[VIEWPOINT]For survival, we must win on GoguryeoIn almost all important international sports events, we find that the Scandinavian countries’ teams, almost without exception, compete at world-class level.
Sweden, Norway and Finland have highly developed sports clubs. When such big sports events as the European Football Association Cup competition or World Cup soccer games are held, the Vikings that once terrorized all of Europe by invading other countries in the 8th century pour out from their peninsula to go to the European cities where the sports are being played and cheer on their national teams.
For the Scandinavians, the Viking is their icon. Interestingly, the Swedes, Norwegians and the Finnish, the sports powers of Scandinavia, all claim they are descendants of the Vikings. Wearing headgear with horns and brandishing toy axes for cheering, they triumphantly march to the European continent. With their strongly built bodies and bright blond hair, they make a strong impression.
There is another group of Vikings pouring out of the Scandinavian peninsula. They are the Danish Vikings. The Danish sportsmen are the closest to the Vikings, as they are dauntless fighters.
Various Vikings, that is, the cheering squads of each Scandinavian country, engage in a vigorous cheering competition until the end of their teams’ games.
Although people from four different countries all claim that they are the “original Vikings,” the real Vikings in sports can be decided only after the competition or the match is over. And the real Viking changes every time there is a big match, because the team that racked up the best score will stay in the arena alone and bask in the limelight of the wire services. Vikings in history created the mythology of Northern Europe and provided an identity to the Scandinavians.
In our ancient history, we have the memory of Goguryeo, which stirred the world and its history like the Vikings. However, Goguryeo cannot be an object of competition, like the Vikings. We consider Goguryeo as something to which the essence of our spirit and identity belong, as well as the highlight of our ancient history that connects us with the past.
In the voice of Koreans who shout out “Goguryeo!” we can sense a kind of determination. Goguryeo, which once commanded all of East Asia, was part of our glorious past and a symbol of the vast land of Manchuria and northeastern part of China that was once under their command, but has since been lost.
Therefore, for us, King Gwanggaeto the Great was a greater conqueror than Alexander the Great and the epitaph of the monument erected by the great king is a great historical asset, and we cannot concede even one letter inscribed on it. For all that, China has clandestinely promoted a project called the “Northeast Research Project,” under which China considers Goguryeo and Goguryeo’s descendant, the Balhae Dynasty, as Chinese regional governments. They incorporate the history of the two into China’s history.
We cannot but roll our eyes in dismay.
Moreover, the North-East Research Project, which incorporated the history of Goguryeo and Balhae into Chinese history and included the land north of the Daedong River, which runs across Pyongyang, as part of China’s territory, conceals an explosive element that can threaten the future of a unified Korea, not to mention the distortion of our history.
If North Korea collapses, for example, and the results of China’s Northeast Research Project are incorporated officially as part of Chinese history, China might insist on its preemptive right to the land north of Daedong River. Then the Daedong River will become the national boundary between China and a unified Korea, reducing the territory of Korea to that of the Unified Silla era again. The explosive power of the project is so enormous that Koreans who pay attention to the progress of the Chinese move cannot help but be sensitive and worried.
Since the Chinese research project is a spiritual and cultural invasion that threatens the origin of the Korean race and our identity, we cannot agree to what the Chinese claim.
Whether we want it or not, the “history war” has already started and, as often occurred in the past, this time China crossed over the national boundary first.
The war this time is not a war in which the winner can change every time, like in sports events. It will be a long battle in which absolute victory is the only way for our survival.
* The writer is a deputy sports and culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Hur Jin-seok