North Koreans are presently living in constant fear and oppression and think to themselves that there is 'no safe haven' for them. The events that have unfolded in North Korea recently attest to this. It is an obvious and well-known fact throughout the world that North Koreans are living difficult lives, facing suffering through human rights violations, and are barely making ends meet.
There are people who, even now, live in a land that has resisted change for over 70 years, a land ruled by a family of leaders, a land of suffering. Even now, there are concentration camps for political criminals, as well as public executions of residents who do not subscribe to the state-endorsed ideology or behavior. Most recently, North Korean defectors in China are being arrested on a greater scale and mass executions are being held to punish people who have watched South Korean dramas. At the same time, there is also a shift in thinking among the residents, and many are expressing, "This is too hard. We are living in a totalitarian regime." This land of North Korea is a place where though you have a mouth, you cannot speak; though you have eyes, you cannot see; though you have ears, you cannot hear. It is a land that is impossible to understand from a normal perspective. However, even within these dire circumstances, there are those who have made it through life-or-death situations to become a member of our society.
In order for us to work together for change, NAUH has come together as one. NAUH was formed to give love to those who are oppressed and to achieve unification on the Korean peninsula. The actions of NAUH will become a beacon of hope for that land.
As young adults living in the age of unification, we must prepare for unification. At present, there are over 25,000 North Korean defectors living in South Korea. Then, what are the things that we must absolutely do and the things that are possible for us to undertake right now?
Regarding this, NAUH proposes a 'small unification.' A small unification refers not to unification in its political or economic context, but rather, refers to a personal, person-to-person level. It entails becoming friends with North Korean defectors living in South Korea and learning to coexist and dream together with them.
It is difficult for everyone to come together as one from the very onset. However, if just a few handful of people become friends, a small unification will be achieved. If we can slowly widen that scale, not only will it serve as a process for unification, it will play an integral role in social integration following unification.
When we look at the cold, hard reality, the issue of unification is not just an issue of South and North Korea; it is also an issue of the conflict of interest of the neighboring powers such as China and the U.S. Even if a particular situation gives rise to North Korea's regime change, that change may not be the direction of unification that we desire. Within this complicated international situation, the greatest strength would be to have indisputable justification, and the most important justification for unification of the Korean peninsula is the people's consensus regarding unification.
Unfortunately, at the present time, majority opinion regarding unification in South Korean society is indifferent at best. If North Koreans come face to face with the South Korean consensus of perceiving them as a burden, the North Korean people will not feel the need to push for unification while receiving that kind of treatment. There are many important factors in achieving unification, but forming a consensus regarding unification is something that we simply cannot overlook.
Germany's unification is a prime example of the chaos that can ensue if a society is unprepared for unification. As an example of what not to do, they have left us with an important lesson through the process of resolving that confusion and chaos.
"The core of unification is not an issue of economic or social costs; it is an issue of people, values, and culture."
People often speak of the cost of unification. This is often referred to as an 'economic and social cost' that has been calculated into monetary terms using estimates of various factors in a struggle to pin down the cost of a possible unification. This, however, has become the source of a vague fear that South Korean young adults who are already plagued by economic problems have. This cost is also the central argument used by those who oppose unification.
An even greater problem is that some seem to think that as long as we are able to cover the costs, the problem of unification can be solved. Just as Germany's unification process shows us, social integration is not something that can be solved with money. If there is nothing to bridge the differences between people, values, and cultures, even with more money than previously estimated being funneled into this effort, severe chaos will ensue. Conversely, if these differences can be bridged naturally, even with lower costs than previously calculated, we will be able to move forward towards a unified Korea.
The togetherness that people feel and their ability to come together are important elements for social integration and development following unification. In order to achieve this, it is necessary for us to work towards a small unification right now.