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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 17 7. My Thought about Revolutionary Obligation

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-08-23 21:53 댓글0건

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 17 7. My Thought about Revolutionary Obligation

  

   

 

 

7. My Thought about Revolutionary Obligation 

 

 Every precious fruit of the anti-Japanese revolution reaped in West Jiandao\and in the area of Mt. Paektu was won through a bloody struggle. As the revolution developed in depth, the offensive of the enemy to destroy it became violent as never before. Although the Japanese imperialists were writhing under the heavy burden of the Sino-Japanese War they themselves had unleashed, they were scheming to crush our revolution by mobilizing all the latest products of modern military science\and by using the fascist repressive means practised through decades of the “collective culpability system” policy\and territorial expansion. However, no stratagem\or machination could stop our advance.


Whenever the enemy tried to crush the revolution by force, we subdued them with our superb tactics\and ingenious plans, our comradely unity\and revolutionary obligation. Moreover, the more they ran amok to repress us, the more we strengthened our ties with the people; the more they tried to disintegrate us ideologically, the more we consolidated the unity of our ranks in ideology\and will\and our solidarity in morality\and obligation.


Obligation is a moral concept inherent in man. In old society, too, honest people attached great importance to obligation\and regarded it as the basic criterion of man.


The former moral standards of the old society preached inequality under which one side was to put restraint upon the other\and the latter was to unconditionally obey the former. They restricted man’s independence\and creativity. The moral standards of the old society were unable to put forward progressive demands such as loving the people\and working in the interests of the people.

In the course of our revolutionary struggle we did away with various kinds of feudal human relationships\and moral standards left over rom the old society,\and created new, communist ones, which we passed on to our posterity as a treasure.

It was communist obligation based on love\and trust that governed the relations between the superiors\and inferiors\and between comrades in the anti-Japanese guerrilla army as well as the relations between the army\and the people.


There are tens of thousands of laws in this world. However, one is mistaken if one thinks that laws alone can control\and manipulate the multifarious activities of man. A law is not an almighty weapon which moves this world. Laws cannot govern all the thoughts\and actions of man. How can laws govern love\or friendship? If a judicial\organ proclaims a law that tries to force people to love such\and such people rom now on,\or make friends with such\and such people,\or take such\and such women as wives, how will society accept it? Laws alone cannot govern everything in the world. Obligation\and morality do what cannot be done by laws.


We started the revolution by winning comrades,\and we constantly developed it in depth by strengthening comradely obligation\and unity, becoming closely associated with the people\and forming unbreakable ties with them. As it is at present, so in the past, too, comradeship was an important lifeline decisive to the issue of our revolution. The decades of the Korean communists’ glorious struggle can be said to be the history of the development of comradeship\and comradely obligation.

 

We were not a rabble who had gathered for the acquisition of wealth\or for speculation, but a collective of revolutionaries who were united with the same desire\and aim: the freedom\and independence of the country. Our common idea made us share life\and death rom the start. There was therefore no room in our ranks for those who slept in the same bed as us but had different dreams rom ours,\or those who engaged in duplicity.


Taking a serious view of comradeship\and comradely obligation was the mode of existence for our ranks. We regarded collectivism as our life\and soul; it was our intrinsic need. The anti-Japanese guerrillas pooled their efforts\and wisdom to obtain a single rifle, a single sack of rice\and a single pair of shoes. In this course they came to have the revolutionary faith of “Defeat the enemy, no matter how often we may have to die!”\and to create the noble communist moral principle of “Let’s share life\and death!” They also understood the truth that in unity lay victory.


The anti-Japanese revolution was unprecedented in that it was fiercer\and far more arduous than any preceding revolution. The protracted\and fluctuating course we followed involved hardships seldom experienced even by many generations in succession.

The more difficulties\and trials they faced, the higher the anti-Japanese guerrillas raised the slogan of comradely unity, struggling through all their tribulations by dint of comradeship. We countered the enemy’s strategy of isolating\and crushing us with a strategy of revolutionary obligation\and unity.


Of the obligation formed in the days of the anti-Japanese revolution, obligation between the leader\and the masses occupied a conspicuous place. Since the time the centre of unity was formed in the Korean revolution, we have invariably shown particular concern to strengthening the relations between the leader\and the masses; we have also done our best to form a harmonious whole of leader\and masses, uniting them in morality\and obligation .


The relations between the leader\and the masses that we speak of are different rom the obligation of ancient people, which required that justice\and righteousness should mark the relations between sovereign\and subject. For the Korean communists the mutual relations between the leader\and the masses can be expressed as one body\and one mind. The communist obligation of our own style is one in which the leader serves the masses\and the masses are unfailingly loyal to the leader.


The Korean communists of the younger generation placed me at the centre of their unity\and created a new history of the leader\and his men striving to shape the destiny of the nation bonded as one. It can be said that most important in the obligation cherished by the communists of the younger generation\and the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters was their loyalty to their leader, their Commander.


Factional strife\and scramble for hegemony were alien to the communists of the younger generation. Once they had placed me at the centre of leadership, they did not look at anyone else.\and they entirely entrusted their destiny to their leader. Herein lies the purity of their communist obligation.


The communists of the younger generation such as Kim Hyok\and Cha Kwang Su\and many other anti-Japanese guerrillas who were with me on the battlefield during the hard-fought anti-Japanese revolutionary war all possessed pure obligation\and created a noble\and beautiful morality. Whenever we talk about the obligation of the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters, I first recall Kim Il. Kim Il spent nearly 50 years of his life in revolutionary turmoil. Together with me, he waged the anti-Japanese war, built a new country, fought against the US imperialists\and built socialism.

 

From the days of the anti-Japanese revolution Kim Il was widely known to us as a veteran political worker with rich experience. He conducted underground party work\and was engaged to a large extent in work with the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist units in the area of Jiandao around Antu\and Helong. In this course he trained many revolutionaries.


Kim Il achieved great success in his work with the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist units under the command of such bosses as Du Yi-shun, Shun Chang-xian\and Quan Yong-lin in the Paektu days. He was so skilful in his work with them that Quan Yong-lin rom Antu was even resolved to take his unit\and fight with us by being enrolled into the People’s Revolutionary Army.


Kim Il took Quan Yong-lin’s unit to Fusong, having heard that our unit had advanced there, but unfortunately we had left Manjiang\and were in Changbai when he\and the unit appeared in the Fusong area. The men in the unit began to waver, claiming that Kim Il had deceived them. On top of that, they were suffering rom a shortage of food,\and so Kim Il was put into an extremely miserable situation.


As the unit, including the commander, continued their march, having had no proper food for three days, some of the soldiers found an insam field in a mountain. The men, who were on the brink of starvation, rushed into the field in a chaotic way, ignoring their commander,\and began to dig\and eat insam. This was really unimaginable to Kim Il, a commander of the People’s Revolutionary Army. He told them that digging insam without the owner’s permission was unjust, an infringement on the people’s interests,\and tried to stop them.


The men of the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist unit, who had lost their reason, went to see their boss Quan Yong-lin\and said: Pak Tok San (Kim Il’s real name-Tr.) is a mysterious character. He said that Kim Il Sung’s unit was in Fusong, but it wasn’t. Is there any need for us to keep following him, since he told such a lie? Now he says that the unit of General Kim Il Sung has gone to Changbai. We cannot believe this. Pak Tok San is even stopping us rom digging insam. What else can this be but an attempt to starve us to death? If we continue following Pak, we may end up in real trouble, so, let’s finish him off\and go back to Antu.


Although Kim Il knew that the soldiers of the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist unit might actually try to kill him, he had no fear. On the contrary, he talked to them with composure: “Well, kill me if you want. But I have one request. Wait for me until I come back. I’ll go to the owner of the insam field\and apologize to him for having eaten some of his insam. Don’t touch any more of it because we have no money to pay for it.”


Moved by Kim Il’s speech\and behaviour, commander Quan Yong-lin vouched for him without hesitation. He warned his men that he would shoot to death anyone who dared touch any more insam\and sent Kim Il to see the owner of the field.

Some time later Kim Il returned to the unit bringing the owner with him. He undid his knapsack\and took out dumplings prepared by the owner\and passed them on to the men of the unit. Then he produced a piece of opium\and told the field owner that the opium was the only thing he had\and asked him to accept it as payment for the dumplings\and insam that had been consumed by the men. Wang De-tai had given the opium to Kim Il for emergency use. Despite the repeated refusal of the owner of the insam field to accept the opium, Kim Il never accepted the refusal.


Moved by this, the owner of the field offered all his winter provisions in the mountain,\and guided Quan Yong-lin’s unit to Manjiang. When they reached Manjiang, the men of the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist unit came to see Kim Il\and apologized to him for their error.

 

I finally met Kim Il in the secret camp of Hongtoushan in the area of Mt. Paektu\and enrolled the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist unit into our main force.


Kim Il was a man of annoyingly few words. When I asked him on the first day at the secret camp when he had joined the revolution\and what he had done in the struggle, he answered shortly that he had been a part of the revolution since the early 1930s\and had done nothing in particular. He made the same answer when I repeated my question. Though it was our first interview, he seemed to be too reticent\and unsociable. This was his merit as well as his shortcoming.


The excellent points of his character were that he was unpretentious, without guile,\and worked faithfully in the same unchanging manner no matter how adverse the situation. He never once blamed conditions, worked with consistency\and rarely uttered a word.


Kim Il was an out-and-out revolutionary who saw the act of following my\orders\and instructions as the obligation of a soldier to his leader, not as the duty of an inferior to his superior. He experienced no particular setbacks in performing his tasks, for he performed all of them with obligation.


Still vivid in my memory is the time when I appointed him political instructor of the 1st Company, 8th Regiment, at the secret camp in Matanggou. The duties of the political instructor of the company were not easy. The regimental commander, Quan Yong-lin, had been killed during the battle of Huinan county town\and the post of political commissar of the regiment was left vacant for lack of a suitable man; in this situation the political instructor of the 1st Company had to discharge the duty of the regimental political commissar for the time being. The company commander was a faithful man, but he fell short of qualifications. After frankly talking to him about the situation, I asked him if he knew the importance of his post. He thought deeply before answering in short, “I understand.” Then he shut his mouth. The attitude with which he viewed a task was always the same: he accepted it with the one short phrase, “I understand.”


When I went to the 1st Company the next day to help him in his work, he was not there. The company commander was there alone; he told me that as soon as he had come to the new post, Kim Il had left for Beigangtun, Fusong County,\where the 1st Platoon was stationed. When appointing him political instructor of the company the previous day, I had said in passing that there was no news rom the 1st Platoon in Fusong. He had listened attentively\and apparently made up his mind to go to Beigangtun\and acquaint himself with the platoon’s situation.


He returned to the company with a large amount of grain\and many weapons at dawn the next day. When I heard of his return, I could not believe it. Beigangtun is more than 25 miles away rom Matanggou. If it was true that he had returned, then he might have gone on a forced march of more than 50 miles to get there\and back in a day.


Without taking off his knapsack, Kim Il called on me\and made a brief report—the 1st Platoon was safe\and working as it should, the contact with the platoon was severed because the soldier who had left to bring the message had got lost on his way, the grain\and weapons he had taken with him rom Beigangtun had been captured by the platoon after attacking the enemy\and been donated by the people,\and he had brought along some young people in that region without the consent of Headquarters because they had so earnestly wanted to join the army.


After sending him to his barracks, I talked to the volunteers he had brought with him. In the course of the talk, I got to know that Kim Il had led the 1st Platoon in a raid on the enemy’s police station\and a wicked landowner’s house in Jinlongtun,\and captured great amounts of grain\and many weapons.


Kim Il had had two aims in raiding the den of the enemy: one was to take revenge on behalf of the people by liquidating the landlord\and policemen,\and the other was to obtain the grain over which I had been so worried. In those days we were experiencing many difficulties for lack of grain. Hundreds of men carried on military\and political study in one camp for months,\and the grain obtained by the members of the supply department was not sufficient. It was a time when it was impossible to obtain a sack of grain without fighting a battle.\and Kim Il had secured a large amount of rice unexpectedly for the benefit of the whole unit. I was very grateful to him.


Later the people in Jinlongtun brought support goods on four\or five occasions to the secret camp in Matanggou to show their gratitude to the revolutionary army.


When the unit ran short of grain, Kim Il would volunteer before anybody else\and leave with his men to obtain it. Each time he returned rom the enemy-held areas, he brought with him sacks of rice. Even though he himself went hungry\or ate uncrushed maize, he tried his best to ensure that I always had cooked rice. His knapsack was twice as big\and heavy as others’ because he always carried reserve grain around in it.


Kim Il did not think of himself first but of his comrades, his neighbours,\and the interests of the Party\and the revolution. He worked in a high post of the Party\and the state for a long time, but he did not expect any privileges, special favours\or better treatment for himself. If his subordinates tried to treat him in a special way, he forbade them to do it.


After liberation he helped me\and supported me faithfully as in the days of the anti-Japanese revolution. He did not discriminate against any tasks, if they were what I wanted him to do. He was not particular about his post\or sector, be it Party work, building the army,\or economic guidance,\and involved himself in complicated state affairs without complaint.


One year he made a request at a session of the Political Committee of the Party Central Committee to dispatch him to the construction site of the Chongchongang Thermal-Power Plant as a delegate vested with full authority. At that time the construction of the plant was a capital project, in which state investment\and attention were concentrated. Therefore, I was choosing in my mind a man who would be fit to command the project.


Nevertheless, I had to give deep thought to his request, for he was in extremely poor health. There was no knowing what might happen if he worked without caring about his health, as he had always done. Kim Il repeated his request so persistently that I had to comply with it, but on condition that at the construction site he work only to the extent of giving instructions in his capacity as an adviser\and never overtax himself.


On arriving at the construction site, he set up his office in a makeshift building\and promoted the project in a daring way, going up\and down stairs as high as a seven\or eight-storey building dozens of times a day. He worked day\and night at the construction site till New Year’s Eve\and returned to Pyongyang after seeing to the lighting of the boiler No. 1; only then did he make a report to me about his work.


Kim Il was a man of this calibre. It is a well-known story that he continued to work in his office\and review his Party life in his own Party cell till three days before his death,\and that he called on a senior official in the Party Central Committee\and requested that he attend well upon Comrade Kim Jong Il.


Just as he followed me\and supported me with loyalty all his life, I valued him\and took care of him as if he were my own kin.


In spite of his bulky body, he often suffered rom diseases, apparently the legacy of the many hardships he had undergone during the guerrilla warfare in the mountains. Once doctors made the dreadful diagnosis that he had a cancer of the stomach. The day I received the report, I was so heartsick that I went on an unscheduled field guidance to Onchon, South Phyongan Province. I did not feel like working\or eating in Pyongyang, nor could I calm myself down. If Kim Il should pass away, there would be few people like him who could keep me company.


I felt quite depressed as several doctors, not just one\or two, concluded that he had the fatal disease. Only one man insisted that it was not cancer. Accustomed as I was to a decision by majority, I did not know why, but I wanted that day to believe that doctor’s diagnosis.


On my way I stopped my car\and phoned to the Foreign Minister,\and gave instructions to invite skilled cancer specialists rom the Soviet\union. Receiving the telegraph rom our Foreign Minister, the Soviet authorities immediately sent the doctors we had invited.


After examining Kim Il, the Soviet doctors’ diagnosis was that it did not look like cancer. Taking him with them to the Soviet\union, they had him examined by another famous doctor, who also diagnosed that it was not cancer. If we had removed his stomach by believing the\original diagnosis at that time, he might not have lived long.


Whenever I heard that he was suffering rom a disease, I called on him\and said, “You are indispensable to me. Now only a few anti-Japanese war veterans who fought with me remain alive; if you are not by my side, I will not be able to stand the gap in my life. You must take care of yourself. Don’t overdo things.”


However, even when he had to walk with the help of a cane because of a serious disease, he did not leave his office\or production sites; he exerted all his energy to do one more bit for the Party\and the revolution. Finally he got an incurable disease.

 

One day he told me for some reason that when he got out of his sickbed he would ride a roller coaster in Mangyongdae on April 15, my birthday. His words somehow startled me. I had an inkling that he sensed that his days were numbered, since for a man of few words to tell such an innermost thought was highly unusual.


Not surprisingly, he was not there to enjoy the children’s performance on New Year’s Eve that year. I visited his house that night.


“I have enjoyed the children’s New Year performance with you every year; but as you were not present this evening, I felt tears well up\and blur my vision. So I came to see you.”


I said this to Kim Il, who was bedridden, as I rose to my feet. Following me out of the door to the entrance hall, he said repeatedly, “I beg you, don’t work too hard.”


That night I did not toast a Happy New Year with him for fear of his health. This still weighs on my mind. I was told that Kim Il, too, regretted after my departure that he had failed to drink a toast with me. Exchanging toasts would not cure his illness, nor make me feel better. But this failure touches a sore point in my heart whenever I think of Kim Il.


Kim Il treated Comrade Kim Jong Il as he would treat me, being faithful to him as he would be to me. I was struck with admiration on more than one occasion by his great reverence for Comrade Kim Jong Il. The day that Comrade Kim Jong Il returned home after a visit to China, Kim Il went to the railway station with the help of a cane to meet him. At that time I marvelled at his sincere attitude to his leader.


Comrade Kim Jong Il showed special respect\and concern for Kim Il as his revolutionary senior. He said that Comrade Vice-President Kim Il was a typical communist revolutionary who had fought most staunchly for the development of our Party\and the victory of the revolution rom the days of the anti-Japanese armed struggle. Comrade Kim Jong Il always gave prominence to him\and took warm care of him.


Just as I called him my right-hand man, Comrade Kim Jong Il also regarded him as my right-hand man. This was probably why Comrade Kim Jong Il grieved most when he passed away.


The anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters reached the highest stage not only in remaining faithful to their leader but also in staying loyal to their revolutionary comrades. Repaying love with love, trust with trust,\and affection with affection—this was the obligation between the anti-Japanese guerrillas.


The friendship between Hwang Sun Hui\and Kim Chol Ho can be called the archetype of comradeship\and communist obligation expressed among the anti-Japanese guerrillas.


Whenever I meet Hwang Sun Hui, I wonder at how such a small, fragile woman could have fought for a decade in the snowstorms of Mt. Paektu.


When I told people in the homeland on our return to Pyongyang after liberation that she had been a part of the guerrilla struggle for a decade, some people refused to believe it.


There were few women guerrillas as small as her in the KPRA units, but she was sturdy\and audacious in the revolution.

It is not only men of bulky build that fight efficiently for the revolution\or remain faithful. Rim Su San was a man of bulky build twice as big as Hwang Sun Hui, but unable to endure hardship, he turned traitor\and forsook his obligation to his comrades. In contrast, Hwang Sun Hui continued in the revolution until the day of national liberation. Once they developed obligation\and a strong will, even housewives fought for the revolution\and little girls like Kim Kum Sun mounted the scaffold in defence of their principles. Hwang Sun Hui was able to fight for the revolution to the end with such a small body because she had strong faith\and obligation.


I first saw her in military uniform in the secret camp in Mihunzhen. The women guerrillas’ quarters had formerly been used by the mountain rebels. The kang (large, heated bed in Chinese houses) of the quarters of the Chinese rebels was very high. I looked down rom the kang\and saw a small, strange girl standing there, looking up at me\and hesitating to say something. It was Hwang Sun Hui, who had obtained permission to join the guerrillas after badgering us for a week\and had followed the unit as far as Mihunzhen. I took her to be a Children’s Corps member that day.


What surprised me was that she herself insisted on being a guerrilla. I asked:

“How come you joined the guerrillas when you are so small?” She replied that she had joined to avenge her father, who had been murdered by the Japanese imperialists,\and her elder sister, who had fallen in a battle. Her elder brother, Hwang Thae Un, had been a company commander in Choe Hyon’s unit before


being killed in battle in Hanconggou.


In her early days she was a burden to the others, but she soon became a flower of the revolutionary army, favoured by all. Persistent in all undertakings, she was a girl of fair judgement\and principle, as well as a warm-hearted person with a sense of obligation.


In her lifetime Kim Chol Ho often recalled an event that took place in the spring of 1940, when she had been snatched rom the jaw of death by Hwang Sun Hui’s self-sacrificing action.


One day Hwang Sun Hui was assigned by regimental commander Choe Hyon to go to a secret camp in the rear with the wounded\and infirm guerrillas to take care of them for a time. She left with the party, the majority of whom were the wounded, in the direction of Fuerhe. The greatest headache was that Kim Chol Ho, who was pregnant, had her baby on the way. Kim was not prepared for this new life; she had no blanket with which to cover it, let alone diapers. Hwang took off her padded coat\and covered the baby with it.


After the delivery of the baby, the enemy “punitive” troops suddenly pounced upon them in a barrage of gunfire. Kim Chol Ho looked up at her comrades-in-arms, not knowing what to do. She told Hwang she would abandon her baby for it was too weak. With the baby at her bosom, she was unable to struggle to her feet.


Hwang snatched the baby rom her, saying, “Are you out of your mind? What are we suffering these hardships for? Isn’t it for the new generation? What is the meaning of our life if we abandon the baby to save our own lives?”


She rushed up a mountain ridge\and hid the baby under a young pine tree. Kim Chol Ho took a rifle\and followed her.

A few minutes later Hwang Sun Hui went back down the ridge to collect her knapsack. When she climbed up the mountain again, Kim Chol Ho was looking at the sky with tears in her eyes. Hwang could not see the baby anywhere. When she approached Kim Chol Ho to ask what had happened to it, shots were heard again not far away. The two women guerrillas left with the party, marching for two days with the enemy on their heels\and firing back at them.


When they were finally out of enemy pursuit, Kim Chol Ho suddenly fainted\and fell to the ground. Hwang Sun Hui boiled water in a large enamelled bowl\and tried to spoon it into Kim Chol Ho’s mouth, unclenching Kim’s teeth with a spoon\and forcing the boiled water into her mouth. That boiled water saved her life.


Only then was Hwang reminded of the baby,\and she asked Kim Chol Ho what she had done with it. Kim Chol Ho said that she had put it under a bush. Hwang walked back to the mountain on which they had exchanged gunfire with the “punitive” force.


Unfortunately, the baby had already died.


When Kim saw that Hwang had walked all the way back in an unlined coat to see whether the baby was alive, Kim Chol Ho apologized to her, saying, “Although I knew that the baby could not live longer than one\or two hours, I could not take the padded coat off it.”


Though shivering rom hunger\and cold, Hwang Sun Hui consoled her.

“We adults can do without padded coats, can’t we, sister? The baby, who died without knowing its own name, shouldn’t be cold.”


Kim Chol Ho remembered all her life the friendship Hwang Sun Hui had displayed at that time.


A few days before her death, when Hwang Sun Hui called on her on her sickbed, Kim Chol Ho said to her abruptly:

“My life is coming to an end, Sun Hui. I’ve lived under the personal care of the leader all of my life since I was saved by you in Fuerhe. I want to sleep with you under one quilt as we did in the guerrilla days.”


As in their days in Mihunzhen, the two comrades-in-arms lay under one quilt\and recalled their days in the guerrilla army throughout the night.


During the Arduous March a recruit rom Changbai got his tunic burned while sleeping near a campfire at night. It was burned so badly there was not enough left to cover even half of his upper body. He followed the marching column, shivering. All showed sympathy with\and concern about him, but there was no way to help him, as they were all wearing the only clothes they had, their uniforms.


In an excess of concern about him, Ri Ul Sol, who had a strong sense of comradeship, went to the man one day with his only tunic.

 

Dumbfounded, the recruit looked at him.


“Then what will you wear?”


“I’m accustomed to the guerrilla life, I can bear some awful cold.”

“No, thank you. The uniform burned through my own mistake, so how can I put on your tunic?”

The recruit would not accept his colleague’s kindness. Judging that he could not easily get past his stubbornness with


words, Ri Ul Sol took off the burnt tunic rom his body by force\and put his own tunic on him. He showed this kindness to him because he saw it as the obligation of a veteran to help a recruit.


His comrades-in-arms thought that Ri Ul Sol would not get through the winter, as he was young\and rather weak.

People who have lived one\or two years in Manchuria know well how bitingly cold it is there. In cold days frost forms constantly on the hair. The ice-covered hair breaks easily at a touch. It is almost impossible to march several days in this cold in a summer tunic full of holes\and loosely patched.


However, Ri Ul Sol did not utter a word about feeling cold. On the march he opened up a path for the others through the snow. When camping, he always collected firewood\and pitched tents before anyone else. He would dry his shoes only after he had finished his work in the machine-gun team, while his comrades sat around the campfires.


His toughness\and comradely obligation was not an inborn trait. Through experiencing the hardships\and agony of the nation in his own life, he had sympathy for those who were exploited\and oppressed\and learned how to love his comrades\and neighbours.


After the Nanpaizi meeting he was assigned to the machine-gun team of the Guard Company as an assistant machine-gunner. Since that time he has dedicated his all to defend Headquarters.

 

He has protected me, gun in hand, all his life with great obligation, no matter how adverse the situation.


When reviewing the Arduous March at the meeting in Beidadingzi, I stressed that Ri Ul Sol was an example in comradeship,\and praised his nobility\and comradely obligation. The editorial board of Cholhyol carried in its inaugural number an article praising him.


Why was the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army so strong? When I am asked this question, I answer that it was because the army was a great mass, kept together through obligation. Had our unity not been based on morality\and obligation,\and on the pure community of ideology\and will, we could not have been so strong. In the protracted revolutionary war against formidable Japanese imperialism, with no assistance rom the regular army\or state support, we could still emerge victorious. This was not because we had a large number of troops\or superior weapons; our armed force was quite small in its number, compared to the enemy with its millions of regular troops. Our weapons did not bear comparison with the enemy’s. We could defeat the powerful enemy only because we were united ideologically by the ties of loyalty\and obligation.


I think that our cadres\and Party members should learn rom Rim Chun Chu’s loyalty\and obligation to the revolution. He was a fighter faithful to the Party\and his leader.


In a previous volume I wrote that in the autumn of 1930 I first met Rim Chun Chu in Chaoyangcun; at that time he was a liaison for the secretariats of the Jiandao party\and YCL committees while working under the disguise of physician at the Pongchun Dispensary. Since then he had devoted himself to the revolution for nearly 60 years. The famous phrase, “eternal companions, faithful assistants, good advisers,” is a title Comrade Kim Jong Il conferred on intellectuals; it is highly appropriate to such a man as Rim Chun Chu.

 

Rim Chun Chu rendered a great contribution to the Korean revolution with his great fund of knowledge. He participated in Party building, worked as an army surgeon\and wrote books using his knowledge. He occupied himself with this kind of work through his entire life.

The greatest of his talents was the medical skill he had taught himself. Probably some people will not believe it when I say that he was engaged in “business” rom the age of 18 as a licensed doctor, but it is a fact. Under the signboard of doctor, he enlightened the masses, transmitted secret messages\and trained revolutionaries. When staying in the village of Longshuiping near Badaogou, he sent many people to the guerrilla army; I think anybody can guess the nature of his medical skill.


When Rim Chun Chu came to the guerrilla zone, the revolutionary\organization appointed him army surgeon. He treated many wounded guerrillas\and other sick people. He had acquired medical skill through self-teaching rom about the age of 14\or 15, while doing farmwork,\and his clinical results were excellent. Everyone who has been indebted to this medical skill has called him an excellent doctor.


It is Choe Chun Guk who gave much publicity to him as a doctor. When Choe was heavily wounded, Rim Chun Chu performed an operation on him. In an unexpected encounter with a puppet Manchukuo army unit, Choe’s thighbone had been broken by an enemy bullet; the men who saw the wound were unanimous in their opinion that the leg should be amputated if the wounded man was to be saved.


But Rim Chun Chu saw it differently. He knew too well that if the leg was amputated it meant an end to Choe’s role as an officer of the guerrilla army. He would also become disabled for the rest of his life. He gave primary attention to the fact that Choe was an efficient military commander who could not be exchanged for 10,000 enemy soldiers\and a brave officer of the revolutionary army whom I valued highly.


Rim made a cut in his thigh\and picked out with forceps the broken pieces of thighbone. Choe Chun Guk began to walk on his own feet after a year. The wounded leg became shorter\and he limped a little, but in that condition he marched\and commanded battles. Rim’s daring operation had proved effective.


When I went to the secretariat of the east Manchurian party committee in Nengzhiying, Sandaowan, after our first expedition to northern Manchuria, I was given great care by him. He looked after me with all sincerity, visiting me every day\and bringing effective herbal medicines\and nutritious food. Choe Hyon, O Jin U, Cao Ya-fan\and Jo To On were also treated by him when they were wounded.


For a full year, rom the autumn of 1937 to the autumn of 1938, Rim Chun Chu made a round of the secret camps scattered across the vast forest region of Jinchuan\and Linjiang Counties\and Longquanzhen, Mengjiang County, treating wounded soldiers. He had to cover several miles to visit every patient. Nowadays doctors visit patients’ houses\or go for disseminating hygienic knowledge by means of ambulances, cars\or other modern means of transportation, but the army surgeons in the days of the anti-Japanese war could not enjoy such luxury. It was a mercy if they were not killed by the enemy “punitive” troops on making their rounds.


Rim Chun Chu once narrowly escaped death by enemy troops. He was climbing a hill with a padded coat\and trousers wrapped on the back of his knapsack; the coat\and trousers had been captured at the battle of Huanggouling\and Choe Hyon had given them to him. He got a volley rom a machine-gun. After the “punitive” troops withdrew, he was astonished to open his knapsack\and find seven bullets in it. But for the padded coat\and trousers, he would undoubtedly have been killed.


In the days of the anti-Japanese war he worked with the people as a party worker\and engaged in\organizational affairs\and in writing books, thus contributing greatly to the education of the people\and soldiers.


Through several meetings with him, I realized that he had the qualifications of a political official. In fact, he had been experienced in educating\and guiding the masses as an official in a mass\organization in Yanji before joining the guerrillas. So we assigned him to party work at the same time as appointing him army surgeon. He held the posts of member of the KPRA Party Committee\and party secretary of the Guard Regiment\and performed the work of the East Manchurian Party Working Committee. This committee had not lived up to our expectations after its establishment, which was why after the Nanpaizi meeting we appointed Rim Chun Chu to one of its responsible posts. The task of the committee was to consolidate the foundation for armed struggle by rallying the masses into\organizations through expanding the party\and mass\organizations in the Jiandao region. At the same time, the committee was to lay a firm foundation for party building. It performed tasks similar to those of the Changbai County Party Committee\and the Homeland Party Working Committee.


The main areas for committee activity were Jiandao\and North Hamgyong Province. After the guerrilla bases had been dissolved, the party\organizations in Jiandao became affiliated with this committee.


While keeping in touch with me, he dispatched many political workers to the Musan\and Yonsa areas\and to areas in eastern Manchuria. The workers were to expand party\and mass\organizations.

When operating in small units in Wangqing, Yanji, Dunhua, Hunchun, Antu\and Helong after the Xiaohaerbaling meeting, we got much help rom the revolutionary\organizations built by the East Manchurian Party Working Committee. These\organizations were a major source of help to us.


By drawing on his experience in party work in the days of the anti-Japanese revolution, he performed a great exploit in Party building after liberation. In the early days after liberation he worked as second secretary of the South Phyongan Provincial Party Committee\and later as chairman of the Kangwon Provincial Party Committee. When he was chairman of the Kangwon Provincial Party Committee, the work in the areas along the demarcation line was proceeding quite smoothly. We did not appoint the anti-Japanese revolutionary veterans to high posts immediately after liberation. Most of the high posts were assigned to the people who had been engaged in the revolutionary movement in the homeland\and abroad. It was not because qualified\and capable people were lacking among those who had taken part in the arduous armed struggle at my side. This measure was needed in\order to carry out united-front politics involving people rom all strata. But at the time, when only five provincial Party committees existed in the northern half of Korea, we appointed Rim Chun Chu to be chairman of the Kangwon Provincial Party Committee, as we attached great importance to his experience in Party work.


What I recall with particular emotion is his authorship: he wrote many books for the younger generation. Many of his books, including Reminiscences of the Days of the Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle, are national treasures.

He started full-scale literary activities after he became an honorary journalist for Samil Wolgan. Many articles he had written were carried in the mouthpiece of the KPRA. His article entitled “The Japanese Economy in Distress” carried in Samil Wolgan, was an excellent one.

 

Though busy with battles, marching\and treating patients, he saved up every minute\and recorded our activities daily in his spare moments. If he ran out of paper, he would record the struggle of the KPRA on birch bark. Rim Chun Chu recalled on several occasions that this record was the basic data for Reminiscences of the Days of the Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle.


I heard that Wei Zheng-min had advised him several times to write the history of the KPRA. He said, “It is of course excellent to work as a party official, army surgeon\and honorary journalist. But it is even more important that you, Rim, write the history of the Korean guerrilla army. You must bear this in mind. Even though others may be killed in a do-or-die battle, you must remain alive\and perform this mission to hand down the exploits of your Commander\and the history of your army to posterity.”


While working as party secretary of the Guard Regiment, he stayed with Wei Zheng-min for a long time; he helped him in his work\and treated his illness. Wei Zheng-min liked to have him there\and asked him to stay close at all times. He played a very important role in ensuring good relations between Wei Zheng-min\and myself, in consolidating the friendship between the Korean\and Chinese people,\and in strengthening the allied front of the armed forces of the two countries.


It was in the late 1950s that I read Rim Chun Chu’s Reminiscences of the Days of the Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle for the first time. In those days there were still vestiges of flunkeyism in the minds of our people. Worse still, education in revolutionary traditions was not being conducted properly, with the result that the history of our armed struggle was being poorly disseminated among the people, youth\and children. Some cadres glibly recited rom memory the Short History of the Communist Party of the Soviet\union,\and what Iskra\and Bukharin had been. But when they were asked what had been discussed at the Nanhutou meeting, they could not answer properly. Reminiscences of the Days of the Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle was published just at that moment, bringing for the first time the outline of the anti-Japanese revolution to the people. Since then, the book has become source material indispensable for studying the history of the anti-Japanese revolution.


By writing this book he showed his obligation\and performed his duty to all communists\and patriots who had taken part in the anti-Japanese revolution. He wrote it, not to introduce himself\or to give publicity to his exploits, but with the noble aim that the rising generation would carry forward more reliably the revolutionary traditions, the eternal assets of our people,\and consummate them.


He wrote many books\and educational materials on our Party’s revolutionary traditions, including reminiscences on the activities of Kim Jong Suk\and Kim Chol Ju. He verified many materials\and\organized them systematically, performing a brilliant service to the history of our Party. He even wrote the multi-volume Young Vanguards, a novel portraying young communists.


Our Party recognizes him as the authoritative witness\and attester to the brilliant history of the anti-Japanese revolution, which we started\and led to victory. I think it is correct\and fair recognition.


Frankly speaking, he could have earned his bread without much difficulty by means of his medical skill even if he had not engaged himself in the arduous anti-Japanese revolution. However, faced with manifold crises, he never flinched on the road of revolution, nor did he abandon his obligation to his leader\and comrades.


When he was imprisoned in Longjing, he believed that even if he were to die the revolution would emerge victorious; he withstood brutal torture with the thought that he should protect the revolutionary\organization\and his comrades, even though this protection could cost him his life. Those who betrayed the revolution felt that the revolution was of no significance if they were killed\and they yielded to torture, convinced that they should remain alive, even at the cost of their\organizations\and comrades.


This is the difference between genuine\and sham revolutionaries.


Various events after liberation made me realize more keenly what a true sense of obligation he had. When he was dispatched to northeast China as our chief delegate for the preparations of setting up the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region, I requested him to look for the children of the anti-Japanese revolutionary martyrs in eastern Manchuria\and send them back to their native land. With the Chinese people fighting a civil war, he had to\organize assistance to the front, set up power\organs, lay foundations for education\and work with people rom all walks of life; busy as he was, he still managed to find many children of the anti-Japanese revolutionary martyrs\and send them to the homeland. He even advertised in newspapers to find the brother\and sister of Kim Jong Suk, his friend\and revolutionary comrade-in-arms in his days in Fuyandong.


At each consultative meeting of cadres he informed them that a school for the bereaved children of revolutionaries would be built in Korea,\and made rounds of the scattered villages in Jiandao in search of\orphans until his shoes wore out.


Whenever children in threadbare clothes came to him on reading the advertisements in newspapers, he would take them to his bosom\and press his cheek against theirs, saying, “You are so-and-so’s son\and so-and-so’s daughter? Do you know how hard General Kim Il Sung is looking for you?”


When he had found a total of scores of children this way, he was so elated, he sent me a telegram saying, “Returning home immediately with the children found so far.” Reading the short message, I felt the excitement\and emotion he must be feeling at having fulfilled his obligation to his revolutionary comrades-in-arms.

He found out many children\and families of revolutionary martyrs\and sent them back to the homeland. The children who went to the school at that time have now become members of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee, chief secretaries of provincial Party committees\and generals in the Korean People’s Army.


During the Fatherland Liberation War he worked in a province for some time. Each time he made a business trip to Pyongyang to attend a meeting convened by the Ministry of Public Health, he would climb Moran Hill\and spread a white sheet on the lawn near the graves of the anti-Japanese war veterans, so as to sleep on it. He never thought of staying at inns in the town. In those days the graves of Kim Chaek, An Kil, Choe Chun Guk, Kim Jong Suk\and others were on Moran Hill. As he tried to rest in the open on a hill, surrounded by his comrades’ graves, sleep failed to come to him. Nevertheless, whenever he came to Pyongyang, he went up the hill\and made his bed in the same place. He later told me that he talked endlessly to his comrades in the graves, saying, “My dear comrades, why are you sleeping here when you are so essential to our homeland? Do you know how hard the General has to work without your help in shouldering the destiny of Korea?”


As it was the time when the destiny of the country\and people was at stake, there were not many people among the citizens who remembered the fact that the souls of anti-Japanese fighters were resting in peace in the dense forests on Moran Hill,\and no one knew that now\and then a tall man came down the hill quietly at daybreak after sleeping with those souls.

 

On hearing about that, I thought that he was a true man\and fighter with obligation.


This is the obligation of the anti-Japanese guerrilla type I intend to write about. There are many beautiful stories about the obligation\and affection of man in the world. However, I do not know an obligation more ennobling, sincere\and beautiful than that displayed by our anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters.


Calling himself an old disciple of Comrade Kim Jong Il he always tried to follow his guidance. Comrade Kim Jong Il also cared for him\and respected him with sincerity, saying that even if Comrade Rim Chun Chu did nothing but remain alive, he was an invaluable treasure to our Party\and our state. His unique concern\and solicitude for Rim Chun Chu reflects the leader’s ennobling obligation to the veteran revolutionaries. It is an obligation of the anti-Japanese guerrilla type created on Mt. Paektu. However, we do not mean that all of the people remained true to the revolutionary obligation\and honour. Though partially, there were turncoats\and renegades among our ranks.


When they heard that those shouting for the revolution whenever they had an opportunity had turned\and betrayed their principles, our men were sick at heart. How can I describe in full the agony\and frustration of the officers\and rank\and file, when those who yesterday sang the Internationale\and shouted for the victory of the revolution changed their minds\and became enemy stooges?


Nevertheless, one\or two turncoats cannot nullify the accomplishments of a decade. We countered the enemy’s white terrorism by consolidating the unity of our ranks, a unity based on ideology\and will as well as on morality\and obligation. This was the only way for us to emerge victorious.



 Related articles

[Reminiscences]Chapter 15. Expansion of the Under-ground Front 7. A Written Warranty for a Good Citizen

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  1. Expedition to Fusong

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  2. Hundreds of Miles rom Xiaotanghe at One Go

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  3. Guardsmen

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  4. Across the Whole of Korea

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  5. Kwon Yong Byok

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  6. Events to Which I Could Not Remain Indifferent

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  7. The Mother of the Guerrilla Army

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 1. Flames of Pochonbo (1)

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 2. Flames of Pochonbo (2)

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 3. Joint Celebration of Army\and People at Diyangxi

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 4. Photographs\and Memory

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 5. The Battle of Jiansanfeng

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 6. The Boys Who Took Up Arms



            

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