[EDITORIALS]Don’t excuse a dictatorshipA new-right organization will publicize today its alternative history books about modern Koean history. The textbook reportedly praises military dictatorships in the past and criticizes the democracy movement.
The book also calls the military coup “the revolution” and says the appearance of the new form of ruling successfully led to industrialization. Military dictatorships were glorified as a system that managed the country well. Although Chun Doo Hwan assumed power through a coup, his administration improved the country, the book states.
The April Revolution, which overthrew the dictatorship, is criticized as a student uprising. The period around that incident is called a period when left-wingers dominated student activists. The Gwangju massacre, followed by a massive democratic movement, is called resistance by Gwangju’s citizens. The reasons they gave were local problems, such as discrimination against that region. Extreme anti-Americanism became widespread after that incident, the book says. The textbook seems to have major problems in how it perceives history.
History books that are being used in schools have been criticized for having some content that is pro-North Korean and leftist and sometimes denies the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea. The new-right organization has written this new history book in an attempt to interpret our modern history from the right-wing perspective. But it has distorted history in another way.
In history, there is always light and shadows. No administration was 100-percent perfect and no administration was 100-percent wrong. Historical evaluation attempts to see which historic achievements each administration makes. It is not right to forgive dictatorships just because the administration brought about industrialization. Dictatorships are wrong. Even if there were inevitable reasons for a dictatorship at that time, history should never forgive such rule.
That is why it is hard to write history from an objective point of view. Fairness and objectivity are even more important for school history books. Textbooks full of leftist ideology are a problem, because they are ideologically biased.
If new-right activists start criticizing left-wingers’ views on history and go too far to justify military rule, they will lose public support.
Regardless of one’s ideology and convictions, everyone should remember that we must protect liberal democracy.