By Koo Youenmo
Opening Reception on Thursday 8 September 2016 at 18.00 hrs.
What is a nation? Are we living in a great one? I cannot answer confidently. We have overcome dictatorship, suppression, civil war, absolute poverty, and political disorder. However, I cannot describe our country, The Republic of Korea, as “great” yet.
Vivid and painful memories remain in us still. Korean people do not believe in justice anymore, and the nation does not protect its people. A country that disregards justice and ignores even a single good person cannot be called a “great” country. Above all, the corruption left people despaired of the political, economic, and legal leadership class. Our country has lost its conscience in front of greed and personal profits. What I see in Korean society is a hopeless despair. The word “hell Chosun” has become a routinely used term.
In my youth, my country was a scary being. It demanded every citizen to salute the national flag every morning and evening. It forced everyone to memorize the Charter of National Education and shout “We love our nation”. In high school we were required to practice bayonet skills using replica rifles. Any violations and mistakes regarding these responsibilities meant punishment. The nation that handed a rifle in my twenties to defend itself, the nation that regularly collected taxes, what does this nation mean to us? And where are we going now?