20100116

Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Korea Under Revision ?

According to OhMyNews*, translators are considering suing Lee Young-Jo, the new President of Korea's Truth and Reconciliation Commission**, for defamation.

One of the first decisions of Lee Young-Jo was to ban the English brochure published by the TRCK in March 2009 to present its recent achievements ("Truth and Reconciliation - Activities of the Past Three Years") because "it is biased and the English is incorrect". Translators deny the charges and OhMyNews couldn't get any example of translation errors from the organization.

Since I'm not a native English speaker, I cannot judge what's grammatically correct... but "the Park military junta introduced an extreme right-wing Fascist regime into Korean society during a time when the nation lacked thoughts, values, and awareness of democracy" may sound politically incorrect. I reckon the cover of the report featuring civilian massacres could also hurt the feelings of ultra-conservatives who would prefer to keep the lid on such inconvenient truths (not to mention the feelings of grieving families).

Maybe Lee Young-Jo, a TRCK commissioner since 2005 and a fluent English speaker, saw the document under a different light after his nomination... I wouldn't dare imagining that his very nomination, under a conservative government, was part of a scheme to undermine the formidable achievements of the TRCK under his predecessors. Yet, several medias point out Mr Lee's own conservative credentials as an eminent leader of the New Right movement***, and a SisaIN article even evokes a possible sabotage of the organization, and past efforts from the New Right to revise history textbooks****.

If this book ban proves to be actually an act of censorship, I wonder what kind of changes could be already happening within this up to now irreproachable organization...

As we saw earlier, the TRCK did such a good job in performing its missions that it was politically impossible for ultra-conservatives to put an end to it. If their intention is to discreetly sabotage it, it is bound to backfire and at the end of the day, President Lee Myung-bak will have to make a choice : maintain the TRCK on its original tracks, or let the discredit and international uproar hurt his own image.

blogules 2010 - initially published on Seoul Village ("TRCK lost in translation or lost in transition ?").
=>
all posts related to TRCK.

* "Translators upset by 'New Right Truth and Reconciliation Commission'" ("
번역자들, '뉴라이트 진실화해위'에 뿔났다" - 20100113 updated 20100114).
** we mentioned his nomination last December in "
Achievements and Tasks of TRCK's Activities".
*** Last month I was a little bit disturbed by his resume but didn't find any website about these organizations : Lee Young-jo was President of the Capitalism Economy and Nationalism Research Center and Secretary General of the Citizens United for Better Society
**** "New Right received by past Commission" ("
뉴라이트가 접수한 과거사정리위원회" - SisaIn 20091221)

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