Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Accepting Harmony in Diversity

Confucius in his Analects is quoted: "we don't have to agree on all things, to live harmoniously with one another." In the Catholic Peace Weekly a columnist  uses these four words: ε’Œ θ€Œ 不 同 (living at peace with another doesn't mean you think the same) and agrees that there is no reason you have to agree in all things before living together harmoniously. Isn't this what we want to see between North and South Korea?

North Korea's Kim Jong-un said he would participate in the Pyeong Chang Olympics and the door to the North-South dialogue has been opened. If we look closely at the talk given by Kim Jong-un he strongly maintains his right to continue his nuclear advancements but at the same time wants to work towards a peaceful climate on the peninsula.

President Moon wants to strengthen the friendship and cooperation to resolve the nuclear issue while improving the situation between the North and South. Both North and South have given a message of hope that relaxation of the tension and peace can be achieved without abandoning their identities.

The United States has made clear there is no change in its strong sanctions policy toward North Korea. This is the US  position in the international community and a warning message to the Korean government.

We live with the Confucian thought that we can still get along with others without having to agree on all things. In domestic affairs on the basis of different ideologies groups unite together and oppose those with different ideas and we close our eyes to the problems of the country as a whole. Under the last government, we criticised those we considered followers of the North and refused to see the problems in our own government.

It is natural that our allies have doubts about our attitude towards each other since we ignore the greater dynamics with the rest of the world. We are new to the Republican ideals. In the Roman Republic, two consuls were elected to work together. Today in the Western democracy it is built on the system of the separation of powers.

Modern democracy operates on the principle of diversity according to the principles of the Roman Republic. The existence of a different other is meaningful to my existence. People come together to form communities. We maintain peace by respecting each other without giving up our identities. However, living with plurality harmoniously is not one of our ideals. In the Roman Republic, the two consuls had veto power on the other and cooperated with each other.

The principles of democracy should not be difficult  for Christians to accept because we are taught to love our enemies.

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