[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Unification is no panacea

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Unification is no panacea

I believe it is not the author’s intention, but the opening sentence of the article, “Ideals and ordeals of a fugitive’s wife”(Sept. 7) to which Brendan Brown’s letter (Sept. 10) was addressing, seems to imply that pursuing “money, love, and leisure” is something inherently despicable, dishonorable, unholy, and unworthy of young Koreans.
Commitment to these pursuits can be their “high ideals,” because money can be for their survival and education, love for their marriage and raising a family, and leisure for enjoyment of the fleeting moments of happiness in their family life. There is nothing one can despise and sneer at in this pursuit. It is not demeaning. It is human nature. This very human nature is denied in the economic and political system of the nation which Hanchongryun idolized in the past and still does. The betterment of the two Koreas is the task of and for every ordinary Korean, not just a monopoly of any “high ideal” individuals or organizations.
We have been blinded and obsessed by the idea of “unification of the two Koreas”, fueled with sentimental nationalism, as if “unification of north and south” were the panacea to all the ills of Korea. Even in recent months a few “prominent” academics and writers chipped in their worth to perpetuate distorted views of history by speaking out historical inaccuracy loudly in public. As Brown obliquely touched on in the letter, all Koreans should appreciate the startling contrast and differences in the economic and political life between the two Koreas. It is long overdue for us to grow out of the long discredited ideology of sentimental nationalism. At the same time, newspaper articles should not inadvertently participate in creating a hero or martyr for no reason at all.

by Yoo Bong-yul
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