페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-09-29 19:24 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 23 5. Trust\and Treachery
5. Trust\and Treachery
Recently our newspapers have been again carrying the reminiscences of the anti-Japanese guerrillas. This is a very good thing.
The reminiscences are precious treasures of our Party, each with a high educational value. How fine The Conviction of Victory is! In the 1960s our people read these reminiscences a lot. They had a strong impact on our postwar economic reconstruction\and industrialization.
The more difficult the situation\and our struggle, the more reminiscences like The Conviction of Victory we must read, because vacillators tend to crop up in such circumstances.
When our revolution was faced with severe trials like the Arduous March, stragglers, deserters\and capitulators began to appear among those whose confidence in the victory of the revolution was shaky.
Vacillators\and deserters also appeared in our ranks when a neutrality pact was signed between the Soviet\union\and Japan. Ji Kap Ryong, who appears in The Conviction of Victory, was one of those deserters.
The neutrality pact between the Soviet\union\and Japan was signed in April 1941, in the days when I was operating with a small unit. On his way backrom a visit to Germany, Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka\dropped in at Moscow\and concluded the neutrality pact. Its repercussions reached our People’s Revolutionary Army.
The gist of the treaty was that the signatories should maintain peaceful relations, respect the integrity\and inviolability of each other’s territory,\and observe neutrality when either party engaged in hostilities with a third country.
As you can see, the treaty had no article that dealt with the Korean question. So there was no reason for the treaty to upset Koreans in particular.
Nevertheless, a considerable number of Korean revolutionaries were disappointed on hearing the news of the treaty. They had been considering the Soviet\union as their most reliable ally\and, as the ally had joined hands with Japan, their mortal enemy, they thought that everything was hopeless. They became disheartened, as they had interpreted the clauses on respect for each other’s territory\and maintenance of peaceful relations in the treaty as a declaration that the Soviet\union\and Japan would not engage in a war against each other.
This judgment produced, in the long run, pessimism, defeatism\and capitulationism in corners of our ranks.
After signing the treaty with the Soviets, the Japanese gave wide publicity to it. They carried in their newspapers a photo of Stalin meeting Matsuoka. This photo had a strong psychological impact on waverers among us.
However, could the basic revolutionary stand of Korean communists change because their neighbouring countries had signed a treaty? Did we rely on a big country when we were starting the revolution? No. We started it with belief in ourselves. After starting the armed struggle, we received no aid, not even a single hand-grenade,rom our neighbours. We waged the armed struggle, carried on Party building\and conducted the united front movement by solving everything by our own efforts\and by believing in the strength of our own people.
In the course of this we entered into a joint struggle with the Chinese people\and formed an allied front with the Soviet people. An ally would be welcome, but it wouldn’t matter if there were no ally. That was our consistent stand. That was why,rom the first day of the armed struggle, we educated the army\and the people in the spirit of independence\and equipped them with the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance. We stressed time\and again that independence meant life, that dependence on foreign forces meant the lot of slaves, that self-reliance would lead us to prosperity,\and that we could neither liberate the country nor build a new country without relying on ourselves.
But some commanding officers paid little attention to education in the spirit of liberating the country by our own efforts\and the spirit of self-reliance; they only stressed the contradictions between the Soviet\union\and Japan,\and the greatness of the Soviet\union. This permitted the germs of worship of great powers to infiltrate the minds of men like Ji Kap Ryong–the idea that only a war between the Soviet\union\and Japan would create a decisive opportunity for liberating Korea\and that we could defeat Japan only with the help of such a great power as the Soviet\union.
The Japanese foreign minister’s visit to Moscow to sign the neutrality pact with the Soviet\union was no more than a smokescreen. The Japanese were always looking for a chance to push north, in other words, to attack the Soviet\union. Japan\and Germany had agreed in secret to cooperate in an attack on the Soviet\union,\and planned to divide the vast territory of the Soviet\union into two parts, with the Urals as the demarcation line to be occupied by eachrom the east\and west, respectively.
However, Japan was not yet strong enough to invade the Soviet\union. So the southward policy got the upper hand. It was Japan’s intention to occupy Southeast Asia, store up sufficient strategic reserves\and then march into the Soviet Far East\and swallow up the region as far as the line of the Urals only after Nazi Germany had inflicted fatal wounds on the Soviet\union. The strategy could be likened to the proverb, “waiting for a persimmon to ripen\and fall of its own accord.” Japan’s signing of the neutrality pact with the Soviet\union was a contortion in her timetable.
As German forces invaded the Soviet\union two months after the signing of the pact, Japan immediately\ordered her Kwantung Army to stage “special exercises”. This was as good as a preliminary\order for a war against the Soviet\union. During these exercises the strength of the Kwantung Army on the Soviet-Manchurian border doubled. This revealed what the Japanese really had in mind.
The mere fact that Matsuoka, the mastermind of the neutrality pact, asserted that a war against the Soviet\union was imminent shows how cunning\and brazen-faced the Japanese ruling circles were.
Was the Soviet\union fooled by this trick of the Japanese? It knew Japan’s strategy too well for that. Seeing, however, that Japan was taking the initiative in proposing to maintain peaceful relations\and respect each other’s territorial integrity, the Soviet\union, that had been guarding against a possible pincer attackrom the east\and west by Japan\and Germany, felt that this was a lucky chance. In those days the Soviet\union was faced with an unprecedented threat of invasion by Nazi Germany. The large German forces massed on its western frontier might attack at any time. Japan’s professed neutrality in this situation, in spite of her covetous eye on Siberia, gave the Soviet\union the respite of a possible delay in having to fight a two-front war.
When Matsuoka was leaving Moscow, Stalin was said to have seen him off at the railway station. This fact eloquently spoke of the mental state of the Soviet leadership on the eve of the Soviet-German War.
So how ignorant it was to think that the Soviet\union had become a friend of Japan by signing the neutrality pact!
The more tense the situation is, the soberer must be the estimate\and judgment of it. If you take a phenomenon at its face value, failing to see through its essence, you are liable to make a fatal mistake. Ji Kap Ryong made such a mistake.
Ji Kap Ryong’s defection was also called the Wangbabozi incident.
The incident took place in the spring of 1941, when I was operating in the Antu area in command of a small unit.rom a base in Hanconggou, I was directing small units\and groups operating in different areas. The greatest difficulty we had at that time was the fact that all the local people were confined in internment villages. We had to get in touch with them, but it was not easy.
The only way was to obtain helprom the hunters, charcoal burners\and medicinal-herb collectors who used to roam the mountains. Hunters caught deerrom early spring to autumn. They caught them by digging pits, in which they placed metal-tipped stakes,\and then covering them with thin twigs\and grass before spreading salt on top. Deer which stepped on the grass to lick the salt would fall into the pit\and get pierced by the stakes.
If we dealt with these hunters tactfully, we could get in touch with secret\organizations\and learn the enemy’s movements.
I divided the small unit into several groups, which I dispatched on missions to different places. Ji Kap Ryong\and Kim Pong Rok were sent to Wangbabozi to work among the local inhabitants\and obtain food.
Headquarters\ordered the leaders of these small groups to report the results of their work once every five days. But no report camerom Ji’s group. This was unusual. I had to send a responsible man to find out the situation with Ji’s group, but I had no one. At that very moment Ryu Kyong Su’s group returned to Headquarters. Kim Ik Hyon\and Xu Bao-ren, a soldier of Chinese nationality, were the other members of Ryu’s group. The three of them were tough men, as hard as birch trees, but their appearance was appalling.
They said they had experienced manifold hardships; they had run out of food; they had had to make a detour twice as long as planned, because the Fuerhe River was swollen;\and one of them had sufferedrom cramp in his stomach. To make matters worse, they had encountered an armed band of immigrantsrom the Ryukyu Islands in Japan disguised as peasants when they were passing Dapuchaihe\or somewhere. They had had a hard time of it pursued by these people.
On hearing about this armed band, I thought the Japanese imperialists were really nasty\and cunning.
Ryu Kyong Su\and Kim Ik Hyon told me the story in turn.
The band numbered about 100. As they wore peasant clothes\and were sowing seeds, our men thought they might obtain food with their help. This got them into trouble.
Hiding by the roadside, our men watched for a chance. When they saw a man walking to the edge of the field, they told him that they were anti-Japanese guerrillas,\and asked him if he could help them buy food. But the peasant did not understand them. Perceiving that he understood neither Korean nor Chinese, they thought he must be deaf. So they tried gestures. Only then did he understand.
The peasant walked slowly back into the field,\and then all of a sudden shouted something. Immediately, the men in the field scattered here\and there\and took up riflesrom behind piles of stones\and bushes. They pounced upon our men, firing\and shouting. Simultaneously, two machine-guns began to fire.
They were almost trapped. They ran for more than a mile,\and sank down exhausted as soon as they had thrown off their pursuers. By chance they found some potatoes in a field, boiled them\and ate them. They could not find the owner of the field, so they wrapped in oil paper 50 yuan to pay for the potatoes, fastened it on a pole\and set the pole at the edge of the field so that the owner would notice it. In those days a draught ox cost about 50 yuan,\and they left 50 yuan as the price of a few potatoes!
The fact that they encountered a band of Ryukyuan immigrants armed even with machine-guns speaks volumes about how trying the circumstances were in the days of small-unit actions. In\order to disintegrate the revolutionary ranks the enemy enlisted every means\and method conceivable.
When he knew that somebody had to go to see what was the matter with Ji Kap Ryong’s group, Kim Ik Hyon, though utterly exhausted, volunteered for the mission.
The next day, I dispatched him to Wangbabozi.
Kim Ik Hyon found that Ji Kap Ryong, out of defeatism, had totally neglected the assignments entrusted to him by Headquarters. Ji was spending most of his time,rom morning till evening, looking down at a villagerom the top of a mountain.
Having gone hungry for four days, Kim Pong Rok was lying in a lean-to. He told Kim Ik Hyon that he had not performed his mission,\and felt too listless to go to Headquarters to make a report.
When Ji Kap Ryong returned to the hut, Kim Ik Hyon reasoned with him: “Nearly ten days have passed since you came here on a mission. Is it right just to hang around here without making a report to Headquarters? Let’s meet hunters this very evening\and set to work.”
Ji Kap Ryong said the situation was dangerous so they had to wait.
However hard Kim Ik Hyon tried to persuade him, it fell on deaf ears.
The next morning, when Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok went to wash their faces, Ji Kap Ryong took their rifles awayrom them. He said to them: “I have followed the armed ranks for nearly ten years. In the course of this I have tasted all possible hardships, but I have endured them with the hope that the day of Korea’s independence would come after the hardships. Now this dream has come to naught. You know that the Soviet\union\and Japan have concluded a neutrality pact. I used to believe that deep-rooted hostile contradictions exist between them,\and a war will break out between them before long. I had hoped that in the event of such a war we could defeat the Japanese army in cooperation with the Soviet forces\and liberate the country. But this is now out of the question. I can’t engage in this absurd struggle any longer. Worse still, I have had a relapse of a disease. So I’m going home.”
Kim Ik Hyon asked him if he really meant what he said.
“Yes. I have made my mind up after thinking it over carefully for several days. Follow me if you also want to go,” was his reply.
“If you want to go,” retorted Kim Pong Rok in tears, “go alone. If I have to die, I’ll die at the side of the Comrade Commander. The future of the revolution may seem gloomy, but how can you desert him?”
Ji said, “Though I desert, I’ll never commit foul crimes like Rim Su San. Believe me,\wherever I go, I will live like a man.”
Kim Ik Hyon berated him: “However gloomy the future of the revolution is, we can’t follow you\and desert the Comrade Commander. How immoral it is to follow a man when the times are good\and desert him when the times are bad! You say you will live like a man. But you will see after going down the mountain that you will not be able to live a manly life however hard you may try.rom the moment you lay down your arms, your life will be worth no more than a pebble. Look what became of Rim Su San, Choe Yong Bin\and Kim Paek San. So don’t go over to the enemy on any account. Give us our rifles back.”
Saying that his mind was made up, Ji told them he would not give them their rifles back until he had descended the mountain safely\and that he would hang the rifles on a bridge not far awayrom the hut before going on his way. After Ji went away, Kim Pong Rok went to the bridge\and returned with the rifles.
Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok left for the rendezvous. As they had not eaten anything for days\and encountered enemy soldiers on their way, they arrived at the rendezvous much later than the set date. So they could not meet the messenger I had sent there. It was a rule in our guerrilla army that Headquarters would move to another place after a small unit had been dispatched\and a messenger had been sent to the former site of Headquarters.
Though they failed to meet the messenger, the two men did not leave the place. Eating grass boiled in water, they waited for the opportunity to get in touch with Headquarters. When grass is boiled in water with salt in a pail, the water becomes green. They lived on that water. One time they boiled an ox bone discarded several months previously. Something like rice was floating in the soup. They were maggots, not grains of rice. After eating the soup with the maggots, they swooned.
On the verge of deathrom hunger after some days, they wrote a message on a tree after scraping some of the bark away. They wrote with a piece of charcoal they had found at the site of the campfire that Ji Kap Ryong had deserted,\and Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok had died of hunger. They then lay in the bushes side by side, waiting for death. Had we not sent Jon Mun Sop there at that time, the two men would have died right there.
Reading what was written on the tree, Jon Mun Sop called out their names as he searched for them. But the two men had no strength to respond. Jon Mun Sop found them only after hearing a faint groan.
Jon Mun Sop took a great deal of trouble to bring the two comrades-in-arms to Headquarters. In the end he grew so worn out he could hardly move his legs. With all his strength he brought the two men to Headquarters. Only after we poured some spoonfuls of thin gruel into their mouths did Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok gain consciousness.
This is the story of the Wangbabozi incident.
We learned serious lessonsrom this incident.
The most serious lesson was that we should teach our men to refrainrom worshipping great powers,\and believe in their own strength.
Ji Kap Ryong’s desertion was the consequence of his lack of confidence in the victory of the revolution as well as the result of his worship of the Soviet\union. Some commanding officers inculcated in their men illusions about the Soviet\union, telling them that a war would inevitably break out between the Soviet\union\and Japan owing to the contradictions between them,\and that Japan would then be defeated. Such talk led to this nasty incident.
It is true that some of our men entertained illusions about the Soviet\union. Around a big power there are always people who follow it meekly\or who idolize it. That was why some people thought that the prospects for our revolution were dim when they saw the photo of Stalin meeting Matsuoka,\and in the end thought of deserting.
In\order to ensure that such an incident as Ji Kap Ryong’s desertion would not occur again, we put forward the slogan, “Let us carry out the Korean revolution by our own efforts!”\and strongly promoted the struggle to eliminate the worship of great powers.
The other important lesson we learnedrom the Wangbabozi incident was that a revolutionary’s faith was his lifeblood,\and that his life would come to an end when his faith withered away.
Ji Kap Ryong deserted because he had lost confidence in the victory of the revolution; Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok returned to Headquarters without defecting because they continued to cherish their faith even though they almost starved to death, believed even when waiting for their end lying in the bushes that though they might die, the revolution would emerge victorious.
Faith is the lifeblood of revolutionaries.
Where does confidence in the victory of the revolution comerom? It comesrom one’s belief in one’s own strength. A revolutionary can stick to his faith only when he firmly believes in his leader, in his own strength,\and in the strength of his collective, his fellows\and his Party.
A man embarks on the road of revolution with a definite faith. How long he holds fast to this faith depends on how it is tempered. Faith tempered lackadaisically will soon degenerate. Political\and ideological training through\organizational\and ideological life\and revolutionary practice is the way to temper one’s faith.
Some people think that a man with many years of revolutionary activity has naturally a strong faith, but this is not true. A man who does not cultivate himself well may be weak in his faith despite the long period of his revolutionary career;\and a man who persistently cultivates himself can be strong in his faith despite the short period of his revolutionary service.
In regard to the length of his revolutionary career, Ji Kap Ryong was quite senior to Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok. He had fought in the guerrilla army for nearly ten years. By that time, Kim Ik Hyon had served in the People’s Revolutionary Army for four years. Kim Pong Rok was no more than a new recruit, with two years of service.
Who, then, became a turncoat? Ji Kap Ryong, with many years of service, deserted, but his juniors, Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok, remained faithful. This means a man who has forsaken his faith becomes degenerate no matter how many years of service he has\and no matter how great his achievements.
Having fought in the guerrilla armyrom its early years, Ji Kap Ryong had been appointed company commander for his exploits. But when days of trial arrived, he began to vacillate. At first he did not perform his revolutionary duty faithfully, on the pretext of having a stomachache. So women guerrillas made a waistband for him. Sympathetic to the supposedly ailing man, we took special care of him. But in the end he ran away, unable to endure hardships.
He had fought bravely when he had faith, but when he lost the faith, he became a straggler\and betrayed the cause.
Rim Su San became a renegade, not because he had a short record of revolutionary struggle; he could even be called a veteran in view of his years of revolutionary struggle. In 1933 when Pak Song Chol, who had been working at a mine in Badaogou, went to Cangcaicun to join the guerrillas, Rim Su San was already the political instructor of the 2nd company of the Yanji guerrilla unit there. He scolded Pak Song Chol for not coming through the proper\organizational channel,\and told him to go back.
Before becoming a guerrilla, Rim Su San had finished the middle-school course\and taught at a school. He was very tall, taller than Kim Il. For his good looks, knowledge\and eloquence, he won the favour of his comrades-in-arms in his early days in the guerrilla army.
But his true nature gradually began to show itself. Guerrillas whispered behind his back that, for all his\oratorical skill, he was a coward.
In one month in the spring of 1938 we raided Liudaogou twice. Why? It was because the first odds-on battle commanded by Rim Su San had ended in a debacle.
Liudaogou was a walled town with about 1,000 houses. On receiving a report that there were not many enemy troops there, Rim Su San immediately attacked the town with his regiment. As soon as the battle began, they encountered an unexpected force of enemy troops, who had arrived at the town after our scouts had reconnoitred it.
When Rim’s regiment entered the walled town, the enemy soldiers were having a party. They could have been wiped out without much effort. But Rim Su San was intimidated by the numerical superiority of the enemy force,\and quickly\ordered the regiment to retreat. This\order threw the regiment on the defensive.
Bewildered, our men stopped fighting,\and the enemy, taking advantage of this opportunity, soon switched over to the counteroffensive, firing machine-guns. In the end the regiment withdrewrom the town in failure.
After this battle, the enemy gave wide publicity to the effect that they had repulsed the guerrillas’ attack. On hearing this, the people became dispirited. Rim Su San’s error in the first battle at Liudaogou damaged the reputation of the People’s Revolutionary Army, so I\organized another attack on the town. Under my command, the unit attacked the walled town\and occupied it at a stroke. Thenceforth, the enemy ceased their propaganda.
At a meeting of the commanding officers, we criticized Rim Su San for his mistake. When analyzed ideologically, cowardice was the basic cause of his mistake.
However, Rim Su San did not rectify his shortcoming even after he was criticized. At the time of the Arduous March he lived in indolence in a service camp without executing the tasks Headquarters had assigned to him. At a meeting held in Beidadingzi, he was again criticized for not reforming himself. Some suggested demoting himrom the post of chief of staff.
But I gave him another chance.
He betrayed our confidence. Wearying of the protracted armed struggle\and alarmed at the appearance of the “Nozoe Punitive Command”\and its unprecedented size, he trembled with fear. Then taking the opportunity of performing a mission solo at the secret camp in Dongpaizi, he defected to the enemy. Not only did he run away alone, but in collaboration with the enemy he helped the “punitive” force to set up an ambush around the secret camp\and capture many of our comrades. He even led a “punitive” force to our Headquarters in an attempt to capture me.
I don’t remember seeing much of him firing on the battle line. On the plea of doing political work, he always sought shelterrom bullets.
When he surrendered, the enemy were as triumphant as if they had caught a tiger alive, saying that a very important person had defected with many of his subordinatesrom Kim Il Sung’s guerrilla army to the Empire of Japan.
To be frank, his surrender did send a certain shock through our ranks. Their faces serious, all my men were sullen for days. His surrender actually did our unit a considerable amount of harm.
For all this, I did not become alarmed\or disheartened.
Rim Su San was a degenerate. By a degenerate I mean a man who is ideologically rotten. Such a man does only harm to the ranks.
The appearance of traitors in the course of the revolution is a universal phenomenon that can be seen at any time. The history of the international communist movement not only celebrates men like Stalin, Zhou En-lai, Thalmann\and Che Guevara, it is also stained by traitors to their leaders\and their cause.
Bernstein\and Kautsky worshipped Marx\and Engels, but they are recorded in history as traitors. They betrayed Marxism as well as Marx\and Engels, their mentors\and seniors in the revolution. Trotsky, who once held an important post in the Bolshevik Party, became an enemy of the Soviet state. Zhang Guo-tao defectedrom Mao Ze-dong\and the CPC to Jiang Jie-shi. All these traitors ended their days in misery. But did those revolutions get frustrated\or retreat because of their betrayals? Each time the turncoats were removed, the revolution developed\and surged up with fresh vitality. After the removal of Trotsky, how remarkably socialist construction was promoted in the Soviet\union! Trotsky thought that without him, everything Stalin did would fail,\and the Soviet state would go to ruin. But the Soviet people built their country up to be the leading socialist power in the world, as well as a global power. After Zhang Guo-tao deserted the CPC\and became a Kuomintang parasite, the Chinese revolution did not wane; on the contrary it continued its upward spiral\and achieved nation-wide victory.
Though Rim Su San, after defecting to the enemy, divulged the secrets of our Headquarters\and did us harm as a guide for the enemy “punitive” forces, the KPRA became neither weakened nor disrupted. Our ranks united more solidly\and our revolution, preserving its own purity, made a strong dash towards its ultimate victory.
Traitors to the revolution also appeared during socialist construction in our country after the war. Choe Chang Ik, Yun Kong Hum, Ri Phil Gyu\and others attempted to place obstacles in the way of our people’s forward movement. Having failed to realize their factional scheme, they chose to betray the Party\and their motherland. As they\dropped away, our revolution made a fresh upsurge\and ushered in the era of Chollima. Since then the world has called our country Chollima Korea.
There were traitors also in the ranks of the nationalist movement.
Choe Nam Son was one of them. It is well-known that he was one of the drafters of the Declaration of Independence at the time of the March First Popular Uprising. I once read his travelogue of Mt. Paektu,\and found that every word\and every sentence were filled with his patriotic spirit.
However, this famous patriot suddenly abandoned his conscience\and faith,\and followed the road of betrayal. In the early 1940s, when the anti-Japanese armed struggle was undergoing most severe trials, he wrote pamphlets with our names in big letters, urging us to surrender, which the Japaese\droppedrom the air.
A typical pamphlet written by him\and few other pro-Japanese elements reads in part:
“You young men who are eating\and sleeping in the open, roaming about desolate mountains\and fields aimlessly!
“You wretches who are unable to see the light of modern civilization in the wilderness of the primeval forests, throwing your precious lives away as if they were worthy of nothing, all because of a blind belief! The day has come at last when you have to put an end to your lives of misery. Which do you want, to live\or to die?
“Oh, young men who are wandering in the forest,
“Read this letter\and make up your minds right now. Rush to the road of revival. Feel shame at your shameful deeds,\and repent of actions that need repenting of. Break with your unstable lives, unprecedented in the world, right now\and return to the warm embrace of your compatriots. In this way you can devote your valour\and chivalry to the sacred cause of building a new East Asia. It is not too late.
... ... ...
Headquarters of the Association for Supporting
the Special Operations in the Southeast Area
Adviser Choe Nam Son
Director Pak Sok Yun
... ... ...”
(Magazine Samcholli, No. 1, pp. 206-09, Showa 16 (1941).)
In the KPRA there was a physician in his fifties. He was called the “Chungchong Province doctor”. His real name was Ryu Han Jong. While following my unit for some months, he treated wounded guerrillas in various places. Associating with him at this time, I found him to be an upright man. By means of a few gold needles\and a scalpel, he treated every type of wound. As he was so skilful\and, moreover, as he was so sincere, he was respected\and loved by all the guerrillas. I also respected\and loved him. Once I obtained a bear skin for him because he often slept in the open. I made sure that when my men captured booty after attacking towns, they took medicines\and medical instruments needed by the doctor.
As his health broke down, we sent him back to his home in early 1940. Frankly speaking, to live the life of a guerrilla in the mountains at his age was difficult to do with mere will\or determination.
Three months later he came to us again. With tears in his eyes, he said, “These past months I have lived a comfortable life, eating the food my wife cooked. But I could hardly swallow it. If I were to stoop to keeping myself safe\and sound at home, how could I call it a proper life?”
It was a noble way of thinking, peculiar to men with unstained consciences. But it was not suitable for him to stay with us because of his health. I still remember how hard I tried to persuade him to go back home. He finally did go back, but reluctantly.
Immediately after liberation, he called on me with his daughter. My happy reunion with him is still fresh in my memory. Squeezing my hands, he said in tears that he had nothing to regret now that he had seen me in good health. I told him that as the Japanese had been driven out, he should participate in the building of a new country with me.
He settled down in Pyongyang, working for the association for supporting revolutionaries\and at the Pyongyang Institute as a surgeon. His daughter became a typist in the clerical section of the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea. His two sons joined the Korean People’s Army,\and fell in action.
As you can see, how remarkable the contrast is between him\and men like Choe Nam Son, Rim Su San\and Ji Kap Ryong! When Rim Su San, devoid of faith, was thinking of deserting, the doctor joined the guerrillas. When Choe Nam Son was scattering over Manchuria\and Mt. Paektu leaflets he had written urging us to surrender, the doctor came to us again\and volunteered to rejoin the guerrillas whom he had taken leave of a few months before, with a yearning for the life of guerrillas, the life which Choe Nam Son described as “unstable” in the “primeval forests”.
An\ordinary doctor as he was, how noble he is in contrast to Choe Nam Son, Rim Su San\and Ji Kap Ryong! He appears noble because of his pure conscience.
According to my experience, those who betrayed the revolution without any regret were those who moved with the trend of the times without any faith– grumblers, chance elements, careerists, the feeble-hearted,\and those who participated in campaigns because they thought that it was the popular thing to do.
Those who neglect their duty, those who are irresponsible in their work, those who are always complaining of one thing\or another, pulling faces when given tasks, those who are glib in talking about revolution in front of others, but busy feathering their own nests behind the scenes, those who take credit for work done by others without any hesitation,\and those who tell lies, feeling no prick of conscience, will also abandon the red flag\and defect to the enemy’s camp as soon as they have a chance to do so.
A common feature of these types of men is that they are without exception devoid of conscience.
If a revolutionary abandons his conscience, what remains in him? Nothing. His ideals, ideology\and moral fibre will all break up. If he forsakes his conscience, his personality will also be deformed.
That one must be a man before being a revolutionary means that one must be conscientious\and faithful to morality. Only a man with conscience can be moral\and loyal. A man without conscience is devoid of morality, loyalty, self-sacrificing spirit, sense of justice\and sincerity. Comrade Kim Jong Il’s remark that loyalty to the leader must be maintained as one’s faith, conscience, morality\and everyday concern is an aphorism.
Only a man with conscience can become a revolutionary. If his conscience becomes stained, his faith also becomes stained; a crack in his conscience means a crack in his faith\and the paralysis of his fighting spirit. This is whyrom the moment he abandons conscience, a revolutionary ceases to be a revolutionary\and becomes a good-for-nothing.
We cannot go the same way\or eatrom the same pot with those who have lost their conscience.rom the moment they have forsaken their conscience they dream different dreamsrom ours\and play double games. We must break with them,\or else we will suffer a great harm.
The moment his conscience began to deteriorate, Ji Kap Ryong lost the qualities of a revolutionary.
It was during the battle at Liukesong that I found something insidious in him.
The target of the main attack in that battle was the enemy barracks,\and O Jung Hup’s 7th Regiment\and Hwang Jong Hae’s unit were to perform the mission. When the battle started, thunderous gunshots rang outrom the barracks,\and after some minutes suddenly stopped. This meant that the barracks had fallen. But a few minutes later a machine-gun started firingrom there. I wondered what that meant,\and immediately sent Ji Kap Ryong to ascertain the situation. But turning back halfway, he rushed back\and plumped himself down, wailing that he had been wounded. I found that the wooden stock of his Mauser had been shattered by a bullet, but there was no wound on his body. He might have got a bruise when he fell downrom the shock of the bullet hitting the wooden stock.
I realized that he was scared, so I sent Ji Pong Son\and Kim Hak Song on that mission.
Braving a hail of bullets, the two men dashed there\and returned with a report that the remaining enemy soldiers entrenched in a secret passage under the barracks were putting up resistance. Without delay, I sent an\order to withdraw our menrom the barracks\and put down the enemy in the underground passage by flame tactics.
But O Jung Hup fell before my\order reached him. On his own judgment he employed the flame-throwing tactic, but he was fatally wounded while searching the passage in haste, without withdrawing his men.
Had Ji Kap Ryong not turned back halfway, but run to the enemy barracks\and confirmed the situation, my\order would have been conveyed to O Jung Hup without delay,\and the accident might not have happened. Every minute\and even every second counts in a combat situation. It was because Kim Hak Song\and Ji Pong Son were late in carrying out the mission Ji Kap Ryong had failed to perform that O Jung Hup was hit by enemy firerom the underground passage.
At that time Ji Kap Ryong had already lost the conscience of a soldier. If another man had been on that mission, he would not have turned back, even if he had received a serious wound.
What a great disaster the irresponsible\and cowardly conduct of a man with a guilty conscience caused!
Those who abandoned their conscience\and betrayed the revolution ended their days in misery, without exception. History has passed a stern judgment on those fellows. Even those who were pardoned for minor offences did not hold their heads up again as long as they lived.
In contrast, the people bestowed their highest acclamations on the fighters who cherished revolutionary consciences\and held fast to their faith till the day of victory,\and crowned them with laurels.
Pak Song Chol, who had been rebuked by Rim Su San for volunteering to join the guerrillas without going through the proper\organizational channel when he came to the guerrilla zonerom a mine in Badaogou, followed the thorny path of struggle to the end\and returned to the motherland. Today he continues to work for the revolution in an important government post.
One year, while on a march, Pak Song Chol, after receiving permissionrom his commander,\dropped in at his house. For several years after joining the army he had been anxious to know how his family were getting on. As his unit was marching past his home village, he just wanted to see his kinsfolk.
On entering his house, however, he found himself in a fix. Taking their child on her back, his wife insisted on following him to the guerrilla army.
He tried to dissuade her, saying, “Are you mad? How on earth can a woman with a child go with the guerrillas?”
But she would not let go of his belt.
It seemed that persuasion was no use,\and she might burst into tears if he went his way, pushing her away violently. If she did so, the whole village would soon know all about it,\and then the enemy would learn of it\and arrest her\and the child because they were the family members of a guerrilla.
As he was at a loss what to do, his mother reasoned with her daughter-in-law.
“If you don’t behave yourself, you may have your husband killed,” she said. “Suppose he fails to catch up with his unit by the appointed time, then he will be branded as a deserter. That would mean that he would become a traitor. Do you want that?”
His wife only shed silent tears. For all that, she would not release her grip on his belt.
This time Pak Song Chol’s mother scolded him.
“If a man leaves his house for a great cause, then he must do so resolutely. Why did you creep into the house at night, only to raise a fuss? Don’t show your face again in this house. If you come again before the country’s liberation, I’ll break your legs.”
Only then did his wife let go of his belt.
He was so moved by his mother’s words that he left the house there\and then. In terms of their knowledge of affairs, can Pak’s mother\and wife be compared to Rim Su San? But in terms of their view of\and attitude to the revolution, they were teachers incomparably superior to Rim Su San. How beautiful was his wife’s aspiration to fight as a guerrilla carrying their child on her back,\and how ennobling\and sublime was the will of his mother who threatened his son that she would break his legs if he appeared in the house again before the country was liberated!
On the day Kim Ik Hyon was awarded the title of Vice Marshal of the Korean People’s Army, I recalled the day when he had come to the Diyangxi plateau at a tender age to volunteer for the guerrilla army,\and the day when he had written his will on a tree after scraping some of the bark away\and waited for the moment of his deathrom hunger in some bushes while coming back to Headquarters, spurning Ji Kap Ryong’s urgings to desert.
It was because Kim Ik Hyon was prepared for death\and was not afraid of it that he could survive\and become known to posterity.
Kim Ik Hyon was a fine guerrilla,\and Jon Mun Sop, who brought Kim Ik Hyon\and Kim Pong Rok back to Headquarters, supporting them all the way, was also tenacious\and steadfast in his comradely loyalty. Tears were streaming down his face when he brought the two unconscious comrades-in-arms back to Headquarters. The haggard looks of the two men were too heartbreaking for him to hold back tears.
Had Jon Mun Sop been a man of feeble revolutionary conviction, devoid of loyalty\and conscience, he would have deserted his comrades in\order to escape hunger himself. A little wayrom the mountain, he could have gone anywhere he wanted. There were no wire entanglements, fences\or watch-towers. If he had thrown away his rifle, descended the mountain\and sealed a document with his thumb, then he could have eaten his fill\and slept comfortably on a warm floor.
But Jon Mun Sop did not take that road. Carrying his comrades-in-arms pickaback in turn, he returned to Headquarters. Subsequently he followed me unwaveringly\and remained faithful to the revolution.
We must bring up large numbers of men of unshakable faith like the veteran fighters of the anti-Japanese revolution, who adorned their lives with brilliance. Revolution\and the cause of socialism cannot be promoted only with desire. Only when we cherish a strong faith can we defend ourselves\and safeguard socialism.
Only those who have the faith that they can survive even though they go hungry for a hundred days, those who can endure with a smile a thousand days of difficulty in\order to live a single day of dignified life, those who believe that, though they become a handful of dirt in a desolate forest on a lonely island, their\organization will find them\and remember them,\and those who are prepared to blow themselves up\or to stand on the gallows without hesitation so as to remain faithful to the leader who brought them up\and to their comrades, can always emerge victorious.
The more difficult the situation of the country is, the more efficiently the education in confidence in the victory of the revolution\and in the cause of socialism must be conducted. I respect\and love the people with strong faith.
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