Shame on you
An open letter to a Janus-faced Machiavellian President and his First Family
May 19, 2002
“History teaches only those who wish to learn.” Niccolo Machiavelli.
Frankly speaking, I was not a bit shocked to see your favorite son in a gaol during the last stretch of your presidency, because your son was rightly tempted to do likewise you do, as a Korean old saying goes that “like father, like son” is no exception to your family.
In addition, your regime has never been free from the corruption since your ascension to power that you have to shuffle your cabinet as often as your mom does changed your diapers, because you have summoned and hired an enchilada of street urchins, gangsters, untouchables, demagogues, wig salesmen, and street vendors, who have been waiting, for such a long time, hungry with bloody eyes in sideline for grabbing a slice of pies and lining their pocket.
In the beginning, people believed in you that you would never betray them, because they have witnessed you have suffered from the many atrocities of the military dictatorship by Gen. Park and Chun, and they have admired and accepted you as a People’s President.
First of all, I refused to endorse, among other things, your Machiavellian scheme to snatch the Presidency with the sleazy collaboration with the former enemy and political hack JP Kim and began to be suspicious of your metamorphosis from the oppressed-and-humble to an anything-goes-for-the-president attitude…you wanted to be a president no matter what, that is, I found you have mutated from a politician with a hat in hand to a Smart Alec disciple of Machiavellian principle, “the end justifies the means”.
And I found later how impeccable was my reasoning to dub you a Machiavellian disciple.
I do not think you would still remember that you had given me an exclusive interview during your lean year decades ago. (I was a struggling and hardworking cub reporter for the daily newspaper, covering the National Assembly)
Truthfully and instantly, I liked you for your plebian jokes and easy manner, except the usage of your pungent cornball accent from the Cholla-Do vernacular and the rictus smile of a bowing undertaker.
During our one and half hour interview, you have answered a variety of political issues, mainly centered on the domestic affairs, on the record, and then I have asked about the US Army in South Korea whether you endorse their presence in perpetuity in the peninsular: “Never, never, and never, for the sake of the national unification” and you asked me your opinion “off the record” which I duly obliged not to write about it because no one raised the issue at the time unless he or she would prepare to be called upon the KCIA carpet.
Man…you really have changed a lot…I had a great sympathy on you being called a commie by Generals because you demanded the withdrawal of the USFK, and now you want Uncle Sam to be your master in perpetuity!!
Someone must have worked pretty well to make you a religiose conversion from the exclusive nationalistic oddball to an all-inclusive transnational capitalist…have you picked it up through the auspice of the Rockefeller Foundation or the good office of then-wig-salesman, now your Chief Secretary, while you were on exile?
Or did Daewoo President Kim, who is on the lam thanks to your help, lecture you, with ceiling-high apple-boxes of cold cash, to mutate from a People’s President to a knee-jerk factotum for the Wall Street Financiers?
I know, I know, you would mumble: “after all, people changes and it has been over decades since I wanted them out, you know, the situation has been quite different from what we talked about then …you know.”
I am absolutely with you that people changes, time flies by, and situation somersaults.
The rub is your change of clothes does not necessarily coincide with the flow of mood, time or situation, but with a no-hold-bar tactics of the Machiavellian power politics…as in the presidential election, you didn’t give a damn what the change costs you, a treacherous betrayer, a deceitful double talker, or a corrupt political hack…that is, you exhibit the mutation that appears only to a chameleon when it faces the enemy, and I do not think you need my detailed explanation on your resume of changes.
On the other hand, you appear to be suffering from the typical malady of over-bloated politicians when they are inundated with the enthusiastic accolades from all over the world…like Dr. Henry Kissinger, who was a co-recipient of Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 with the North Vietnamese, Le Duc Tho (he declined to accept the award), you were awarded with the same but single Peace Prize winner, you were called a Korean Mandela by a sex-starved and libertine tom-cat, Bill Clinton, you were called a humanist by the various international human rights organization, and you were praised by the IMF, World Bank and the Wall Street Journal as a good custodian of transnational assets. (I wonder what you have done on the human rights…oh, I know…you have pardoned many of your friends and Generals.)
On top of these awards and accolades, you were met by the flag-waving crowd of jubilant Koreans when you returned from the “historical” trip to the North Korea, achieving a task of wining, dining, hugging, and crying with Comrade Kim.
You have declared proudly to the people that the threat of war has disappeared from the peninsular as if you have succeeded to fetch a “peace”, like a politically marketable commodity, from the North.
Come on, Man…you must have been out of mind. How could you single-handedly alleviate a half-century-old animosity between two-Koreas at a one-time feel-good summit?
Again, later you lied to your people that Comrade Kim has agreed with you that Uncle Sam would stay in the unified Korea forever. Aren’t you in a mood yet that you take that word back and you confess them you had lied?
You have lied, lied, and lied through both ends of your mouth, and you still are not in a mood to confess to your people, right?
Let me give you a little more admonition…you released and pardoned two Generals who more than a majority of people think they deserve to be punished what they were sentenced.
You said you pardoned them to forgive and forget for the national reconciliation…now everyone knows that it was a balderdash…you wanted to save your own neck to muzzle the Generals mouths that you have received over 20 billion won of slush fund from Gen. Roh.
Again, you appear to be in an analogous engagement to save your ass after your term ends…this time, Mr. Roh is on your monitor to recruit and harness him with a lot of backroom manipulation and you have thrown Mr. Rhee out of the window because he is not a yesman but a hangman. (You have promised Mr. Rhee a baton and sold him down the river as you did to JP Kim and others.)
I am now exhausted in a bad mood and I still see no end of your corrupt tunnel yet!
However, it’s about time to talk about your family…I hear Tom, Dick, and Harry of your family are, like a cobweb or an octopus, involved in a variety of bribery, scandal, influence peddling, extortion, conspiracy, and coercion in every sphere of the South Korean Society.
Even your stooped wife seems to be on the take for her mama-boy.
What’s going on?
Were you Kim Dynasty determined to rob the nation bare-naked in a full press court before your term ends?
I know when your end is near, the clarity of your thought and determination begin to waver, especially after you recover from the four years of intoxication with accolades and hallelujahs.
I would like to give you a blunt advice as one of your compatriots, your neighbors, or your fellow travelers on earth.
Call immediately your man in KBS TV HQ, Mr. Park, KS and tell him that you want to talk to people, and you tell them you quit and go away. Don’t look back or cry. Forget about your legacy on the national unification and give up the Nobel Peace Prize and/or return the prize money to the treasury.
And fly out the Seoul City before the World Soccer Game commences, because you and your family became the national disgrace.
Then, I can assure you that you and your family will be forgiven and forgotten by people.
(I don’t think you would follow my advice, because no Machiavellian disciples did what I advise to do, but you guys would attempt to swim out from the troubled water with any ways and means)
Finally, in order to spruce up you and myself, I would like to share the story of Machiavelli’s dream that he alleged had just before he kicked the bucket.
Niccolo di Bernardo Machiavelli has died in 1527 after confessing his sins to Friar Matteo, when he fell ill after the drug overdoses for his head pains.
During his illness before death, he told his friend about his dream:
He had seen a band of poorly dressed men, ragged and miserable in appearance.
He asked them who they were. They replied, “We are the saintly and the blessed; we are on our way to Heaven.”
Then he saw a crowd of solemnly attired men, noble, and grave in appearance, speaking seriously of important political matters.
In their midst he recognized the great philosophers and historians of antiquity who had written fundamental works on politics and the state, such as Plato, Plutarch, and Tacitus.
Again, he asked them who they were and where they were going. “We are the damned of Hell” was their answer.
After telling his friends of his dream, Machiavelli remarked that he would be far happier in Hell, where he could discuss politics with the great men of the ancient world, than in Heaven, where he would languish in boredom among the blessed and the sainty.
I bet you would rather go to Hell following Machiavelli when you die and I, too, would like to.
Good days until we meet in Hell, Bye.