[imText1]In 2005, two kinds of ghosts, namely peace-first arguers and priority of economic aid arguers, have been wandering about the Korean peninsula. The ghosts of peace first argue that raising the North Korean human rights issue ruins peace while the ghosts of priority of economic aid argue that economic aid to the North actually helps improve North Koreans’ human rights.
First of all, it can be said that the peace first argument is the same as threatening a war. It is like saying, “Be silent lest they wage a war.”
They argue that there is no previous instance of improving human rights by pressing the regime concerned, so pressing the North Korean regime would not be effective. In fact their argument is wrong. Of course, human rights improvement and democratization have been mostly realized by the people of the country concerned, but the outside world has always helped the people. Moreover in some cases of extremely severe human rights abuses, the outside world has played a major role. Such cases include South Africa, socialist countries in east Europe, the Lemon Revolution (Kyrgyzstan), the Rose Revolution (Republic of Georgia), and the Orange Revolution (Ukraine). The achievement of South Koreans’ human rights and democracy has also been helped by international societies.
Even if we can partly agree with the argument that the people concerned must play a major role for their country’s democracy and human rights improvement, it is still a mystery as to why they are making a fuss over the North Korean human rights issues by being absurdly concerned about the possibility of the outbreak of war. I wish to ask them whether there has been a country where a war had broken out as a result of raising its human rights issues.
Their threat of war is fraud toward the public
They say that peace in the Korean peninsula started from the summit of the South and North in June, 2000. Then I wish to ask them whether our lives had been like being on the brink of a battle before the starting point of the peace they argue for. I don’t think the public was really more concerned about the outbreak of war even when the South and North Korean regimes experienced higher tension than now. The tension did not cause any severe setbacks against South Korean economic development and invitation of foreign capital.
In fact, after the summit in 2000, North Korea more frequently menaced us by crossing the Northern Limit Line, causing a battle in the West Sea which killed several soldiers, and declaring its possession of nuclear weapons. People face more severe alerts of war these days. It is not caused by raising North Korean human rights issues but by acknowledging and encouraging Kim Jong Il’s dictatorship.
They are deceiving people by forcing them to think that their lives had always been on the eve of a battle, and pretending to be saviors for the people from the threat and scare. I cannot come up with more ridiculous fraud than theirs.
Several previous South Korean regimes used the North Korean threat of war to establish justification of their control by saying that they had to make a resolution to defend the country from the North. The peace first arguers fought against those previous regimes, and they now imitate the previous regimes by saying that raising North Korean human rights issue can cause a war.
Idiots who have no idea about North Korean history claim that the North Korean human rights issue must be raised after North Koreans have enough food
Now, let us look at the other ghosts, namely ‘priority of economic aid’ arguers.
There are two ways in which they argue. The first is that the ‘food rights’ are more important than human rights, which must sound strange to reasonable people. Who has opposed the food aid for North Korean people? Is it not possible to raise the human rights issue while we are sending food to North Korea? In fact, the expression, ‘food rights,’ has been used for the first time in history by these people. We just do not understand why there must be priority and classification between human rights and ‘food rights.’
The ‘priority of economic aid’ arguers claim that raising the North Korean human rights issue causes the disturbance of relations between the South and North, and that may block food aid to the North, which is disadvantageous to the North Korean people. Their claim is dubious at best. Were we not able to send food to North Korea when the relations between the South and North were estranged? Through various international organizations we could consistently send food to North Korea. Even if the relations between the South and North were in danger, there would be many ways we could help North Korean people with food. Most like, no one would be resentful of gifts.
By sticking to the way of the relations between the South and North in sending food to the North, the South made the North Korean regime so shameless that it refused to be checked by international organizations for the confirmation of food distribution, and expelled international NGO activists. Consequently, North Koreans’ ‘food rights’ have not been assured but the North Korean regime’s control over people by food has been guaranteed.
The ‘priority of economic aid’ arguers also claim that North Korean human rights will be improved once the North Korean problem of food is resolved. Some of them even argue that North Korean human rights cannot be improved without the resolution of food shortage.
That is a total nonsense. Is what they are saying that human rights abuses on poor people can be ignored? They once fought against those authoritarian Southern regimes that claimed democracy would follow economic development. They now just mimic what they fought against. Park Jeong Hee and Choen Doo Hwan, the former presidents of South Korea they fought against, are really their forerunners.
In fact, North Korean human rights abuse was not caused by poverty. Even when North Korea had enough food, there were concentration camps for political prisoners, public executions by a firing squad, and control over assembly, association, moving, and religion. North Korean defectors have been cruelly punished. The North Korean human rights issue did not start to be raised because of North Korean poverty, but has existed for tens of years. Those who argue that once the North Koreans are rich enough not to be hungry, their human rights problem will be resolved are idiots who have no idea about North Korean history.
These two kinds of ghosts have been wandering about the Korean peninsular during the year of 2005. Even though the shallowness of their arguments has been revealed, they continuously stick to their arguments. Ghosts do not belong in this world, but to the world of the dead. We wish them to find peace and comfort where they belong in 2006.