Meeyang Ki/Arirang Society Research Director
70 years ago, the Korean War broke out. In the memory of those 3 year’s rancor is closely interwined with achievements. Not long ago, during the ceremony on the Memorial Day the rancor was being remembered. "Oh, how can we forget this day? The day that enemies intruded our Motherland. Let's stop the enemy with our bare fists and with our blood. Stamp your feet, hit the ground on this day of righteous rage." That is lightly defined. "With a strong anti-communist spirit, let's also live a good life earned with hard work. All those are various means of expressing democracy and popular sovereignity."
But there are numbers to be remembered forever. 621,479 casualties, including 137,899 South Korean soldiers, 450,7422 wounded, and 32,838 missing and imprisoned. 151,129 people were killed, including 37,902 UN troops and 103,460 people were injured. The Communist Army's North Korean troops’ damage ranged from 500,000 to 520,000, missing and imprisoned from 98,000 to 120,000, Chinese Communist Army’s damage was 148,600, 798,400 wounded, missing and captive 25,600. In total, 1,778,600 people fell victims of the War, 127,600 went missing and captured. In addition, 1 million civilian South Koreans, 1.5 million North Koreans died, there were 300,000 war widows, 100,000 war orphans, 3.2 million refugees, and 10 million separated families. 10% of the total population of North and South Korea was killed. With all these numbers, Korean War is unforgettable.
The aim of that war was to make the whole Korean peninsula communist. Planned by Kim Il Sung, approved by Stalin and implemented by Mao Zedong. The North Korean Communist Army's illegal invasion during the Korean War lasted for three years, causing massive economic and material damage along with millions of victims. The Korean War, which caused enormous human damage, was not only an inhumane war that destroyed the human life on large scale, but also an anti-ethnic tragedy that threatened the survival of the Korean people and destroyed the normal course of life.
Thus, any endeavors of justification of the was based on the etiology or nature of the Korean War are unacceptable. This is the conclusion obtained after studying and researching for 70 years.
However, there were already confirmed sentiments when personality theories were altered in the name of majority theory.
Let’s look at the "Arirang History" written in the memory of that July.
"Arirang July” was the time of a ceasefire talks from 1951 to 1953. The ceasefire negotiations began on July 10, 1951. An agreement on the military demarcation line and the demilitarized zone was reached, giving hope for an earlier truce. However, the talks were rescheduled and resumed due to differences in arguments and interests. The armistice negotiations lasted for two years as the United Nations’ position on the principle of repatriation by the free will of prisoners of war and the communist's position on forced repatriation were in conflict. And so, Arirang got involved.
Due to the termination of the ceasefire, both sides occupied favorable positions on highlands and mobilized all kinds of weapons and strategies. Among those, the propaganda and phycological warfare were at the forefront. In the middle of the night, the sound of Arirang fired as an acoustic bomb.
"－The sound of the adversary broadcasting of Arirang at Highland 854 of Jungbu Electric Wire -
On the Middle Eastern Front overlooking Mt. Geumgang, the sound broadcasted by our troop information and education officer crossed the hills under the bright moonlight of the mid-autumn harvest moon and crossed the valley going straight into enemy’s territory. The realism of the sentimental "Arirang Taeryeong”, broadcasted as a first sound bomb, stirred the soul, breaking the silence of the front line.
We are crying over people/ We are crying over the people of war
Arirang Arirang Arariyo/ Passing the Arirang path crying
The broadcasting of the Arirang encouraged defection from the enemy’s side. On average, Arirang was bringing back more than a dozen soldiers a day.
In response, North Korea fired an acoustic grenade toward the south as well. It was a batte of Arirangs. This time it was ‘Paljisan Arirang’.
"When you look at Namchosun, it hurts your heart. The people of North Korea are happy.
The flag of the Republic of Baekdusan is waving / There are guerrilla camps Halla Mountain in Jeju Island.
Look at me lady, look at me precisely/ Love me like a blooming flower in winter
Ari-arirang seuri-seuri-rang Arari is here / Passing the Arirang path”
It was the "Arirang bomb" during the war, Arirang's burst in anticipation of upcoming truce. It is a history written by Arirang and Arirang spirit of resistance. The two sides were enemies, but this battle of songs only became possible, because it was the same nation. Even though they were enemies, that example showed that they were all "Arirang People".
Finally, on July 27, 1953, U.N. Commander Lieutenant general Mark W. Clark, commander of the Chinese People’s Volunteers Peng Dehuai and Chosun People’s Supreme Commander Kim Il-sung signed the Armistice Agreement. The signing of the ‘Agreement on the Military Armistice of Korea’ stopped the gunshots and gunfire. At the same time, it declared that a full and complete end-of-war agreement would be signed by the two Koreas. It was an Arirang performance marking a ceasefire.
It was an international meeting, but there was no applause or handshake. There was not a single smile. However, the moment the UN forces went to the east gate and the North and Chinese troops to the west gate, they all played Arirang. What does it mean that both sides played Arirang at the same time? Although it was an unfinished ceasefire talk, the main subject was "Arirang People”, and the aim was to let the world know about this subject.
The history of the Korean War 70 years ago and the two-year truce talk between July 10, 1951 and July 27, 1953 is written by Arirang. And the future, that will be based on that history, should be written in a spirit of coexistence and mutual prosperity of "Arirang People”. So I repeat the words, "Write history with Arirang, and write the future of Arirang with that history."
English translation by Dinara Shosaidova
[아리랑칼럼} 70주년, 7월의 아리랑 역사