Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Text Fwd: Leading pro-democracy intellectual dies at 81 한국 민주주의의 지도적 지성 리영희 선생님 별세
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Leading pro-democracy intellectual dies at 81
: Lee Young-hee was a leading critic of authoritarian administrations that took power after the Korean War
Dec. 6, 2010
Lee Young-hee, a national symbol of an intellectual activist and a major figure in the journalist sector, passed away Sunday at the age of 81.
Lee, a former Hanyang University professor emeritus and editorial adviser for the Hankyoreh, died at around 12:40 a.m. Sunday at Green Hospital in the Myeonmok neighborhood of Seoul’s Jungnang District, where he had been hospitalized for chronic illness.
Lee’s life was a long battle with the anti-intellectualism and anti-democracy forces that had him dismissed twice each from press and university positions and arrested a total of five times. Following his imprisonment in 1980 after the new military regime of Chun Doo-hwan fingered him as one of the ringleaders behind the Gwangju Uprising, the French daily Le Monde called him “an intellectual mentor.”
His books “Logic of a Transitional Era” (1974) and “Idols and Reason” (1977) provided candid pictures of the true nature of the Vietnam War concealed under anti-Communist ideology, and the realities of Communist China. Both were among the era’s most prominent banned books.
His statements of concern about the era did not stop even after the right half of his body was paralyzed following a cerebral hemorrhage in 2000. Lee, who once said, “My hope is that one day my books do not sell a single copy and my royalties come out to zero Won,” died without ever seeing a society where his books were not needed.