|[2022 World Refugee Day Commemorative Statement] History advances when we empathize with the sorrows, pains, and despair of others|
|Date : 2022-06-20 Hit : 78|
History advances when we empathize with the sorrows, pains, and despair of others.
Today, June 20, is World Refugee Day, designated by the United Nations in 2000 to empathize with and understand the difficulties of those who have fled their homeland from conflicts and persecution and to give them strength and courage.
Numerous refugees have fled from war and internal disturbance. The international community is protecting refugees through international law on refugee protection, cooperation between countries, the operation of international organizations, and cooperation with civil sectors.
However, many still become refugees and are at risk of hunger and disease.
Recently, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced that the number of forced migrations in the world has reached 1000 million, the largest number since the UNHCR began to compile the figures.
This figure is similar to the number of people in the 14th most populous country in the world and is more than 1% of the world’s population.
The existence of forced migrants, which has nearly doubled in the past decade, is a serious problem that humankind faces. Also, if we do not find a sustainable solution for this issue, it will continue and become more serious.
The history of refugees who have had to leave their homes to escape war and persecution is not very different from the experiences of Koreans, including the history of our ancestors who escaped oppression under Japanese colonial rule and migrated to other countries, the displaced people due to division, and pro-democracy figures who had to flee from oppression during the military-dictatorship era.
It should be noted that we might become refugees someday.
We live in an interconnected and interdependent world.
In the world today, various problems that threaten the future of humankind are occurring across borders. In most cases, one individual or one state alone cannot solve the global community’s problems.
Now, more than ever, we need an open perspective and an open attitude that extends beyond the borders of the country we live in.
42 years ago, at the time of the May 18 Democratic Uprising, the citizens of Gwangju were in a desperate situation of state violence, and despite their isolation, they demonstrated high morality and a spirit of community sufficient to call them an “absolute community.” The memories of that day, in which we tried to protect our community with united hearts and willingness without excluding anyone, tremendously inspire future generations.
In addition, we support the victims still suffering from the wounds of the May 18 Democratic Uprising, and we remember the passionate helping hands of the citizens around the globe who have worked in solidarity to find out the truth about May 18 and the democratization movement in Korea.
The May 18 community, formed through the sacrifice of Gwangju, remembers the values of democracy, human rights, and peace as well as those who did not give up their resistance until the end of the uprising while trying to protect those values, even unto death. Additionally, the shame people felt for not joining the final resistance became energy for democratization in Korea, which is encouraging a spirit of cooperation and inclusion for transnational solidarity.
History advances when humans deeply share the sorrows, pains, and despair of others.
We who inherit the values of May 18 should lead the progress of history by embracing others’ suffering and by becoming humans who can feel others’ pain.
The world we live in can be a better place with our collective actions.
There are enough reasons why we should support the people’s struggle for democracy in Myanmar and stand against the war in Ukraine.
June 20, 2022
The May 18 Memorial Foundation
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