Saving General Kim Jong Il
On February 2nd, Sohn Hak Gyu, the leader of the Democratic Party, said, "If voices calling for human rights and democracy for North Korea are no more than agitating for the collapse of the North Korean regime or unification by absorption, then not only are they totally impractical but also likely to retard inter-Korean relations and, on the other hand, interfere with change and reform."
To Sohn’s words, a horrified Choi Hong Jae, a policy researcher for Civil Coalition for Fairness in Media, says, "Sohn has stepped forward to 'save Kim Jong Il'."
Here is his column.
Qadhafi said it. “If intervention comes from the outside, thousands of Libyans will be killed.” It’s clearly the image of a ruthless dictator and an egoist to the core. But what about Kim Jong Il? While millions of people were starving to death, did he not pour more than $600 million into the corpse of the dead Supreme Leader and say that people have to be a little bit starved if they are to listen well! Were not people who lost the trust of the Supreme Leader treated like lumps of meat! Even Qadhafi would be daunted by such moves.
Forged by the blast furnace of South Korea's pro-democracy movement, the minds of those of us who hope for the democratization of the Middle East and are outraged by the massacres of a dictator are all the firmer and more fervent. If we erase from our minds the ideological influence of the past, pure hatred at Qadhafi and rage at Kim Jong Il remain. Yet Chairman Sohn says this honest and righteous rage is ‘the ordeal of a stale ideology'. He calls the shouts of humankind for freedom and human rights, "no more than agitating for the collapse of the North Korean regime or unification by absorption."
Isn’t it something we’ve heard somewhere else many times before?
That’s it. Politicians mocked our pure anger that way as we fell into despair at Gwangju in 1980. They condemned our desire for freedom and human rights, simply calling us subversives. Our desires were condemned, and we did eventually aim to overthrow the system, but that was not why we talked about freedom and human rights.
With nuclear tests, the Cheonan incident and the death of Yeonpyeong Island, the Sunshine Policy ended. The person who ruined it was not Kim Dae Jung or Roh Moo Hyun, nor even MB. It was neither our people nor the North Korean people. The one person who crushed our hopes with nuclear weapons, guns and missiles is both a friend of Mubarak and Qadhafi’s and the enemy of 70 million Korean people on the Korean peninsula; Kim Jong Il, and his successor, Kim Jong Eun.
Our purpose is not the collapse of North Korea. Our purpose is the same purpose as that of humanitarians around the globe who passed a resolution for North Korean Human Rights in the UN General Assembly, and is the same as the purpose of left and right in Europe. The collapse of this regime is only inevitable if Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Eun continue to block our purpose, treat the North Korean people as their possessions and consider South Korean citizens to be hostages.
What Chairman Sohn should be worried about is not the safety of Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Eun but the life and freedom of the North Korean people. Humankind must live in noble, righteous solidarity with them.
Picking holes in the United Nations decision on Qadhafi is clearly to hope for the stabilization of the Qadhafi system. And, no matter what he says, criticizing requests for freedom and human rights for North Korea is to fritter valuable radio waves defending Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Eun.
Sohn Hak Gyu, whose younger self once opposed dictatorship, has become the protector of the world's worst dictator and is walking away from us. You must not go. Turn around. For you are on a path of disgrace worse than death itself.