Work to be done as Roh restsFormer President Roh Moo-hyun is gone. The entire nation saw him leave at a people’s funeral. The last week has been a long farewell. Millions of people visited altars, waiting in line for hours to offer a white chrysanthemum to the deceased president. Around 500,000 mourners watched the former president’s final journey, standing or sitting on asphalt roads amid sizzling temperatures. Countless more said goodbye to the late former president, watching live broadcasts of the funeral service from work or home.
The farewell in this world is over now. We cannot follow him to the other side. Those who remain must go back to a normal life. The grief and regret must be buried in history. We ought to build a memorial hall beside his gravestone to house his belongings and the objects that were used during the people’s funeral. That will serve as consolation for those who remember and miss him and as a way to teach coming generations.
It is the task of our politicians to take the enthusiasm on the street and in public squares back to their institutions. The biggest task is to uphold and preserve President Roh’s political dreams: to reform political culture and its institutions. This can only be done by politicians in Yeouido, not citizens in a public square. In particular, the Democratic Party must hold to the spirit of the former president and do its best to absorb the nation’s grief. The passion shown in mourning the deceased leader must not be used as a means for political attack. The people’s dreams must be realized through normal political activities: discussions, criticism and legislation.
Meanwhile, the ruling party must think seriously about the grief and rage people expressed during the heated mourning period. It must understand that the anger comes from the people’s disappointment with the current administration. The people are frustrated because the Grand National Party is busy fighting within itself instead of working in harmony.
It is unusual for a former president of any country to take his own life. The political community must analyze the reason such a tragedy happened here and work together to correct it. They must change the current system, in which the president is so powerful he is even called an “emperor president.” Since the president is given excessive power, even his family and relatives are often involved in corruption. Each time a new administration takes over, the former president and those close to him have always been investigated. This vicious circle must end.
June is coming. With the economy still in trouble, the North Korea situation worsens day by day. If we blame one another, we cannot overcome these crises. Former President Roh wrote, “Do not blame anyone,” in his will. He left the message probably because he was worried conflict and division might be caused by his death. Let’s bury grief and resentment, and move on.