[EDITORIALS]View of independence fightersThe Ministry of Veteran and Patriot Affairs is in the last stage of evaluating the achievements of independence activists with socialist leanings. The ministry’s evaluators have disagreed over which activists should be rewarded and honored.
Many activists of socialist ideologies, including Yeo Un-hyeong, are expected to be officially honored as freedom fighters who contributed to the liberation of Korea from Japan.
Now, 60 years after Korea was liberated, the achievements of the socialist activists have come into the spotlight of history. This means that Korean society is mature enough to accept the burdens of the past.
In a public opinion poll, 62.8 percent of the respondents said independence activists should be recognized whether they had rightist or leftist ideologies. We hope that the ministry’s present effort can serve as an opportunity to remove the dark shadow of confrontation between the right and the left in Korean history.
However, there is one thing to keep in mind: The wheat should be separated from the chaff. The ministry should consider the situation on the Korean Peninsula after liberation in which both Koreas confronted each other and suffered a fratricidal war. And the situation that time was closely related to the legitimacy of South Korea.
After the successful communist revolution in Russia, Korean activists with socialist leanings attempted to achieve independence of the country through socialism.
Yeo Un-hyeong joined the communist party and spoke with Lenin at a meeting held in Soviet far east. Unlike Park Heon-yeong, who sought for radical and violent communism, Mr. Yeo established himself as a moderate socialist who endeavored to create a united government between the leftists and rightists in the peninsula.
It is true, however, that there were some socialist activists who contributed to marring the legitimacy of South Korea. The communists who were involved in counterfeiting South Korean currency to disrupt the nation’s economy and those who joined the North’s aggressive war belong to that category. These kinds of activists should not be recognized or honored.
When we embrace activists of all ideologies, the legitimacy of South Korea will increase. What is needed, however, is to maintain a balanced view so that such an effort shall not rekindle another ideological fight.