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The Jeju April 3 Massacre and peace
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승인 2011.04.10  19:12:22
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T.S. Eliot said, “April is the cruelest month,” in his poem, ‘The Wasteland.’ He wondered why many people call April a cruel month, especially considering the fact that in the Northern hemisphere spring begins in April. People in Jeju, however, sympathize with this statement because it was in April when the cruel April 3 massacre happened.

This event was recorded as ‘the Jeju April 3 Incident’ by the Korean government. Who on earth can call this an incident when innocent children and women were shot to death, triggering a genocide of the Jeju people, starting on April 3 in 1948? This event was definitely not an incident but a planned, cruel genocide if only considering that the death toll reached about 30,000.

In a broader sense, the Jeju April 3 Massacre can be understood as a minority wrongly victimized by the social majority or a genocide committed by a governmental authority. Common people who knew little about the ideology were unjustly denounced as Communists and were killed in a cruel way. Most of the victims were good and naive. They didn’t know anything about communism.

Think about today! Is a minority wrongly victimized by the social majority or a genocide done by a governmental authority a story only occurring some 60 years ago in Jeju? Don’t you think such tragic events can also be found during other times and in other places, like long ago, even today in Korea, or in many other places in the world because of differences in skin color, religion, ideology and so on? In this sense, the April 3 Massacre has not ended yet. When the weak and victimized and the social minorities can live peacefully together without discrimination, the tragic April 3 Massacre will truly come to an end.

Jeju will be born again as the Island of Peace when it remembers the repressed minorities, not just of the past April 3 Massacre but also of today, worldwide, and regrets its wrongdoings and commemorates the victims.

(Translation by Ko Kyong-Hee)

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