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Lonely funeral of Lee Seung-bok’s father

Posted August. 29, 2014 04:00,   


On Oct. 30, 1968, 120 North Korean commandos infiltrated into the coast of Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province, and Samcheok, Gangwon Province. They forced the residents in mountain villages in Uljin to praise North Korea and stabbed those who resisted or hesitated with a sword or hit their heads with a stone to death. South Korean military and police who came to the scene after a resident’s report and killed 113 of the commandos and captured seven until the end of the year.

North Korean commandos fleeing to the North killed Lee Seung-bok, the then nine-year old-student, his mother, and his two younger brother and sister who lived in a remote village in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, on Dec. 9. When Lee Seung-bok said, “I hate Communists!” the North Korean commandos killed him by cutting the right end of his lips to right beneath his ear. His father, Lee Seok-woo, was stabbed in his thigh by them but managed to escape and reported this to the police and military.

Lee Seok-woo, who had a tough life after the incident ruined his family, died on Sunday. Lee Hak-gwan, the dead boy’s older brother who managed to survive at the time, and other bereaved families received a phone call from the Lee Seung-bok Memorial, saying, “We’ll contact the heads of government bodies.” However, no governor, no superintendent of education, and no senior police officers in the region attended his funeral on Monday at a hall run by Gangwon Office of Education. Small condolences flowers at the funeral were sent by the deputy superintendent, not the superintendent. The bereaved families had meals on a mat on a concrete floor in front of the memorial.

Some left-wing people have tried hard to undermine the meaning of the death of Lee Seung-bok and his family since the 1990s. Lee Seung-bok disappeared from textbooks and the job grade of the head of the memorial was lowered. Coincidentally, Min Byeong-hee, the superintendent of Gangwon Office of Education who did not attend the funeral supports the liberal teachers’ union and shows an allergic reaction to “anti-communism,” and Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon belongs to the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy. The picture in which Lee’s bereaved families having meals on a concrete floor is a sad contrast to the condolences flowers sent by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the grandson of Kim Jong Il who sent the commandos to Uljin and Samcheok 46 years ago, which were carefully put on a red carpet for the fifth anniversary of the death of former President Kim Dae-jung at Seoul National Cemetery in Seoul.