[Letters] Evoking spirit of sacrificeEvoking spirit of sacrifice
Regarding the April 14 editorial, “Sacrificial spirit will revive us,” my opinion is that the government needs to be more careful when emphasizing our ancestors’ sacrifices and asking people to emulate their spirit.
The government should make it clear who will do the sacrificing before asking for it. Ordinary Korean people have already proved their spirit of self-sacrifice helping to rescue the economy during the Asian financial crisis. They contributed positively to overcome the crisis by selling their gold ornaments at giveaway prices and, sometimes, sacrificing their own jobs. However, most of them still remain temporary workers or unemployed long after Korea got over the crisis. If sacrifice is to be asked of them again, it will not be endurable.
The president must first end the controversy [about what is to be celebrated as our national day] before imploring people to follow the example of patriotic ancestors and to unify. He and his supporters, Korean neocons, have insisted that Independence Day [or Liberation Day, Aug. 15, 1945] be replaced by [celebrating Aug. 15, 1948] the establishment of the first independent government of Korea. To commemorate the latter is to suggest that the legitimacy of the republic comes from the foundation of the government. It is also to deny that the  provisional government was the root of the Republic of Korea, downgrading efforts before 1948. This argument has caused not only serious national division but an enormous backlash from civil society and will not be helpful for national unity.
The government should plan how to compensate for what is lost by people who sacrifice for the nation. Are they going to build another shrine to soothe victims after this crisis? I think when a state asks for sacrifice from the people, the most important thing is to provide practical support for them including financial aid, free education, free medical care and tax cuts.
It is well known that some of the descendants of our patriotic forefathers have suffered difficulties and poverty. They could not have enough opportunities to be educated since their parents, our patriots, had sacrificed their property as well as their lives. I am not sure who will be eager to sacrifice themselves if they realize their descendants will suffer from poverty forever. Asking for sacrifice must not be mere fine phrases or propaganda.
Kwon Do-hyeong, firstname.lastname@example.org