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On the Need for Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in America

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The armed forces of the socialist dictatorship in North Korea had easily defeated the armed forces of the capitalist dictatorship in South Korea, thus unifying the Korean nation, when the U.S. armed forces with its great air bombardment capacity entered Korea to ultimately cause the death of millions of Koreans, many of whom would otherwise still be alive today.

Koreans had not wanted their land divided, half for the USSR and half for the U.S., to see these contesting foreign powers set up the kind of governments for the purposes of the U.S. and the USSR. (In 1919, Koreans had also not wanted  U.S. President Wilson to approve the Japanese annexation of Korea)

For this Buddhist, international capitalism versus socialism means nothing compared to the preciousness of the lives of so many wonderful human beings sacrificed

Shakyamuni Gautama Siddhartha taught a supreme awareness that includes the awareness of natural affection in wonder for all living creatures, especially, an appreciation for our brothers and sisters everywhere.

Just as Buddha (the awakened one) taught, so also did the earliest Ionian philosophers of ancient Greece believe that all events are cause and effected; Albert Einstein believed in interconnected and related destiny, (yet bitterly condemned all wars);  Stephen Hawking understands causes and effects as ultimate and universal destiny unfolding.

One can seek comfort in accepting that everything that has happened, had to have happened as it did - the result of a trillions of interacting a priori causes. Still, as one who is uncomfortable being an American citizen with a heritage of accountability for millions of foreign deaths on one's collective conscience, a question of deeper meaning comes to mind.

A question that puts the Americans in the shoes of Koreans!

    'How would Americans feel toward fellow Americans who collaborated with a vastly superior Korean armed force with air power bombing out almost every city and town in both the Northern and Southern parts of America killing and wounding millions of Americans? - for whatever reason or pretext?'

The crimes of Koreans against Koreans are one thing. These were internal misfortunes. Crimes by Americans against Koreans in their very own country in their towns and even in their homes, is quite a different matter, and would be the equivalent of Koreans invading America and killing and wounding Americans in their own country, own cities, own homes.

One can imagine that shame is appropriate if it leads to compassion, awareness and some restitution for past crimes where possible, for to initiate a lovelier future behavior. Americans and the whole world could benefit if Americans felt shame and remorse for the Korean deaths, for Korean suffering and for the destruction to Korea that the U.S. military actions caused. However Americans are brain washed by conglomerate owned and cartelized commercial TV and print media to have PRIDE in what America did in its Korean War. Pride, however, is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the ultimate source from which the other six arise.

In 2005 the South Korean National Assembly established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in keeping with its maturation as a constitutional democracy. The Commission sought to "reveal the truth behind civilian massacres during the Korean War and human rights abuses during the [South Korean] authoritarian period and the anti-Japanese independence movement and to learn about the struggle to write truth into Korea's modern history and recent evidence of U.S. and South Korean responsibility for themassacre of civilians before and during the Korean War."

A panel discussion headed up by its standing commissioner was recently heard in heart gripping documentation reports at the International Affairs Building of Columbia University, New York, as part of a short tour of universities in the United States. The speaker was Kim Dong-choon, Standing Commissioner, South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Human ights and Peace Center, Sungkonghoe University

The fact that for years the U.S. has had enormous trade and peaceful and friendly relations with the communist governments of China and Vietnam is making a goodly number of Americans wonder why millions of Korean and Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Latin American and African lives were sacrificed in murderously violent actions to prevent communist leadership.
of Korea,

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission is sorely needed in America. One could perhaps be arranged in concert with the commission that is ongoing in Korea. Logically, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions could be arranged for all America's past wars. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission gives much to study for possible emulation and probably for some insight into particular methods to improve upon or avoid.

It may seem an impossibility in today's media fostered climate of fear and war mentality in the United States, but how much longer into the future can corporate managed mass media continue blacking out the iniquities of what Martin Luther King Jr. called predatory imperialist capitalist foreign policies throughout the so-called underdeveloped world, while any citizen can read of America's overt and covert homicidal crimes in the Encyclopedia Britannica?

In the end, no matter how long it takes, truth will out, and reconciliation is never far behind. For the truth shall make us free - free to be humane.

Write senators, congressmen, clergy and media to consider establishing Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the U.S.

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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India, in Germany & Sweden Einartysken,and in the US by Dissident (more...)

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