“Rehabilitation” of the Villains
May 20, 2000
Historically, Koreans have been suffering from the dearth of a national hero who might have led the nation for the well beings of the Korean people.
After the 1945 liberation from the Japanese colonialism, the South Koreans were so desperate to have a national hero who resisted and fought against the Japanese imperialism that they had accepted Syngman Rhee as their father of nation without any hesitation, when General Douglas MacArthur has fetched him from the United States through the good offices of Generalissimo Chiang Kai Sek.
Recently, the South Koreans have exhibited their ample generosity of forgiveness and held a ceremony to unveil statues of Rhee and his rival, the National Assembly Speaker who would turn violently in his grave.
During the ceremony, the incumbent Speaker blurted out a big crap: we should not forget that the two leaders who ushered in the country’s constitutional era are still watching us and suggested that lawmakers could put aside partisan conflicts and create a politics of peaceful coexistence.
Since the beginning of DJ Kim’s administration, one of the booming enterprises in the South has been an “amnesty business” that DJ exerted his presidential power in full swing to dole out taxpayers money for the memorial hall of former military dictator, to release the most crooked and murderous generals from the death row and jail, and to pardon en masse his convicted cohorts under the guise of national reconciliation and harmony.
Although Rhee has governed the South Korea for over ten years, few younger generation of Koreans are aware of his totally atrocious, dictatorial, and undemocratic maneuvering in the administration of a new republic that has endured the tragic Korean War.
He has been known as a tyrant that had been more Koreans massacred under his regime than any other despots in the Korean history.
He personally has sanctioned the assassination of his political rivals including Kim Ku and he has stolen $20 million from the national treasury when he turned his tail in 1961 uprising.
Frankly speaking, Rhee’s banditry appears to be trivial in its scale when one compares it with the blatant corruption and scandals of the contemporary politicians…
1. Gen. CH Park had simply robbed millions of dollars from the Chaebols, manipulated in the stock market, and received the slush funds from the foreign corporations including Candu project.
He has tortured, jailed, and killed hundreds of innocent students, professors, and laborers, and the South Koreans are so generous and forgiving that he was buried comfortably with Rhee in the National Cemetery.
Recently he was so revered and admired of his banditry during the Vietnam War that DJ thanked him by appropriating the public fund to build the memorial hall of philanderer-par-excellence.
2. Gen. DH Chun and his little brother Gen. TW Roh had usually been hoarding, during their military dictatorship, the cash in the apple boxes piled high up the ceiling in the warehouse, because they even were not able to count all the money they had robbed from the public funds and received from the Chaebols. And they went out to kill hundreds of civilians who protested against the military dictatorship.
3. Youngsam and DJ Kim are like half brothers in the political hierarchy: the former is the longest and shrewd survivor in the political infighting spanning from the Rhee’s era through three military dictators finalizing his career as the most inept president. There is an episode that he was such cunning and manipulative that Gen. CH Park has delivered him a sack of cash for his political slush fund.
DJ Kim, soi-disant people’s president, has not been an exception regarding corruption and scandals…he personally admitted that he has received 2 billion won from the Chaebols.
When his justice minister was embroiled with the Fur-coat scandal, he actively supported the minister until the last minute, and DJ has comforted his disgraced Prime Minister TJ Park when the minister was forced to resign.
However, one of the most heinous and wicked maneuverings DJ has committed was the amnesty for two Generals…it was tantamount to the sellout of massacred civilians and the ultimate betrayal of democracy. Since his inauguration as the president, there has been a lot of hanky-panky going on in his administration of the national affairs
No big fishes remain in the clink except someone fell out of his favors…only small time crooks or Joe-six-packs who voted for him believing that he would save the have-nots are perishing in the dungeon for stealing a loaf of bread.
It is quite pathetic for the South Koreans that they have to pick out their national hero from the Rogues’ Gallery where torturers, philanderers, dictators, murderers and banditos call it homes, and they must bow deep in 90 degree for the comfort of dead crooks and call “Banjai” three times in every national ceremony.
As far as DJ Kim remains in his post, the amnesty business that releases and rehabilitates the crooks will be one of the major projects of the South Korean Government.
Is there anyone, past or present, who a majority of Koreans agree to call a national hero?
I bet my ass there is none.