THE MARTYRED by Richard E. Kim


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South Korean Army Intelligence Officer Lee tells of the last weeks in the soon-to-be-abandoned North Korean capital of Pyongyang and tells therefore not of military, but of human action. Of fourteen Christian ministers imprisoned by the Communists, twelve were killed and two survived--one a young man gone mad, the other, Mr. Shin, an old man with a strange conscience. Colonel Chang, the Chief Intelligence Officer dabbles seriously in martyr manufacture: for the sake of anti-Communist propaganda he would have the city's tortured Christians believe heroic truths about the twelve deaths, but Mr. Shin and a Red prisoner have a truth of their own, revealing the highly un-saintly capitulation of most of the to-be-martyred men. Which truth should be told, if any at all? Lee and Chang, both atheists, face a strange God in different ways, and Mr. Shin lies, sacrificing his honor for the make of the surviving Christians. The memorial service is held; the city evacuated, Mr. Shin stays behind with his ""betrayed"" flock, and what's left of the army moves south. Yet the embarrassing question Lee once asked of Shin remains as a parable of war and religious conscience: ""Is your God aware of the suffering of his people?"" No answer extant in Pyongyang--but a simply written, very powerful account of beleaguered human conscience makes its point beyond the limits of the 8th parallel.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1963
ISBN: 0143106406
Publisher: Braziller