Thursday, January 24, 2008

Article about truth commission in ROK

Dear class,

I found an article about truth commission in ROK. It is about the massacres during the Korean War. If any of you saw the movie "Brotherhood" or "Taegukgi," you would have seen the scene of massacres which killed innocent people who sign up to the leftist organization without knowing the purpose of the organization and simply for food.
President Roh's apology for massacre in 1950 is meaningful since it is the first apology from government to the government's villainy. Here is the article.

Roh Apologizes for Massacres of `Leftists' in 1950
By Han Sang-hee
Staff Reporter

President Roh Moo-hyun Thursday apologized for the massacres of hundreds of ``leftists'' in Ulsan during the 1950-53 Korean War.

``I deeply apologize on behalf of the country for the misconduct of the government in the past. I also express my consolation to the victims and families,'' he said in a video message at a memorial ceremony in Ulsan.

Fearing that the leftists might follow the North Korean regime, former President Syng-man Rhee ordered the first massacre ever to happen during the Korean War.

More than 870 members of the National Rehabilitation and Guidance League were killed in 1950 over a period of 21 days. Of them, the Presidential Truth and Reconciliation Commission have identified 407.

According to the commission, the Ulsan district police and military murdered them in nearby streams and hills. The victims included women and even teenagers.

The President said the incident was one of the biggest tragedies in Korean history and that families of the victims have spent all their lives in agony and sorrow.

After watching the President's message, family members also expressed their feelings and gratitude.

``It took 58 years for an apology. We accept President Roh's apology and hope that adequate measures for the victims will be worked out soon,'' a family member of a victim said.

Concerning the misconduct of previous governments, Roh said that it was important to clarify injustices that have not yet been taken care of and that proper follow-up measures to help the families were a must.

This is the first time for a President to apologize in public for previous governments' wrongdoings.

The National Rehabilitation and Guidance League was an organization made by the Rhee government in 1949 aimed at rooting out the leftist movement. There were branch organizations across the nation, Ulsan being one of them.

The members, who were branded as leftists, were mostly forced to join. But in some areas, civilians also became members to make up the numbers without knowing its true purpose, according to historical records.

The commission has urged the government to make an official apology to the victims' families and recover the victims' honor. Roh Apologizes for Massacres of `Leftists' in 1950(The Korea Times)
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Date Visited: Thu Jan 24 2008 07:00:58 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time)

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