“Go away!” Fight the dictator with one line of poetry


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“Unfortunate. You hypocrite teachers of the law and Pharisees! For you look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside you are like whitewashed tombs full of the bones and filth of the dead. In the same way, on the outside you also appear righteous to others, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:27-28) “Early early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. But they saw a stone rolled from the tomb. So when I went inside, the body of the Lord Jesus was not found.” (Lk 24,1-3) Children are symbols of innocence and honesty and are synonymous with angels. Jesus said that the greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is ‘like a child’. On the other hand, leaders such as the scribes and Pharisees and religious people were terribly rebuked for being hypocrites full of lawlessness. If you think about it, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees were once children like angels. As I grew up, the times ran out, I sinned, and I became a hypocrite. This is the reason why Seonhyeon emphasized to keep the original intention. Why do innocent children become dirty, sinful, hypocrite adults? The answer is probably as many as there are people. The teachings that compile them are the scriptures of religion. All religions teach reception, self-denial, temperance, yielding, sacrifice, love, and mercy. Because all humans are selfishly prone to change. As we passed the 1997 bailout period, we became more self-centered and greedy. Sacrifice, devotion, and concessions are everywhere, and the world has become a world just for me. Such individualism is a breeding ground for hypocrisy and lawlessness. It must now be firmly cut off.

‘Go away from the shell’ like theological repentance

Dutch theologian R. Adolfs (Samsung Cultural Library 83) coldly criticizes the reality of the church by using the two tombs mentioned in the Gospel: ‘whitewashed tombs’ and ’empty tombs’. They criticized that the tomb was whitewashed, which looked clean and splendid on the outside, but filled with greed, lawlessness and selfishness on the inside. It is a painful reflection and point of view on the church organization and system. They claim that the empty tomb is the site where Jesus was resurrected and is the true spiritual value that the church should aim for. It is full of hypocrisy and pretense as much as it is owned, and the more empty it is, the cleaner and more beautiful it is. It is heavy enough to hold, and light as it is empty, so it can easily ascend to the sky. This is a lesson that individuals and society, religion and politics should remember deeply. Poetry is the language of emptiness and temperance. The poet forges a cool-edged sword by condensing the bitterness, personal anguish, and insight he has experienced. A word like a blade, a line of poetry like a thunderbolt, lifts us up from compromising with injustice or compromising with reality, making our eyes change and making our hearts beat again. Such is the case with ‘Go away from the shell’ by Shin Dong-yup (1930-1969). This poem resonates not only as folk poetry and resistance poetry, but also theologically. This is because it is in line with the fundamental ‘repentance’ to cast off hypocrisy and pretense. Before God, we must cast off our husks and live a spiritual life in which we can be evaluated as naked. We wear many things in our lives without even realizing that they are shells. Throwing them away one by one is true repentance and the essence of religion.

The poet Shin Dong-yup during his lifetime.  <The Hankyoreh>  data photo

The poet Shin Dong-yup during his lifetime. File photo

Poet Shin Dong-yup was born during the Japanese colonial period and experienced liberation, the Korean War, the Syngman Rhee dictatorship and the April 19 Revolution, and the military rule of Park Chung-hee. His short life of less than 40 years was a series of extreme confrontations and upheavals. Born in Buyeo, he grew up close to Geumgang and Busosan. He went to Jeonju Normal School, but was expelled for joining the Democratic Student Federation. It is probably thanks to his intense experience that he is remembered as a representative resistance poet. If his early poems sang mythical imagination and primal vitality, starting on April 19, he moved to themes of history, people, resistance, and unification. His wife and poet In Byeong-sun recalls that on April 19, 1960, dust was sitting on the shoes of her husband, who had not been contacted until late at night. As he watched the 4/19, he had hopes that peaceful coexistence of the peoples would be possible. It depicts the tragedy of fraternity with the partisan mountain as the subject. From ‘Azalea Mountains and Streams’, the long epic ‘Geumgang’ written on the theme of the Gao Peasant War, ‘Go away from the shell’, which became a symbol of the democratization movement in the 70s, to the posthumous poem ‘Who Saw the Sky? I dreamed of a world where this subject becomes the subject, a world where lies and hypocrisy disappear, and coexistence and peace dwell.

Shin Dong-yup’s life as a police detective recalled

‘Go to the Shell’ drew attention as soon as it was released in 1967. Phrases such as ‘live only the cries of the same grade Gomnaru, and leave the shell’ or ‘You should stand in front of a neutral Choryecheong and greet it with shame’ were a direct challenge to the Park Chung-hee dictatorship, which was heading towards the Yushin regime while calling for anti-communism. I did. As time passed, the dictator who wielded undisputed power came to an end, but poetry survived. Currently, 14 out of 18 high school literature textbooks contain ‘Go to the Shell’. In April 2019, celebrating the 50th anniversary of King Seon’s death, various commemorative events were held in Buyeo and Seoul, where the poet’s literature center is located. At an academic conference at that time, I came across an article titled ‘The Chronicle of Shin Dong-yeop of Seoklim (石林),’ published in (Changbi). It was about Shin Dong-yeop, a young man who was not well known until now. The person who wrote the article is Nomun (盧文), and it is said that he worked with a poet in Buyeo as a member of ‘Yahwa’, a literary club. According to Nomun’s record, before and after the Korean War, Shin Dong-yup’s life was full of ups and downs. Although he did not participate in the war, he had the experience of descending from Mt. Daedun to Mt. Jiri following the retreating People’s Army and Partisan Mountain. Although he broke out of the ranks midway and lasted for about a month, this experience seems to be strongly internalized in the poet. Noh Mun recounts that ‘Shin Dong-yup was neither a partisan nor a communist, but a rather complicated pacifist.’ It is also a historical irony that Noh Moon, a young literary man who had a passionate friendship with a poet, was from the North and was a detective in the Buyeo Police Department. I have never met and met poet Shin Dong-yup in person. He has some ties to his wife and son. In Byeong-seon, a poet and folklorist, worked together on the Democratization Movement Commemoration Project, and with her son, he is currently working at the Human Rights Medical Research Institute. In Byeong-seon is also the founder of the Strawberry Life History Museum in Myeongnyun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. The poet’s eldest son, Shin Jwa-seop, a professor of medicine at Seoul National University, conducted night classes and labor movements under the Yushin system. He wanted to major in literature or political science, but at that time, he went on to medical school because the association system was applied unknowingly and unknowingly. It means that the great shadow of his father followed him all his life.

Ham Se-woong talks book title

I also have a personal anecdote related to ‘Go away from the shell’. Retiring from the cathedral in 2012, I started publishing a book of bold materials with Professor Sohn Seok-chun. I commented that the title of the book should be ‘Smash the Golden Calf’. Because it is a passage from the story of Moses in the Bible, it does a good job of conveying the lesson that religion should not fall into tyranny. However, Professor Son and the publisher said that ‘Go away from the shell’ was better than the title I thought. As a result of the survey, it was found that the young people had a high affinity for this phrase. It made me happy to think that the poems of a poet 50 years ago resonate with the youth of today. Following the opinions of the majority, I decided to title the book ‘Go away from the shell’. I got permission from Mrs. In Byeong-seon, who had the copyright, and I also quoted poetry in the talk book. ‘Go away from the shell’ is the core of the 4·19 spirit. What we are aiming for is the cry of the essence, not the shell. We must reject anti-democracy, anti-nationalism, and anti-life surrounded by shells and move toward the hope of national unity and reconciliation, peace and coexistence, and reunification. This is like religious repentance, trying to get rid of hypocrisy and pretense and seek the essence. Holy and omnipotent God, who sees through all of us, even within, we are feeble beings who will one day all have to prostrate before God’s judgment seat, naked before God’s judgment seat. Please forgive us all our hypocrisy and pretense, our sins and mistakes, and wash us clean, and wrap us in a new garment of humility and lowliness, beautiful and sincere, just like Jesus. So, let us all participate in a heavenly feast full of joy. In the Holy Spirit through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Since becoming a Catholic priest in 1968, he has worked for the poor and powerless. He took the lead in the democratization movement by leading the establishment of the National Priests Association for the Realization of Catholicism (1974). Even after retiring from active duty in 2012, he continues to walk in solidarity with the poor and marginalized. Every Monday, we publish writings and calligraphy related to modern history.


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