Dear readers of Dong-A Ilbo:
I am Robert Kim, or Kim Chae-gon, the man you have watched closely with concern.
Thanks to your support, I was able to finish the term imposed on me in good health.
A Korean saying goes, In 10 years, even rivers and mountains change. However, you and other fellow Koreans in my homeland have remembered me and waited for my release for that long. I dont know how I can properly express my gratitude to you.
I know a lot of people say that what I did was a sacrifice or that I was unfairly treated. However, it was your concern about me that warmed my heart in my cold jail cell. I am not unfortunate. I am a fortunate person who has received more love than I deserve. Songs for me were made. Tens of thousands of phone calls were made to help me. Signature-collecting campaigns, prayer meetings and street concerts were held for me. My face blushes with shame when I question myself if what I did is worth all that.
Now I am free. I can go wherever I want and do whatever I want. I was given freedom to say without reserve that I am Korean. And I was given freedom to dedicate myself to my fatherland.
I will run to you without hesitation, not caring for what other people think. There, I will do whatever I can.
First of all, I would like to devote myself to educating adolescents. I cannot teach them something grand, since Im not an education expert. I would like to teach them the basics of democracy relying on what I saw and experienced.
Only when our adolescents think right will our future be promising. I will act as a guide for our younger generation so that they can respect and put into practice the democratic values that their grandfathers and the grandfathers of their grandfathers defended, even in war.
The peaceful family which gave me comfort was thrown into turmoil overnight. However, instead of feeling bitterness against me, my family members did their best in their positions and defended the family. The fact that I had a family waiting for me was one of the important reasons why I could endure the life of imprisonment.
The reality facing our society makes me feel sad. It is the breakdown of families. I think that the family is one of important values that we have to defend at all costs. While writing this letter, I feel like I have lots of things that I want to do in Korea. It is because I owe so much to my homeland and fellow Koreans. If I am given the opportunity, I would like to spend the rest of my life in my motherland and devote my meager power to wherever it is needed
The day we will meet in person is coming closer. My heart is fluttering. I feel like a child who is looking forward to a picnic.
I will pack in my bag my dreams, hopes, and future. I wish you health.
October 9, 2005