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소설가 한강 NYT 기고문 논란

기사승인 2017.10.12  18:23:28

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- 강경화 외무 “개인적 생각이지만, 표현과 역사 인식에 문제 있다”

 

소설가 한강이 뉴욕타임스에 기고한 글이 논란이다.

강경화 외교부장관은 12일 국회 외교통일위 국정감사에 출석해 한강씨의 뉴욕타임스 기고문과 관련해 “작가로서 개인적인 생각이 있을 수 있지만, 표현과 역사인식에 있어서는 문제가 있다"고 말했다. 강장관은 이어 '청와대가 한강 씨의 NYT 기고문을 페이스북에 게재한 것이 외교 안보상 중대한 현시점에서 도움이 되느냐'는 국민의당 이태규 의원의 질문에 "저와 협의했더라면 올리지 말라고 조언했을 것 같다"고 답변했다.

앞서 청와대는 홈페이지에 한강씨의 기고문의 글 가운데 주요 내용을 정리해 올렸다.

이에 대해 조선일보는 “이 위기에 대통령이 '할 게 없다'고 하면 국민은 누굴 보나”는 제목의 칼럼에서 청와대가 홈페이지에 한강씨의 기고문을 올린 것을 지적했다.

 

“이 모든 질곡을 만들어낸 김정은이 아니라 트럼프와 미국을 비판하는 한 소설가의 글을 페이스북에 올렸다. 트럼프의 언행을 좋아할 국민은 많지 않을 것이다. 그러나 트럼프는 북핵을 막으려는 사람인 것만은 분명하다. 문 대통령이 이 소설가와 생각이 같다면 문 대통령의 무력감은 북핵을 막지 못해서가 아니라 미국을 막지 못해서 생긴 것이 된다. 정말 그런가."

 

또 문화일보는 전날 “‘6·25는 대리戰’ 글 추천한 청와대의 위험한 안보觀”이라는 제목의 사설에서 청와대의 한강씨 기고문 게제를 비판했다.

 

"지난해 맨부커상을 수상해 국제적으로도 유명해진 소설가 한강의 뉴욕타임스 기고문이 현 청와대의 안보관·대북관·역사관 논란으로 비화하고 있다. 그의 기고문 중에 ‘한국전쟁은 강대국 간의 대리전(代理戰)’ 등의 주장이 있음에도 청와대가 공식 페이스북에 올려놓았기 때문이다. 국민에게 좋은 글이니 읽어보라고 추천하는 행위나 다름없다. 소설가 개인의 특정 견해나, 이를 기고문 형식으로 실은 외국 언론에 대해 정색을 하고 왈가왈부할 필요까지는 없을지 모른다. 그러나 청와대의 추천은 전혀 다른 문제다."

 

 

 

 

[NYT] 미국의 전쟁 얘기에 한국은 전율

O 매체 : 미국 뉴욕타임즈(New York Times) / 10월 7일

O 제목 : While the U.S. Talks of War, South Korea Shudders

/ 미국의 전쟁 얘기에 한국은 전율

O 기고 : 한강

O 내용 요약 : 북핵 위협에 대해 한국인은 매우 차분함을 유지하고 있다는 외신 보도가 나올 때가 있지만, 지난 수십 년간 긴장과 공포는 한국인의 마음 속 깊이 각인됐다. 특히 지난 몇 달간 한반도에 긴장이 고조되면서 한국인의 불안도 점점 커져 왔다.

한국인이 극한 상황에서도 차분함과 평정심을 잃지 않으려는 이유는 한국인이 북한의 존재를 보다 구체적으로 느끼기 때문이다. 한국인은 북한의 독재와 그 아래 고통받는 주민을 구별하고 있으며, 선악의 이분법을 넘어서는 전체론적 접근방식으로 전쟁이 일어난다면 과연 누구를 위한 전쟁이냐는 질문을 직시한다.

한국전쟁은 주변 강대국의 대리전 성격이었으며 이로 인해 수백만의 한국인이 사망했다. 한국전이 끝난 지 70년이 되어가는 현재 미국에서 나오는 얘기는 위험할 정도로 한국전쟁 당시의 그것과 닮았다. “몇 가지 시나리오가 있다” “ 우리가 승리할 것” “한반도에서 전쟁이 일어나면 매일 2만 명의 한국인이 죽을 것” “걱정할 것 없다. 전쟁은 미국에서 일어나지 않는다. 한반도에서만 벌어질 것이다” 등등.

우리는 평화적이지 않은 해법은 모두 무의미하고 ‘승리’는 공허하고 부조리하며, 불가능하다는 것을 알고 있다. 현재, 또 다른 대리전을 절대 원치 않는 사람들이 한반도에 살고 있다는 것을 알아야 한다.

수십만의 한국인은 지난겨울 매주 토요일 촛불집회를 통해 조용하고 평화적인 수단으로 사회를 바꾸기 원했으며 그것을 이루어냈다. 이렇듯 인간의 존엄성을 가진 수천만의 한국인에게 누가 평화가 아닌 다른 시나리오를 얘기하려 하는가?

 

▲ 한강씨의 기고문이 실린 뉴욕타임스 인터넷 캡쳐

 

 

While the U.S. Talks of War, South Korea Shudders

There is no war scenario that ends in victory.

By HAN KANG OCT. 7, 2017

 

SEOUL, South Korea — I cannot turn my thoughts from the news article I happened to see a few days ago. A man in his 70s accidentally dropped two thick wads of cash in the street. Two people who happened upon this bundle of money and shared it between them were caught by the police, made to give up the money and charged with theft.

Up until here, it is still an ordinary story. But there was a special reason this man was carrying so much cash on him. “I’m worried that a war might be coming,” he told the police, “so I’d just taken my savings out of the bank and was on my way home.” He said that it was money he had saved — a little bit each month — for four years, intended to send his grandchildren to college. Since the Korean War broke out in 1950, war would have been the enduring experience of this man’s adolescence. I imagine what he would have been feeling, a man who has lived an ordinary middle-class life ever since, on his way to the bank to take out his savings. The terror, the unease, the impotence, the nervousness.

Unlike that man, I belong to the generation that never experienced the Korean War. Crossing the border to the North was already impossible before I was born, and even now it is forbidden for Southerners to meet or have contact with Northerners. For those of us of the postwar generation, the country known as North Korea is at times felt as a kind of surreal entity. Of course, rationally, I and other Southerners are aware that Pyongyang is only two hours by car from Seoul and that the war is not over but still only at a cease-fire. I know it exists in reality, not as a delusion or mirage, though the only way to check up on this is through maps and the news.

But as a fellow writer who is of a similar age to me once said, the DMZ at times feels like the ocean. As though we live not on a peninsula but on an island. And as this peculiar situation has continued for 60 years, South Koreans have reluctantly become accustomed to a taut and contradictory sensation of indifference and tension.

Now and then, foreigners report that South Koreans have a mysterious attitude toward North Korea. Even as the rest of the world watches the North in fear, South Koreans appear unusually calm. Even as the North tests nuclear weapons, even amid reports of a possible pre-emptive strike on North Korea by the United States, the schools, hospitals, bookshops, florists, theaters and cafes in the South all open their doors at the usual time. Small children climb into yellow school buses and wave at their parents through the windows; older students step into the buses in their uniforms, their hair still wet from washing; and lovers head to cafes carrying flowers and cake.

And yet, does this calm prove that South Koreans really are as indifferent as we might seem? Has everyone really managed to transcend the fear of war? No, it is not so. Rather, the tension and terror that have accumulated for decades have burrowed deep inside us and show themselves in brief flashes even in humdrum conversation. Especially over the past few months, we have witnessed this tension gradually increasing, on the news day after day, and inside our own nervousness. People began to find out where the nearest air-raid shelter from their home and office is. Ahead of Chuseok, our harvest festival, some people even prepared gifts for their family — not the usual box of fruit, but “survival backpacks,” filled with a flashlight, a radio, medicine, biscuits. In train stations and airports, each time there is a news broadcast related to war, people gather in front of the television, watching the screen with tense faces. That’s how things are with us. We are worried. We are afraid of the direct possibility of North Korea, just over the border, testing a nuclear weapon again and of a radiation leak. We are afraid of a gradually escalating war of words becoming war in reality. Because there are days we still want to see arrive. Because there are loved ones beside us. Because there are 50 million people living in the south part of this peninsula, and the fact that there are 700,000 kindergartners among them is not a mere number to us.

One reason, even in these extreme circumstances, South Koreans are struggling to maintain a careful calm and equilibrium is that we feel more concretely than the rest of the world the existence of North Korea, too. Because we naturally distinguish between dictatorships and those who suffer under them, we try to respond to circumstances holistically, going beyond the dichotomy of good and evil. For whose sake is war waged? This type of longstanding question is staring us straight in the face right now, as a vividly felt actuality.

In researching my novel “Human Acts,” which deals with the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, when the military dictatorship turned to the armed forces to suppress student protests against martial law, I had to widen the field to include documents related not only to Gwangju but also to World War II, the Spanish Civil War, Bosnia and the massacres of Native Americans. Because what I ultimately wanted to focus on was not one particular time and place but the face of universal humanity that is revealed in the history of this world. I wanted to ask what it is that makes human beings harm others so brutally, and how we ought to understand those who never lose hold of their humanity in the face of violence. I wanted to grope toward a bridge spanning the yawning chasm between savagery and dignity. One of the many things I realized during my research is that in all wars and massacres there is a critical point at which human beings perceive certain other human beings as “subhuman” — because they have a different nationality, ethnicity, religion, ideology. This realization, too, came at the same time: The last line of defense by which human beings can remain human is the complete and true perception of another’s suffering, which wins out over all of these biases. And the fact that actual, practical volition and action, which goes beyond simple compassion for the suffering of others, is demanded of us at every moment.

The Korean War was a proxy war enacted on the Korean Peninsula by neighboring great powers. Millions of people were butchered over those three brutal years, and the former national territory was utterly destroyed. Only relatively recently has it come to light that in this tragic process were several instances of the American Army, officially our allies, massacring South Korean citizens. In the most well-known of these, the No Gun Ri Massacre, American soldiers drove hundreds of citizens, mainly women and children, under a stone bridge, then shot at them from both sides for several days, killing most of them. Why did it have to be like this? If they did not perceive the South Korean refugees as “subhuman,” if they had perceived the suffering of others completely and truly, as dignified human beings, would such a thing have been possible?

Now, nearly 70 years on, I am listening as hard as I can each day to what is being said on the news from America, and it sounds perilously familiar. “We have several scenarios.” “We will win.” “If war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, 20,000 South Koreans will be killed every day.” “Don’t worry, war won’t happen in America. Only on the Korean Peninsula.”

To the South Korean government, which speaks only of a solution of dialogue and peace in this situation of sharp confrontation, the president of the United States has said, “They only understand one thing.” It’s an accurate comment. Koreans really do understand only one thing. We understand that any solution that is not peace is meaningless and that “victory” is just an empty slogan, absurd and impossible. People who absolutely do not want another proxy war are living, here and now, on the Korean Peninsula.

When I think about the months to come, I remember the candlelight of last winter. Every Saturday, in cities across South Korea, hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered and sang together in protest against the corrupt government, holding candles in paper cups, shouting that the president should step down. I, too, was in the streets, holding up a flame of my own. At the time, we called it the “candlelight rally” or “candlelight demonstration”; we now call it our “candlelight revolution.”

We only wanted to change society through the quiet and peaceful tool of candlelight, and those who eventually made that into a reality — no, the tens of millions of human beings who have dignity, simply through having been born into this world as lives, weak and unsullied — carry on opening the doors of cafes and teahouses and hospitals and schools every day, going forward together one step at a time for the sake of a future that surges up afresh every moment. Who will speak, to them, of any scenario other than peace?

 

한강씨가 기고문 첫 대문에 인용한 사건 기사

 

"전쟁 날까봐" 적금 깬 70대 길에서 돈 분실했다 되찾아 (부산일보)

"하느님의 선물인 줄 알았는데…."

 

지난 4일 오후 1시 45분 부산 금정구 모 은행 앞. 길을 가던 A(77·여) 씨와 B(64·여) 씨는 길바닥에 떨어진 5만 원 권 돈다발 두 개를 보고 눈을 의심했다. 두 사람은 전혀 모르는 관계이지만 사이좋게 돈을 한 다발씩 주워서 현장을 서둘러 떠났다. A 씨는 돈을 주운 뒤 간밤에 꾼 꿈이 횡재 꿈이었다고 여겼다. 평소 좋은 일을 많이 해서 하느님이 선물을 줬다는 확신도 들었다.

하지만 문제의 돈다발은 C(73) 씨가 은행에서 적금을 해약한 뒤 길바닥에 실수로 떨어뜨린 돈 1000만 원이었다. C 씨는 손자 대학 등록금 마련을 위해 노인일자리로 한 달에 20만 원씩 번 돈을 4년 동안 모았다. 그런데 최근 북핵 위기에 전쟁이 일어날 것을 우려해 돈을 인출한 후 집에 보관하려다 실수로 잃어버린 것.

C 씨의 신고를 접수한 경찰은 CCTV와 버스 블랙박스 등을 확보해 A 씨 등을 찾아냈다. 다행히 C 씨는 잃어버린 돈을 모두 돌려받을 수 있었다. 부산 금정경찰서는 27일 A 씨 등을 절도 혐의로 불구속 입건했다.

 

김송현 기자 ksh@opinionnews.co.kr

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