[OUTLOOK]Comrade Kim, come lead us!The president’s announcement that the criminal laws would be revised to assuage security concerns following the repeal of the National Security Act has turned out to be empty words. The governing Uri Party seems determined to push on with the repeal. Being a democratic country in name at least, there is nothing that can stop the government party, with a majority of seats and the support of other smaller parties in the National Assembly, from doing what it wants.
But we will get nowhere by only complaining about the security concerns we will have with the abolition of the National Security Act. We should appreciate the governing party for making a strong effort to enhance our human rights, and it would be good etiquette as citizens to have the courage to exercise our enhanced rights.
Since one of the articles most abused to oppress human rights, the one stipulating the crime of praising North Korea, is now gone, we should celebrate that by expressing our opinion on the truth of our recent past wthout restraint.
The truth behind the investigations into the past is like this. During the Syngman Rhee administration, more than half of the cabinet, the generals and legislators could be called Japanese collaborators. Moreover, the Rhee administration dismantled the Committee on Anti-Korean Activities to impede the investigations of pro-Japanese figures.
The first republic was without a doubt a pro-Japanese administration.
The second republic was led by Prime Minister Chang Myon, whose father worked as the chief of Busan Customs during the Japanese colonial rule. Mr. Chang himself came under fire from time to time for having been the principal of a middle school toward the end of the colonial era.
The third republic was a military regime established through a coup d’etat led by a president who was once a lieutenant in the Japanese imperial army. The fourth republic was not much freer from pro-Japanese taints; nor was the fifth republic or the sixth that was basically an extension of its predecessor.
If pro-Japanese collaboration is such an important issue to mobilize political power today to take precedence over all other matters even after 60 years have passed, it must have a great deal to do with the legitimacy of a government. According to the standard provided, all six former republics in Korea were illegitimate and should not have been formed in the first place.
In the end, the older generation of today who had the bad luck to be born in South Korea have led empty lives except for those who led the anti-government democracy movement in the 1960s and 1970s and the student movement during the 1980s. We pledged loyalty to, were educated by, paid taxes to and lined up to vote for pro-Japanese governments without any legitimacy.
Such empty, shabby and pitiful lives in the modern history of South Korea! Such obsequious and ignorant lives led by the older generations of South Korea!
All discussions have their opposing sides. If being a Japanese collaborator was such an unforgivable sin, then the opposite, the anti-Japanese struggles, should be praised forever. We have as much a duty to correct mistaken facts about the anti-Japanese struggle as to find pro-Japanese collaboration.
That would be honoring the anti-Japanese heroes whom the pro-Japanese conservative forces blocked out in the dark of history. Honor the last of the Communist guerrillas, a brilliant general for all ages who fought with sweat and blood against the Japanese imperial forces to finally liberate us. General Kim Il Sung, we must repent our mistake of not respecting and admiring you in the past! Belated as it is, General Kim Il Sung, sun of the anti-Japanese struggle, thou shalt be shining in history forever! Long live the Communist guerrilla for all ages!
Moreover, we repent most sorrowfully of our crime of having resisted when the honorable general came down to liberate us some 50 years ago. We were brainwashed by the conniving of the pro-Japanese faction and the puppets of American imperial forces and committed the folly of fighting against the holy war of unification only to cover the National Cemetery with graves.
There are also other unavoidable side effects to every discussion. As we witnessed recently, the fact that one’s ancestors collaborated with the Japanese before we were ever born was enough to get a prominent government party leader thrown out of his post.
If this applies to the opposition party as well, the daughter of a Japanese army lieutenant surely should not be the opposition party leader. On the other hand, it is only right that Commander and Comrade Kim Jong-il, who was born in a secret military base at Mount Baekdu as the successor to the blood line of anti-Japanese heroes, should have followed in the footsteps of his father Kim Il Sung to become the leader of the people. Thinking of the greatness of the anti-Japanese achievements, two generations and 60 years alone are not enough. The Kim family should lead us for at least 20 generations and 600 years. And why should only the North Koreans get to enjoy that benevolent rule? Shining star of our people, Commander Kim Jong-il, please come and lead us South Koreans.
* The writer is a novelist. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Lee Moon-youl