider the plan to allow civic groups to become involved in revealing the past wrong deeds of the National Intelligence Service, the Defense Ministry, the prosecution and the police.
Although the government said such participation would increase trust in the investigations, it is doubtful if the civic groups have the expertise and qualifications. It is also possible that unnecessary competition may arise.
Punishment is not the ultimate aim of revealing the past. We are intending to correct the past to step forward to a healthy future. To this end, the Roh administration and the politicians must take their hands off this issue and allow experts and scholars to do the job.