In March 1st 1919, Taegeukgi (national flag of Korea) covered the Korean peninsula all day asthe Koreansstormed out in public crying for independence of Korea from the Imperial Japanese regime wave after wave. The Imperial Japanese soldiers coped with such situation with rifles and swords as this certainly showed a threat not only to the peaceful movement in the Korean peninsula, but also in the Far East. Although the Imperial Japanese outwardly expressed for peace, it was in fact contrast internally as they’ve imprisoned all the people who have participated in the peaceful movement. How many of those taken prisoners can you count? If we lived during that era, would we have the same courage to do the same as those who have sacrificed for this nation? It is not easy done than being said. The 1919 Independence Movement happened exactly 98 years ago from today, and in 2 years, when we welcome the 100 anniversary of the movement, the same questions which arise in my mind ‘What if it was myself’ never fades away from my thoughts as such negative situation is happening today here in Korea. It gives much thoughts with different feelings compared to 98 years ago as the Taegeukgi is around the whole nation today, just like 98 years ago on the same very day.
Taegeukgi is both the symbol of this nation and the Korean people, and maybe that is exactly why we Koreans become sentimental when this flag is in place overseas. Whenever Taegeukgi stands at major events such as the Olympics, one feels a lump on the throat because of the historical feelings of all sorts of history which is not easy to describe in words in the first place. For that reason, Taegeukgi surely is the symbol of patriotism and love for the people. That Taegeukgi, though, is in crisis at the moment as there are people abusing the national flag for their own advantages on the streets, and with such environment, the use of the Taegeukgi itself is being misunderstood even for the innocents.
Some parts of the local government face troubles these days despite the campaigns which are intentionally aiming to continue the spirit of independence in a positive way simply because Taegeukgi offers a negative perspective, a complete misunderstanding. Take the 25th of last month as an example at Cheongdam-dong in Gangnam. The Head of the Cheongdam-dong was providing Taegeukgi to citizens on the street with innocent intentions, but was accused on public as he was taken to be considered as one of those protestors at ‘Taegeukgi Protest’ simply because he was holding and providing the national flag – which the ‘Taegeukgi Protest’ people are doing in the hope of holding the impeachment of President Park away. As is the timing, holding the national flag at this stage is not surprising to be considered as one of those.
It is truly embarrassing to witness the fact that holding the national flag for good values would be viewed with a prejudice despite all the historical significance since the Imperial Japanese era. If that is so, why would Gwangju Metropolitan City actually cancel a project in providing the national flag for free even when the objective was actually to commemorate the Independence Movement? It is not just and right for the national flag to be abused by a certain individual or group for their own advantageous. This performance by the lawyer standing on behalf of the President does not convey a message or a good significance whatsoever.
Taegeukgi is not an instrument for indulgence nor is it for political propaganda. It is a profanity to use the national flag for their own use, as this has always been protected by our own forefathers’ blood throughout the history.The national flag being used with yellow ribbons or any candlelight with its symbols simply can’t be used as a feast regardless of the intentions of anyone. We simply would like to ask to those abusing the national flag if they truly have desperate minds of our forefathers who have strongly hold the Taegeukgi for independence during the hardship.
Taegeukgi only functions as a light when it is used by its own people from hands to hearts sincerely. We all wish Taegeukgi to be used as an instrument for peace of humanity instead of a propaganda elsewhere.
▶한국어버전: [천지일보 시론] 태극기는 어제의 그 함성을 듣고 싶어 한다