The fifteenth August 2000 will never be forgotten by Koreans. On that day, Koreans realized one of the biggest achievements in Korean history: Family reunions. As the long separated families finally met their mothers, fathers, and relatives and burst out in tears, all Koreans became very emotional. So did I. However, during the otherwise happy family reunions, there was something that made me feel sad. To my big disappointment, a Korean man on TV was alluding to nationalism on the basis of ethnic and cultural superiority.
When it comes to unification, all Koreans are of one mind despite some differences in ideology and method. As a matter of fact, this zeal made possible what had long appeared impossible: The realization of family reunions. However, it seems to me that this zeal is somehow misled and bigoted. During the live coverage, a Korean man said, "If the two Koreas reunify, Koreans national and cultural power will become doubled and, consequently, dominate the world in the not too distant future." And he added these dreaded words: "Our race and our culture are superior to others. So, we can make it happen." As a Korean, I felt embarrassed, not sympathetic. After all, the world was watching the event. What if that "hostile" message were delivered to other peoples?
The world has changed a lot. Leaving behind 20th century, when misled ethnic and cultural superiority inflicted all humanity, the world is well on its way to enjoying diversity of cultures and harmony with all other races. Moreover, since the introduction of the Internet, the world is virtually shrinking into a global village. Yes, a village where one of your neighbors can get his or her message across to you in a matter of seconds and come and go as they please. The idea that Korean culture and the Korean race are superior to others and, someday, will dominate the world is anachronistic and too selfish. After all, now all peoples in the world became our neighbors and friends.
Therefore, it became very easy and fast for one country's culture to affect another's. Something once considered uniquely Korean becomes something global overnight; other cultures that Koreans once found exotic sneak into Korea and claim to be Korean by stealth. Moreover, foreigners come to our country to live among us. So do Koreans. That is, the once formidable cultural and national boundaries are now becoming vague. So, some bigoted Koreans have to realize that there are no superior Korean, American, or Chinese cultures, but only one culture in the world. Yes, one human culture that all human beings have to share together in a small planet called Earth.
The writer is a senior in Dept. of History.
Jeong Sok-hun firstname.lastname@example.org
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