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Posted August. 25, 2010 08:21,   


Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong were the two dictators credited with killing the most people in history. Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, who turned Cambodia into the “killing fields,” and Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, who made North Korea a living hell, also make the list of mass murderers. Such anti-humanitarian dictators stigmatized the innocent as the “enemy of the people” or “enemy of the nation,” put them into concentration camps, and killed them.

Kim Jong Il and his group stigmatize the South Korean government and President Lee Myung-bak as “fascist betrayers” or a “fascist right-wing dictatorial regime.” Considering the history of totalitarianism and fascism and the theories of Benito Mussolini and Hitler, previous military governments in South Korea could be called authoritarian but definitely not fascist. Since democratization, the Republic of Korea is anything but a fascist state. Repeatedly bringing up outdated data is North Korea’s typical way of stigmatization. Given the ideological confusion in South Korean society, the North probably believes that its propaganda is still working.

Citizens United for a Better Society, a right-wing group in South Korea, said, “The incumbent administration failed to deliver the essence of its major policies until its term was half over, not to mention discuss it, because it lost dominance over propagating phrases to the other group.” Examples of the propagating phrases are “a shoveling economy (criticizing construction-oriented economic projects),” “death (which sounds like the number four in Korean) major river project,” “tax cuts for the rich,” “school for the privileged,” and “for-profit hospitals.” This is similar to the pattern of criticism like “pro-Japanese group” or “conservative extreme right-wingers” if false propaganda and violent protests are strictly handled in South Korea and human rights in North Korea are emphasized over the North Korean government. Dr. Gong Byung-ho said, “One of the strengths of left-wing groups is criticizing their target as extreme rightists and putting a strong stigma on them.”

The Lee Myung-bak administration, which has passed the half point of its five-year term, has often acted belatedly to stigmatization by a certain group. It needs to accept constructive criticism in the course of making policies. Yet a responsible administration should confront a propagating offensive with a hidden agenda – toppling of the Republic of Korea or the administration – through criticism of government policies. American writer Robert Greene said, “Leaving the enemy to make your image on its own is providing a higher moral ground to its advantage. You should not just complain about the other’s behavior but have to unveil the enemy’s hypocrisy and fight it.”

Editorial Writer Kwon Sun-hwal (shkwon@donga.com)