The Honorable Moon Hee-Sang
Speaker, National Assembly, Republic of Korea
Dear Mr. Speaker,
We are American citizens who lived in South Korea during the years 1965-1991. We were Presbyterian and Baptist missionaries in Gwangju from 1969 ? 1985, raised our families there, and worked with Gwangju Christian Hospital, Honam Seminary, the Catholic seminary, Chosun University and Chunnam University,the Gwangju YMCA, and with Presbyterian and Baptist churches throughout the area.
We were present during all of the Gwangju Sateh, the “Incident” which is now most often called the Gwangju Democratization Movement. It was not an organized movement ? it was an illicit assault upon our city of 800,000 people by military forces under the control of Chun Doo-Hwan.
Our husbands took the photographs used in Chun’s trial ? of the helicopter that fired upon the people of Korea, in Rev. Arnold Peterson’s case, and of many of the dead who were brought to Gwangju Christian Hospital during those tumultuous times, in the Rev. Charles Betts Huntley’s case. Believe us, we know what happened in Gwangju ? we were eye-witnesses, and we recorded what we saw and experienced.
Now we hear that in a public hearing held at the National Assembly on Feb. 8, three lawmakers of the Liberty Korea Party joined a far right figure portraying the May 18 uprising as a putsch instigated by 600 North Korean provocateurs ? which is blatantly false.
Democracy must be based upon truth, and people need to trust their lawmakers to know the truth, tell the truth, and act in truth. What these three lawmakers said was false, and very hurtful to the people of Gwangju and the Chullas, and to the nation of South Korea as well.
To this day, there are people who deny the Holocaust ever occurred ? their denials would wipe away the reality of the suffering and loss of millions of people to the world, and the truth of history itself. We would hate to see the same thing happen in South Korea, if these May 18 deniers of the truth are allowed to speak lies in the face of actual, historical reality.
We would hope these three lawmakers will be rebuked if not removed, so that people can trust the National Assembly of Korea.
Arnold Peterson went to be with our Lord, Sept. 24, 2015 and Betts Huntley June 26, 2017. The people of Gwangju were always in their hearts and will forever be in ours.
We love Korea, and we love the truth. We are grateful for our years in Korea, and are grateful to have been there to see and help even in the midst of great ? and unwarranted ? violence on an entire city. We will always love Korea, and we will always bear witness to the truth we know.
Martha Huntley and Barbara Peterson