Roh Moo Hyun (Modern World Leaders)
Pyongyang has proliferated missiles, nuclear technology, counterfeit U.
The regime has continued to brutalize its civilian population, trampling on their most basic human rights, while issuing periodic threats of nuclear annihilation at Seoul. Even in the heyday of sunshine, in June , North Korea instigated a naval skirmish that resulted in the loss of six South Korean lives.
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The much anticipated "peace and reconciliation" conjured up in June seems today as elusive as ever. No wonder South Koreans, increasingly disillusioned with a policy of giving unconditional aid to the North, in opted to vote for the conservative candidate, Lee Myung-bak, who ran on a platform of growing the economy and demanding accountability and reciprocity from Pyongyang. Kim Dae-jung until his last days struggled to snuff out such shimmers of doubt. Three days before he was admitted to the hospital in July, the former president told the BBC that his administration had never sent cash to Pyongyang but only , to , tons of food and fertilizer aid each year.
After a six-day mourning period, the Lee administration honored Kim with a state funeral in the National Assembly compound despite intense criticism from conservative groups. Hundreds of government officials, prominent politicians, and foreign dignitaries, as well as thousands of ordinary mourners, bade farewell to the iconic former president before he was finally laid to rest in the national cemetery later in the day.
The North Korean envoys visited Lee on the morning of the funeral and conveyed a message from Kim Jong Il calling for improved relations.
Thus, as the world pontificated for the past year on what possible change and opportunity might come in the wake of the demise of the ailing North Korean leader, it was Kim Jong Il who deftly made the most of the change and opportunity created in the wake of the death of his favorite South Korean leader. As in the past, the emotions expressed upon the death of a Korean leader have been raw, reactive, and real.
All men are mortal, and each culture has its own mourning ritual. Koreans choose to wail over and decry the death of loved ones, as if mortality itself is unjust and the life of each dead person is one unfulfilled. The conventions of centuries-old Korean funerary rites leave little room for a sober assessment of the legacy that the dead leaves behind. His failings, in the current climate, are not.
Yet, history judges leaders for their acts, not for the poignant glimpses of their twilight years or the mournful moment of their demise.
Time and temperament may erase the taint that ordinary men leave behind. News reports said Roh wrote it on his computer about half an hour before he left the house.
Former S. Korean President Roh commits suicide
And I cannot imagine the suffering they will go through in the future. Roh's death came amid an investigation into a bribery scandal that had tarnished his reputation. Roh's wife was scheduled to be questioned by prosecutors Saturday, and Roh was planning to answer a second round of questions next week. Roh had said he was ashamed about the scandal. In the first round of questioning, he said he was losing face and that he was disappointing his supporters.
The former president said he learned about the payments only after he left office and that some of them were legitimate investments, Yonhap reported. Roh wrote about his thoughts on a blog that he maintained, which also attracted supporters and tourists to his hometown, Yonhap said. Roh's suicide note said his health was poor and that "nothing is left in my life but to be a burden to others.
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Ex-president's suicide leaves S. Korea with questions about its leaders - Los Angeles Times
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