[LETTERS to the editor]History not black or white

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[LETTERS to the editor]History not black or white



Opponents of the proposed changes by the Korean government to history textbooks to be used in Korean schools seem to be under the impression that the government wants to bias the textbooks in favor of a conservative viewpoint. The implication is that the government wants to begin the process of tampering with the unbiased textbooks that are now being used. This is nonsense.

As I understand it, the current textbooks are already biased. They are biased against the conservative interpretation of recent Korean history. The previous governments had sought to slant history books against this conservative interpretation in favor of a leftist bias.

All history is biased, except the most basic reading of “facts” and dates. Complex matters of history are not black and white. There are always at least two sides to every important issue.

The way around this is to provide a balanced account of history that includes a fair look at both viewpoints with each angle described to the satisfaction of all important interested parties. Then there would be balance.

This doesn’t seem to be the case. Clearly, conservatives feel that their interpretation has not been given fair voice, so if the previous administrations authorized textbooks that reflected only their interpretation of events in recent Korean history, then the present government has every right to change them to reflect its own interpretation. Fair is fair.

James McIvor, Busan

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