[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Don’t betray MacArthurI am amazed to learn that So Seong-ho and his so-called “civic groups” are waging a campaign to remove the statue of General MacArthur from Freedom Park in Incheon. Mr. So cannot rewrite Korea’s past.
No rearranging of statues will erase from history the fact that under Kim Il Sung, the father of the current North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, North Korea invaded South Korea, bringing the wrath of the United Nations forces down on the North to roll back the invasion. The war unleashed by Kim killed hundreds of thousands of people, Koreans (North and South), Chinese, Turks, Australians, Canadians, Russians, Americans and others, on both sides.
To this day, the families of all of those people wish Kim Il Sung had not done what he did. General MacArthur led a force that invaded through Incheon to defeat the North. He was successful. A nation cannot and should not rewrite its history, and it cannot and should not turn its back on people who have helped it arrive at its place in the world. In America, hundreds of cities, streets, counties, parks, and other public places, many with large statues, are named after Casimir Pulaski, Thaddeus Kosciusko, the Marquis de Lafayette, and others from foreign lands who fought in the American Revolution. America is proud of those men and the aid they rendered in the dark days of America’s fight for freedom and it has always honored them.
While in America some misguided lawmakers may try to rename French fries, no one would ever deny the contribution of Lafayette or remove the French-built Statue of Liberty.
Relations between countries rise and fall, but it is a weak and unprincipled nation that turns its back on the people who sacrificed for it. If those who would remove the statue look in their hearts rather than at their political agenda, they will realize that this is a foolish move ― but that may be too much to ask.
Perhaps they would rather be eating the bark off trees and looking for ways to escape famine, oppression and the tyranny of an elite, as do the people of North Korea, than striking a majestic pose with face uplifted in the late afternoon sun (with a commemorating photo published in a free press), looking forward to the bright future that lies ahead for South Korea, made possible by the contribution of General MacArthur.
by Steve Stupak, Seoul