Monnara Iunnara and "So far from the Bamboo Grove"Jews in America are angry about Deokseong University professor's book "Monnara Iunnara'. They say the book's contents disparage the Jews. The problem is that the book contains statements that Jews have strong power through money and prevent Koreans from achieving the American dream.
Nationalism Reaps What it Sows.
by Im Se-hwan
Whether or not Rhie Won-bok will accept the problem presented by the American Jews is up to Rhi Won-bok. Separate from that, what every Korean must ponder together is to what extent this 'Monnara Iunnara' charge is similar to the recent allegations surrounding "So Far from the Bamboo Grove".
Some Koreans claim that "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is a lie and demand that author Yoko Kawashima Watkins apologize. Yoko is sorry for inciting this passion in Korean people, but explains that she personally experienced the events that she wrote. But that didn't satisfy the feelings of those Koreans angry about Yoko's explanation. Latest reports indicate signs that the furor surrounding "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is about to erupt into a massive court case. We've heard that a group called "Parents for the Proper Teaching of Asian History' is planning a lawsuit saying that not only is "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" distorting history, but it also damages children by teaching untrue things
We don't know whether those angry about "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" have read the book or not. They are angry about the part that says that in 1945 right before the liberation of Korea Koreans abused Japanese in Korea. But all the netizens were sure about were things like "Yoko said her father served in the 731st unit" and "Yoko said in Nanam in North Hamgyeong Province there were bamboo trees, but this book is a fabrication because there are no bamboo trees in Nanam"
If you read "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" you'll see that in escaping from Korea, Yoko's brother received help from a Korean family. There's also a story about how the Japanese felt cold toward Yoko because she had come from Korea. "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is not an anti-Korean book, it's a book about a young person. Also, the book Korean-Japanese Interchange History - From Prehistory to Present, created jointly by the Korean History Textbook Reseach Organization and the Japanese Education Research Organization records that around the time of the 1945 liberation north of the 38th parallel violence by Koreans against Japanese did occur.
Still, many Koreans insist that "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is fabrication and distortion. [In saying] "Don't ask!", this nationalistic feeling is operating as an ideology.
In the same way the criticism by American Jews of 'Monnara Iunnara' is Jew's nationalist sentiment in action. Jews' nationalist nature is as strong as Koreans. It's a fact that Jews in America have great financial power. The Jews use their monetary power to lobby the American government to adopt policies that help the Jewish people. Naturally there are various factors including Middle Eastern oil and Middle Eastern terrorism that factor into America's antagonistic policy in the Middle East, but it is hard to say when we see someone saying that Jews in America, who are hostile to the Arab world, have connections and social standing, that this is defamation or distortion.
If the Jews wish such tolerance for their nationalism, just as when Japanese war victims or Yoko wish for the same tolerance from Korean nationalist sentiment, the broad-mindedness that engenders such tolerance must come first.
Nationalism continues to cycle through history, making the assailant into the victim, the victim into the assailant. As in Poland, where the nationalism during World War 2 took the form of oppression against the same Polish Jews who had fought against the oppressive Russian czar in the Polish nationalist movement before the 1917 Russian Revolution (See the movie Schindler's List, 3 million Polish Jews lost their lives), The Jews, who suffered greatly under German nationalist fascism during World War 2 play the role of harsh oppressor to the Palestinian people today.
Korean nationalism, that fought in the face of Japan's World War 2-era supremacy theory and Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, today manifests itself in reasonless discrimination against South-East Asian guest job-seekers and irrational character assassination against Yoko. Korean nationalism is face to face with Jewish nationalism.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Prometheus compares Monnara and "So far from the Bamboo Grove"
Here. I've gone ahead and translated the whole thing into English. It is a fascinating read, essentially justifying Monnara's claim that the Jews hold particular sway in America by declaring this natural and citing Korea's irrational nationalism as a mere part of a historical dialectic of nationalism ebbing and flowing in power and influence. Check it out.