Is it government’s historical ignorance or indifference?

Jeon Ji-hyun, Kim Se-hun, Oh Dong-wook 2024. 3. 4. 14:46
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card news (left) from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety stating that the \

This year’s ceremony marking the March 1 Independence Movement was marred by unintended controversy. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety posted an untrue statement on its official social networking service (SNS) account that the March 1 Independence Movement "started in Harbin, Manchuria," which was later deleted. The background text of the ceremony attended by President Yoon Suk-yeol also became controversial as it was read as the "Self-Defense Forces," the Japanese military, when reading the first letter vertically.

Criticism has been pouring in as controversy over the government's "view of history" has been recurring due to its lax review ofpromotional materials and textbooks. Historical experts criticized the recent controversy over the ceremony marking the March 1Independence Movement, calling it a "ridiculous mistake that reveals ignorance." They pointed out that "It cannot be dismissed as a simple mistake because the government has repeated serious problems, such as writing 'Dokdo is a disputed territory' even in the educational materials of the Ministry of National Defense.”

"Isn't it something that even middle school students know that the March 1 Movement began around Tapgol Park in Jongno, Seoul on March 1, 1919?"

Lee Joon-sik, former director of the Independence Memorial Hall and the only grandson of General Ji Cheong-cheon, said in a phone interview with Kyunghyang Shinmun on March 3 while talking about the card news that the Ministry of the Interior and Safety deleted. "It's a ridiculous mistake, and I think it shows how ignorant the government is of the country’s independence movements including the March 1 Independence Movement," Lee said, adding, "Otherwise, it couldn't post such a crappy document on its official account, whichis almost equivalent to an official document." Historian Jeon Woo-yong dismissed the posting, saying, "It's an absurd and incomprehensible post that is not worthy of debate."

"In both cases, the government said it was a mistake, but the mistake is being repeated," said Ahn Byung-wook, professor emeritus of history at Catholic University of Korea. "I think there are government officials who have a warped sense of history, such as New Right’s history, and their thoughts are reflected in such writings.” He added, "If it happened only once, it could be said it was a mistake by working-level officials, but every time it happens, I can feel the pro-Japanese stance consistently. And the consistency is what makes it read as a deliberate message rather than an accidental incident."

※This article has undergone review by a professional translator after being translated by an AI translation tool.

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