As a pro-democratic leader born from Haeiudo, a small island off the Cholla province in the Southwest of Korea, Kim Dae-Jung had one thing in mind.
Reunification of Korea.
Known to many as the "Sunshine Policy," Kim envisioned a future where his South Korean patriots would live harmoniously with their North Korean brethren. Unfortunately, he was not able to see a unified Korea, one in which he grew up in. He saw a peninsula of peace; not one of war, corruption, nor nuclear proliferation. Dubbed as the "Nelson Mandela of Asia," Kim Dae-Jung won the Nobel Peace Prize at the beginning of the new millennium, for his works in East Asia, as well as his unheralded cooperative efforts with his tyrannical North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-Il. Prior to his presidential inauguration, Kim's life was once at the mercy of the KCIA for having an opposition view against Park Chung-Hee (Korean War General, who took over S. Korea after a military d'état on May 16, 1961). Yet, the man pressed on - overcoming many hurdles to reach the highest office in the presidential democratic government. He became the voice for political freedom, the voice for a forgotten people, and the voice of peace. I admire Mr. Kim, for all his noble efforts while in office, and seeking friendship with a hated despot. Though he never saw his dream of a unified Korea manifest under his leadership, I know one day that his vision will unfold, and his legacy will have lived on.
It's easy to resort back to comfortability, and apathy. Ignorance isn't just about bliss, it's the willing state of mind that accepts everything, and questions nothing. We use the cover of sheep skin to be protected by the shepherd, scared to death of the wolves prowling in the near distance. As mere mortals, we all inevitably pass away from the living world. How you live your live is ultimately yours.
"I underwent many ordeals in my life but I never strayed from principles and never compromised with injustice, even at the risk of my life," - Kim Dae-Jung, RIP August 18, 2009.