Sept. 29, 2007 - A Memo in Pyongyang Prison
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2014-01-07 11:50:43  |  Hit 1065

A Memo in Pyongyang Prison

Sept. 29, 2007
Current Opinion Published in the Choson Ilbo
By Lee Mi-Il, President of the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union

Recently, the North Korean newspaper, Labor Newspaper (Rodong Shinmun in Korean) put a statement made by a spokesman of the National Reconciliation Council, North Korea’s state-controlled civilian group, with a title, “A game pursuing the submitting of ‘resolution regarding the Korean War abductees’ to the U.S. Congress is a political provocation.”

Another North Korean media, Within Our Race, published a related article entitled, “The Scum’s farce worth a farthing”, showing acute reactions to the Korean War abduction issue.

These reactions are not considered to be irrelevant to this coming inter-Korean summit. Within Our Race criticized me (the author of this article) and my family union members with remarks, “People are calling for the entire people to create an atmosphere of national reconciliation and union with great expectation on the South and the North summit meeting held this coming October.

However, turning against our nation, these scum of the society are putting the two Koreas’ progressive relations back and are planning to submit ‘resolution regarding the Korean War abductees’ with the impure purpose of aiding the anti-Korean War group’s conspiracy to seize political power- a farce worth a farthing.”

Why is North Korea reacting so keenly? First of all, it seems that with the abductee issues that have been persistently standing in its way for the past several years, now the North is intending to desperately prevent the issue of abductees taken during the Korean War from being raised once again in the international community, followed by the Japanese abductees issue and the post Korean War abductees issue.

A more crucial reason for the North’s such reactions is their fear that once the wartime abductees issue is brought up, then they will not be able to avoid their responsibility for the Korean War.

Some opine that South Korean President who is going to North Korea for the inter-Korean summit meeting is making an effort to yield tangible results through activities such as going through the Demilitarized Zone on foot as a symbolic performance of breaking down the walls of division; and declaring to end the war and a peace regime of the Korean Peninsula.

What is more important, however, is which basis the peace regime is to be established upon. If in this two Koreas’ summit meeting, so called an end of war declaration proclaiming, “Now the Korean War is really over” is made and a prelude to a peace regime is announced without the wishes of their people incorporated, what is the point of it?

The division between the two Koreas left far deeper wounds and firmer structures than those of East and West Germany, because the two Koreas had experienced the tragedy of fratricidal war. At the end of July this year, I had an opportunity to give a speech at National Press Center in the U.S. and addressed, “We are looking forward to reaching true peace.

We reject a deceptive peace agreement that would cover up the responsibility for the Korean War and spread nihilism.” Surely, there are wrongdoers and people who should be held accountable for this war that took millions of innocent people’s lives way for certain political purposes.

Most abductions by the North Korean regime during the Korean War were carried out within the two or three months from July to September in 1950, just before recovery of Seoul in September 28.

In October of the same year, the delegation of the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union went to the North, and came across a memo written on the wall of Pyongyang prison where many abductees were once confined. It reads as follows:

“Freedom-an immortal phoenix!
Leaving our homeland behind
Into an unfathomable depth of red flame behind the iron curtain
We are dragged towards hellish death.
Oh my country, oh the United Nations!
That you will deliver us from this hell, this death
We have faith.”

The author is unknown, but if this abductee’s “country” and “the United Nations” trample his wishes down, the establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula will be impossible.

It is rather natural that people who lost their loved ones during the war, especially people who are still seeking to find the fates of abductees like me, feel that this declarative peace is delusive. If a peace regime that President Roh Moo-hyun hopes for actually contributes to covering up all the responsibility for the Korean War, the declaration would end up an anti-historic statement.
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