Mr. K’s Listening to Broadcasting from Chungjing, North Hamkyung Province

[imText1]Recently two bills have been submitted to the National Assembly that contradicts each other. One is “Resolution on Humanitarian Assistance and Human Rights Improvement for the North Korean People” submitted by Hwang Jin Ha, one of the assemblyman of the Grand National Party, and the other bill is “Resolution Against Persistent Diplomatic Pressure on North Korea by the Strong Nations Putting Forth North Korean Human Rights Problem” submitted by 23 assemblymen including Kim Won Woong of Uri Party and Lee Young Sun of Democratic Labor Party.

The first resolution provides the principle and method in assisting North Korea with humanitarian aid in detail and clearly states what the South Korean government ought to do in order to improve North Korean human right situation. The latter resolution mainly contains objections to American and Japanese pressures on North Korea concerning the North Korean human rights issues and economic sanctions, and suggests that North Korean human rights must be approached from the perspective of overcoming the food crisis and the right to survive.

Most of the assemblymen who submitted the latter resolution were former student movement activists or political movement activists.

Former Activist Assemblymen, Why Cannot They Remember the Past?

What would they say if there were resolutions or bills submitted to the international organizations or foreign governments urging for the human rights in South Korea when they were in the “movement” in the 70s and 80s,?

Would they have said, “This is our business so mind your own business” or “please don’t say anything about it because the government pressure on us heightens” or “South Korea is busy making a living so it is too early to talk about human rights”? Probably not. However looking at their recent activities, it seems as though they would have said one of the three above.

Furthermore, what position would they have taken if there was a force strongly opposing to the resolution urging for improvement of human rights in South Korea?

From my perspective, such a force is nothing more than “the people who cooperate with South Korea’s dictatorship,” but perhaps the former activist assemblymen of today believed those people were “wise men.” Looking at their current doings makes me doubt.

Put Yourself in my Place

Let’s change positions and think.

Mr. K who lives in Chungjin, North Hamkyung province is unhappy about the Kim Jong Il regime. He listens to short-wave radio broadcasting such as Radio Free Asia or Voice of America every night covered in thick cotton blankets to find out about outside world. His heart may have sunk listening to the report about South Korean assemblymen who were former democratization movement activists submitting such a resolution.

He put his ear on the noisy radio and tries to catch every word. Then he heard that resolutions and bills were passed for North Korean human rights in the United Nations, United States and Japan, a UN special rapporteur was sent to investigate on the North Korean human rights situations and screamed out of happiness in his heart. Although he could not voice out, how could he able to describe his touched heart?

Then he heart shivered with the report that follows.

“Park Yong Jin, the spokesman of the Democratic Party handed a letter of protest to the US embassy in South Korea against the US North Korea Human Rights act. South Korean progressive organizations hurried in organizing participants and flew to Switzerland, where the conference is taking place to protest against Resolution on the North Korean human rights in the United Nations Human Rights Commission. About the movement by the US and Japan to put North Korean human rights as top agenda for the negotiation, South Korean assemblymen submitted a resolution protesting against such a movement. Lee Su Kyung, RFA, from Seoul, capital of South Korea.”

Mr. K quickly turned off the radio.

“Now they are full and rich they want to live well by themselves, right? Are they saying “take care of yourselves” to us when we cannot even listen to a radio openly?

Mr. K from Chungjing Bursts Out

Mr. K spit on the street and took out a cigarette. “Is this all I could get for listening to a radio covered with blankets in a hot day like this?” He lit the cigarette and took a deep breath in. He then turned on the North Korean radio which he never listens to.

“For the Grand National Party to attempt to pass a resolution against the Republic (DPRK) is in intention to create conflict between the South and the North with the human rights issues and break the current atmosphere for the unification of the Korean peninsula. The people of all class in South Korea must never accept the maneuvers of the Grand National Party and drive them out of the politics as soon as possible.”

Radio was emitting a warlike voice from the Chosun (North Korea) Central Broadcasting criticizing South Korean assemblymen of the Grand National Party’s submission of the resolution regarding the North Korean human rights. Mr. K could not listen to it anymore. He opened the door. Cold night wind blew in from the north.

“Sons of xx, they are same, all the same.”

In the Chungjin city covered with darkness, only the statue of Kim Jong Il in the far distance was lit and silence overwhelmed the city where nothing was heard but only a dog barking from far.