by WorldTribune Staff, October 27, 2021
On Oct. 26, 1979, President Park Chung-Hee was assassinated by his own KCIA Chief. His daughter, the conservative former President Park Geun-Hye was impeached and is still in prison.
Former Gyeonggi Province Gov. Kim Moon-Soo, who opposed Park in his youth, paid tribute to Park with the following eulogy translated by EastAsiaResearch.org:
Forty-two years ago today, you shocked us by leaving us.
On that day, as the branch leader of the Hanil Industrial Labor Union, I was surprised to see the “President Park Chung-Hee Passed Away” headline on newspapers strewn on the subway floor on my way to work, but on the other hand, I was also excited, thinking, “now the Yushin dictatorship is over and Korea will democratize.”
When I was a senior in high school, I was suspended indefinitely for protesting against amending the Constitution that allowed the president to run for a third term. I was kicked out of university twice for opposing military training and the Yushin Constitution.
I opposed the construction of the Gyeongbu [Seoul to Busan] Expressway [the first expressway in Korea], because those activists who are more senior to me taught me that the expressway, like Hitler’s Autobahn, is the means to strengthen dictatorship.
But it wasn’t until I became a governor 36 years later that I realized that the highway construction was essential for the development of the northern part of Gyeonggi Province and rural areas, and I was so ashamed that I opposed your foresightful act.
University Professors and we the students objected to you at the time by saying it’s a “Volkswagen”-style demagoguery like Hitler’s Nazi dictatorship, when you talked about the “My Car” era [Korean people owning own cars when almost no one had cars].
Korea had no automobile manufacturing technology, no capital, and no market. We opposed you giving one reason after another, stating no less-developed country has succeeded in manufacturing automobiles.
But to our surprise, you have made our country one of the top five automobile producers in the world.
In all sectors — steel-making, automotive, shipbuilding, heavy chemicals, electronics, and the defense industries—you were the best industrial revolutionary.
You were the best urban builder, having built the new cities of Pohang, Ulsan, Gumi, Changwon and Ansan.
Park Chung-Hee not only incorporated the latest technology, but also combined residential housing, universities, and parks, to build complex new cities in the shortest amount of time.
After you came the new city of Roh Tae-Woo, the New Town of Lee Myung-Bak, the Happy City of Park Geun-Hye, and the 3rd generation new cities, but they are just bedroom towns [where people go to sleep, but lack cultural, social, business, and other attractions that encourage societal interactions that give vibrancy to a city or town].
Whether they be highways, subways, sea ports, or airports, you were the best builder of our homeland.
Your grand initiative, the best master plan, and your powerful drive have achieved the Miracle of the Han River that no one in the history of the world can match.
You, who I hated the most, achieved all four of my dreams.
My first dream was to have plenty of food to eat.
You solved Korea’s 5,000 years of hunger through farmland improvement, unification rice production [a new breed of rice that was highly productive], fertilizer plant construction, dam construction, and reclaimed land development.
My second dream was for good health and longevity, and you accomplished this for us.
For those of us who have lived through childhood periods when we couldn’t go to the hospital when we were sick, the medical revolution was like a dream.
You had promoted a medical insurance system and a level of healthcare technology that even Americans envy.
Third, it is thanks to your nuclear energy development that we, who used lanterns even into our 20s, have been able to use the world’s highest quality electricity.
The fourth dream [was to have plenty of water to drink and to have it nearby]. We used to go fetch water, and waited in line with a bucket to do so.
In a water-scarce country, where both agricultural and industrial sectors faced water shortages, you built dams, reforested the mountains, and developed water supply infrastructure, so no matter how rain-less, we have plenty of clean water for the kitchen and bathroom. I am living my dream.
Anti-communism was your top priority in national policy. 42 years after your departure, democratization has gone awry, and now the Republic of Korea has become a playground for the pro-North Korea Jusapa (KimIlSung’ists).
The Republic of Korea is on the brink of North Korea-dominated unification.
Communists•thugs are communizing the country and destroying the Miracle of the Han River.
The National Intelligence Service is communizing with a rock at the entry carved with North Korean spy Shin Yong-bok’s calligraphy.
They are shouting out “uriminjokkiri” [our people by ourselves] and instigating an anti-Japan “bamboo spear struggle.”
Although Kim Jong-Un threatens the world with nuclear bombs and missiles, they want to dismantle the ROK-U.S. alliance, demand the “end of war” declaration, and teach [kids, soldiers, public] that there is no main enemy [that threatens us].
I spat at you, saying “we can’t” when you said “we can.” Now, I lay flowers at your grave.
Your dreams grew out of hunger and despair during the colonial period, but they transcended history, were revolutionary, and were worldly.
Your achievements will go beyond your grievous fate and be eternal with The Republic of Korea.
No matter who spits at your grave, their achievements [if any] will pale in comparison to the miracle of the Han River that you achieved.
You’re a great revolutionary!
Your beloved daughter President Park Geun-Hye was impeached through the political purge under the slogan of Jeokpae Cheongsan [“eliminate deep-rooted evil”] and was sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment. She has been imprisoned for 5 years already.
We will extricate your daughter.
We will defend your achievements.
Your Republic of Korea—we will achieve unification under freedom, under the flag of the Republic of Korea.
Rest in peace.