[LETTER TO THE EDITOR]Accept the painful past

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[LETTER TO THE EDITOR]Accept the painful past

In your editorial concerning the list of alleged Japanese collaborators under the heading “List release ill-considered” (Aug. 30), you state, “There is also no proof that the institute and the committee compiled the list fairly.” How much fairness could possibly be required given the stark reality that hangs over many on the list? Take as an example your ex-president Park Chung Hee: he chose a Japanese name, was trained in a Japanese Imperial military institution, and served with the Japanese Imperial forces. Should he or others like him be considered freedom fighters for Korea? And concerning the concept of defending the legitimacy of a nation, how could it possibly be productive to bury this list of alleged collaborators if you are truly interested in defending the legitimacy of a nation? Proud, legitimate nations try to come to grips with the past as best they can and try to move boldly into the future, instead of trying to blatantly whitewash or claim situations were ‘unavoidable.’ How long can the hand wringing and embarassment and shame last? It’s already been over 50 years. The faster Korea accepts the very painful past, the better all citizens and residents will feel. Those with vested interests seem to be the only Koreans who are urging caution or delay. Perhaps something can be learned from the recent South African example of national reconciliation?

by Mike Sluchinski
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