[FOUNTAIN]Hushed past takes on life in new novel“Two executioners swiftly took Mr. Do’s two arms from the sides and led him to a wooden chair. One of the prison officers put a white hood over the head of Mr. Do. ‘Hail to the peaceful unification of the North and South!’ Mr. Do shouted in his mind. An executioner pulled the lever, and the Mr. Do was hanged.”
Kim Won-il’s collection of short stories, “Blue Spirit,” depicts Mr. Do’s execution scene. Mr. Do was charged with leading the reconstruction of the People’s Revolutionary Party. The stories are about the eight alleged conspirators of the People’s Revolutionary Party incident, who were executed within 24 hours of the Supreme Court ruling in 1974. While it is a novel, “Blue Spirit” is the first book that publicly reveals the background that has been hushed for decades. In the novel, Mr. Do is executed for having a “progressive dream,” and the tragedy makes the readers furious.
Mr. Do is a fictional reincarnation of Do Ye-jong, who was imprisoned for three years in 1964 for a vague charge related to the People’s Revolutionary Party incident. Since he was released from prison in 1967, he worked as a managing director for Samsung Construction and Seona Enterprise and eventually became the chairman of Samhwa Construction in 1972. While Mr. Do enjoyed a happy, ordinary life as a businessman, he was arrested on April 29, 1973, for violating the president’s emergency measure.
After suffering from harsh torture from the Korea Central Intelligence Agency, Mr. Do emerged as the key member of the committee to revive the party. The Supreme Court handed death sentences to seven members of the committee and a member of the Democracy Youth and Student League in absentia in April 1975.
The condemned prisoners were taken to the execution room one by one. Eight men were executed in two hours, with only 20 minutes between each hanging.
The author of “Blue Sprit” claims he reviewed various materials before writing. Is the novel or official report closest to the truth? The National Intelligence Service has recently announced that it would reinvestigate seven old cases, including the People’s Revolutionary Party recovery committee. Now that the government authority launched the fact-finding mission, I hope that the truth can finally resurface.
by Ahn Sung-kyoo
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.