Letter To The Lost One (2017)

A case of disappearing persons always leaves many questions and uneasy feeling even if we do not personally know that person. A story of a missing person draws a lot of attention and speculation that made us think of many possibilities of what might have happened and it mingles between fiction and reality. It is a usual story when kingdom has fallen and state crumbles. The human saw for as long as history what a people capable of, and the missing person case is one of the ultimate examples of what atrocities human can do.

My grandfather went missing. He was abducted at his home in 1965 and never came back. He went missing because of his political affiliation and activity. It was a purge against the communist party in our country incited by the military regime, to let people kill other people with hatred and misinformation. Many other people also went missing at that era in other places, with other causes and at different times.

Letter to the Lost One is dedicated to the dead, to the missing one and most importantly to us, that have to suffer this terrible heart broke. To respect those whose names did not have a place in history or even mentioned in conversations. 

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On that night, the man left. He was picked up by two muscular men in uniform. He was taken to a house and interrogated. Beaten and battered until unconscious. He was detained for three months and released on an isolated island. He lost his memories but lives, and the native community welcomed him. He is happy, and he has ten grandchildren.

On that night, the man left. He was picked up by two muscular men in uniform. He was brought to the city outskirt. Interrogated day and night. On the seventh day, he met with the leader and turned out to be his childhood friend. He was released with the promise to not to return or let alone reveal himself. He went far away to the western country. Through his childhood friend, he follows his family news with shedding tears and broken hearts. He lives alone and works all day as a porter at a small station in the corner of Prague.

On that night, the man left. He was picked up by two muscular men in uniform. He was brought to a cabin on the edge of the forest. Beaten and tortured for days. One evening after dinner, the men were off guard. He escaped and ran in the woods for days. Fear of the dark forest was overwhelmed with longing of his children and wife. One night the house window was tapped, and he whispered grandmother’s name. They sobbed and embraced each other, but they pledged to be silent. Then, he disappeared with the night

On that night, the man left. He was picked up by two muscular men in uniform. They went to nightlife entertainment. Loud music and wild nightclub. Women and alcohols overflowed. He was appointed to be the assistant leader and was offered a throne leaving the fam. Over the years, he was devoted to the power that eventually lapsed; he was eliminated.

On that night, the man left. He was picked up by two muscular men in uniform. He was brought to the harbor. The boat sailed, and it smelled of blood and fear. Interrogation did not go well. Beaten unconsciously and tightened. He was dumped into the water. Some fishes were swimming around him. When he reached at the bottom, the coral reefs kept him company.

In the dining room, New York. 3.20am March 17, 2017.


Mom, Dad,

I do not know you. There is no name that can be called. Even the face.
You can't even enter the country's historical vocabulary. So long you have been deleted. Blackened. Drowned. Removed. Omitted.

Through a long journey and a search that is never smooth, your figures are present. There is no name that can be called. Especially face. What emerges is heartbreaking and sad stories. This country allows its young children to search for history with the shadow of a red river that smells of blood. Heads cut off from the body. Shots that invade full bodies of life.

Mom, Dad,

Even though you are forcibly removed from this country, I will always remember you fully. Your devoted figures, thirsty for knowledge and ideas about generations who are aware of education will be preserved all the time. You are the first generation of Indonesian teachers whose knowledge has not been absorbed and passed down from generation to generation. I was sad and angry but realized it would not change anything.

Mom, Dad,

I bow my head deeply for you. My deep respect for you. You will never be lost in my memory. Will always live and I live. You are a blazing fire to keep searching and exploring the truth of this country.

Fitri Mohan 

Dear Ngkong, wherever you are now,

I guess you wouldn't remember me. We have indeed met, just once, in my dream. We were sitting on a beach then. Not on the sand, but in a beach chair. Between us, there was an umbrella table. The sun was just beginning to sink, but that wasn't the reason we both fell silent. You looked in my direction, but not at me. You gazed over my shoulder, your eyes staring far ahead, looking past me. We said nothing to each other, but I knew you were my grandfather, and I knew you knew I was your granddaughter.

That was my dream, and I had hoped that at the same time, wherever you were then, it was also your dream. As a matter of fact, the week after I constantly felt your hand resting on my shoulder. Obviously, I told Papa about it immediately, and also Mak. Hearing my story, they reacted similarly. I couldn't explain their reaction; it seemed to be a mix of nostalgia, emptiness, and yearning.

I felt very proud of our encounter, until I saw your portrait on Mak's wall, along with all the other old portraits, behind her ancestral altar where we gather to eat every year after prayers, on unnamed family gatherings. That was when I realized you held that exact pose in the portrait: you looked in my direction, but not at me. You gazed over my shoulder, your eyes staring far ahead, looking past me. We never greeted each other, but I knew you were my grandfather. My earliest memory in front of that altar was with Papa, who taught me how to pray. Two joss sticks for me, ten times pai-pai bowing down, and Papa saying jokingly, "tell your grandfather, 'Ngkong, I want a bicycle.'"

Tintin Wulia 

Letters from Gwangju (2018)

서로의 다름과 가치를 존중하는 세상이 오길 바라며,
역사속으로 사라진 그의 영혼을 위해 기도합니다.

강 동호 

Open Studio ACC Gwangju (2018)

사라진 이에게,

그동안 잘 지내셨나요? 저는 랑가로부터 사라진 이에게 편지를 써달라는 부탁을 받고 먼저 당신이 생각났습니다. 제가 당신을 알았던 때는 아마도 23년 전이겠네요. 그리고 저는 지금 30대 중반의 나이에 접어들었습니다. 그날 초등학교를 다녀오던 길에 당신이 사라졌다는 소식을 듣게 되었습니다. 경찰들이 찾고 있다는 이야기와 벌써 일주일이 지나도록 아무 소식이 없다는 얘기들까지도요. 사라진 이에게 붙는 여러 가지 이유로 당신의 모든 것을 추적했고 결국 아무 단서도 찾지 못했습니다. 타고 가셨던 차도 발견되지 않았어요. 한 사람이 혹은 한 존재가 소리 없이 사라질 수 있다는 것을 그때 처음으로 경험하게 되었습니다. 당신은 사라졌지만 저는 당신의 딸이자 나의 친한 언니를 마주할 때마다 당신의 그림자를 함께 보는 듯한 착각에 빠졌습니다. 모든 이들이 안부를 묻는다는 이유로 당신에 관해 물었으니까요. 사라진 소문은 더 무성해졌고 무엇이 진실인지 답해 줄이는 아무도 없었습니다. 그저 전에 당신을 알고 있던 사람들의 소설 같은 이야기들만이 떠돌고 언니를 더 아프게 했다는 사실만 제 기억에 남아있습니다. 얼마 지나지 않아 당신의 가족들은 다른 곳으로 이사를 하였습니다. 그리고 가끔 들려오는 소식들만이 그분들이 어떻게 사는지 알 수 있었습니다. 아직도 아무도 모릅니다. 어떻게 왜 당신이 사라졌는지를요. 오늘 저는 그저 당신의 자녀가 결혼해서 각자의 가정을 꾸리고 살아가고 있다는 소식과 그렇게 소문을 만들어내던 이의 절반은 이미 이 세상에 없다는 것을 알려드리고자 이 편지를 쓰게 되었습니다.

어디에 계시든 평안하시길 바랍니다. 

나의 대학원 친구로부터 정치적 성향이 다르다는 이유로 실종된 이들의 소식을 들었습니다. 얼마나 두려운 시간을 보냈을지, 얼마나 고통스러울지 생각만해도 무섭고 가슴이 아픕니다. 그들의 아픔과 그들의 희생이 이땅의 정치적 자유와 세상의 발전에 주춧돌이 되길 기도합니다.

곧 겨울이 될 것같은 날씨입니다.
세상에는 수많은 상상못할 일이 벌어지고 있겠지만,
우리는 각자의 일상에 몰두하지요.
마음 한구석에 해결하지못한 일이 있는 채로.

저는 이창진입니다. 

랑가에게 보내는 편지

랑가의 할아버지 이야기를 듣고 나의 할아버지가 생각났습니다.

그리고 한국 땅에서사라졌다가 차츰 (유골로) 발견되는 사람들도


사라진 사람들과 지금은 없는 나의 할아버지.

천수를 누리지 못하고 스스로 목숨을 끊은 할아버지는 한국전 당시

UN경찰이었다고 들었습니다.

UN경찰? 정말일까?

UN경찰이라는 것이 있기는 한 걸까?

혹시 무언가를 감추기 위해 지어낸 직업은 아닐까?

한국의 근대사를 배우며, 경찰들이, 특히 북에서 남으로 넘어온

경찰들이 어떤 일에 연루되었었는지 읽었습니다.

제주 4.3, 여순 사건,보도연맹학살, 그리고 서북청년단.

잘못된 자리에서 잘못된 명령을 들은 사람 중에 나의 할아버지가

없었기를 바라지만, 친가 식구들 중 누구도 그런 이야기는 하지


그래서 할아버지 댁에서 '서북청년단의 활약' 상이 적혀있기도 한

전집류를 처음 보았을 때 등골이 서늘하고 기분이 무척이나 좋지


더 이상 알고싶지 않았죠. 그 때는 할아버지가 돌아가신 후라

본인에게 들을 수는 없었어요.

할아버지. 당신은 학살자였습니까? 아니면 그냥 일개 경찰이었나요?

한국전때까지는 황해도에 계셨으니 학살에 가담한건 아니겠죠?

아니면 보도연맹학살때 국가에서 시킨 그 일을 했나요?

만일 그렇다면 나는 학살자의 후손이 되는건가요?

실종된 혹은 학살된 몇십만명은 누가 기억해주나요?

나중에 아버지한테 할아버지가 공산주의자로 몰려 감옥에 투옥되었다

다른 경찰서에 근무하던 아버지의 외삼촌이 총을 들고 간수들을

위협해 할아버지를 감옥에서 빼왔다는 이야기를 들었습니다.

그리고 다른 얘기는 공산군이 동네를 장악했을때는 인민재판에

넘어가지 않기 위해서 낮에는 닭장 아래 굴을 파고 숨어있던

이야기도 들었습니다.

그냥 딱 그만큼만 사실이었으면 좋겠습니다.

그 이상이라고 하면, 아직 어떻게 받아들여야 할 지 모르겠네요.

이 땅에 살아남은 대부분은 가까운 과거의 원죄들을 짊어지고도

대를 위해 소를 희생하는 정신을 이어가고 있습니다.

체제에 순응합니다.

집단을 위해 소수를 배제하고 묻고 지워가며

우린 그렇게 살아 남아 그런 방식으로 살고 있습니다.