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[Opinion] The Revival of Kim Il Sung

Posted October. 15, 2005 07:52,   


Cho Ki-sook, the presidential secretary for public affairs, once mentioned in a lecture, “Most American college professors are on the progressive side, but on the contrary, Korea has too many conservative college professors.” Considering the situation in universities these days, many will probably object to this comment. A quote from novelist Hong Sang-hwa’s work entitled “Dystopia” that deals with the leftist tendencies of American humanities professors comes to mind.

“Those who remain in college after graduation while most others enter society are the scholars. They want their excellence to be recognized in other places as well as among themselves, but when they discover that reality is not so, they become jealous over those who are better than they are. That jealousy is one reason they become leftists.” I wonder if this logic can be applied to Korean universities. Kang Jeong-gu and Jang Si-gi, professors at Dongguk University, have made the controversial statement that “Kim Il Sung was a great leader.” This was a statement that struck a blow upon the already shaken foundations of the nation.

Kim Il Sung first appeared before the public in the “General Kim Il Sung Welcoming Ceremony” that took place in Pyongyang on October, 1945. He was only 33 years old then. It is a clear fact that he was the leader of North Korea for nearly 50 years until his death in 1994. Professor Jang said, “Even the Africans think of Kim Il Sung as a great leader,” but anyone who was in power for that long leaves a deep impression. In North Korea, opinions of Kim Il Sung are nothing but praises, but South Korea should be different. The anti-Communist viewpoint that we learned during the dictatorship era is also inappropriate. We should approach the matter with an intellectual point of view; putting consideration on the facts and the essential qualities.

Professor Jang lacks basic common sense. Hailing the very individual who caused the Korean War that killed three million of our own people is neither one’s conviction nor subjectivity. It is known that Kim Il Sung’s lifetime dream was to allow “all of the people to have rice and meat soup.” If the result of Kim Il Sung’s 50-year rule is the starving of today’s North Koreans, then there is nothing more to say. Why does Professor Jang hope for Kim Il Sung’s “revival?”

Hong Chan-sik, Editorial writer, chansik@donga.com