The following article was published in the April 2022 special issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
Roland Weyl will live forever in our hearts and in Korean history
Some time ago, I dreamed of Roland Weyl. I even had tears in my eyes in my dream, which is very rare for me. As soon as I woke up from the dream, I remembered the last moment I spent with Roland. It looks like he was sleeping soundly in his bed. I had a meeting with him that day, but I didn’t wake him. Instead, I took a photo for my future memories. Even now, when I describe this picture to you, I choke up with emotion and I feel like I am going to cry.
Over the course of my not-so-short life, I have met and parted with a lot of people, but no one has left such a great lasting impression on my heart as Roland. I studied law in South Korea, and after graduating in law, I went to graduate school. That’s where I became involved in underground revolutionary activities against the military dictatorship of the time. It was because of this that I spent seven years in prison. If I hadn’t been involved in revolutionary activities, I probably would have studied in Germany and then returned to Korea to work as a professor. And I would undoubtedly have known Roland in Europe, and he would have served as an example of my life as a lawyer, jurist and teacher throughout my life.
Roland’s greatness was revealed in his passionate practice and his brilliant works throughout his life. It was his brilliant theory and his noble allure that informed his practice. He was a prestigious lawyer and a representative of the organization for human rights and international solidarity which symbolizes France. But above all, he served, as moral support for the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and as a typical example of a comradely couple with Monique. His life will serve as an example to many forever.
For us, Roland was a true internationalist, the most grateful benefactor and an eternal comrade who set the most brilliant example of international solidarity for the independence and reunification of Korea and democracy in South Korea. He came to South Korea when he celebrated his 100th birthday despite his physical weakness which was starting to show. He made a great impression on all Koreans who were with him with his precious words and his dedicated activities. His international solidarity activities for Korea are countless. Even with these memories, we could stay up all night and chat.
Roland’s teachings will always be a beacon to shed light on the darkness on the path to justice for independence, reunification of Korea and democracy in South Korea. His last words which he left us, and his last wishes were, “Korea will surely achieve reunification with the power of the people.” We will surely achieve the cause of Korean independence, democracy in South Korea and the finally reunification of Korea. We will build a new people-centered society in which the political and economic rights guaranteeing the independence and creativity of the people are fully realized. At the same time, the Korean people will always be at the forefront on the path to realizing the noble internationalist ideal of independence and democratization of the world, as Roland showed us throughout his life.
His life, struggles, teachings and works will forever be etched in our hearts and in the history of the Korean people. We will always meet, talk, laugh and be together with him, just like in our dreams.