The following article was published in the April 2022 special issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
In Honor of Lawyer Roland Weyl’s Eternal Life
The last time I saw Roland Weyl in person was at the end of May 2019, when he visited South Korea for a preliminary investigation by the North Korean Overseas Restaurant Investigation Team. When he turned 100 years old, I was concerned about his health and when I tried to help him, he refused. Whenever I saw him, there was a question that I asked as a greeting without a second thought. “Are you still going to the lawyer’s office these days, working as a lawyer, and going to court?” I was embarrassed every time. He asked me if I should work until I lost my energy and couldn’t move. He compared life to riding a bicycle and said that you have to keep on pedaling without stopping.
He was as innocent as a child, and his rich humor never ceased. Embarrassingly, there were more cases of not being able to properly understand his sense of humor, but after a while, I understood and laughed. I received a lot of inspiration and stimulation from Roland’s outstanding insight and brilliant wisdom such as a perspicacious comment. In particular, his view on the Korean Peninsula issue came to be a practical weapon that broadened one’s perspective. He advocated for the establishment of a Peace Zone in each region of the world based on the UN Charter and the removal of all foreign troops and foreign military bases from the Peace Zone. He wished that South and North Korea would reunite as soon as possible to exercise their right to self-determination and achieve a unified Korea through the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the demolition of U.S. military bases.
On March 8, 2020, through an email from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Roland informed us that he could no longer participate in the activities of the IADL due to health reasons, and that he would share his activities by email in the future. Thinking that there was not much time left to say goodbye to him, I was hopeful that I would be able to visit Paris again and see him once again. On June 27, 2020, when the activities of the IADL were switched to an online meeting due to COVID-19, I was able to see his last appearance at the Zoom video conference of the IADL. Even in his brief words to his IADL colleagues at that time, Roland’s concern for the Korean Peninsula issue remained intact. At the meeting, he specifically addressed the importance of working for peace on the Korean Peninsula against US intervention.
Roland did not stop until his last breath for the most marginalized and deprived people and groups. In early March 2021, he told a colleague that he felt he was no longer useful in the world because he no longer had the energy to fight for the people, and that he would soon be with his lifelong partner, Monique.
The time I spent with Roland was a great honor in my life. I was able to learn a lot from him. I miss his bright smile and his humor. We will never forget his passion and dedication in defense of peace, progress and human rights.
Lawyer Roland Weyl! I hope you enjoy eternal rest with your wife in peace. We will continue to fight and advance toward a unified Korea and world peace. I love you, respect you and miss you.