“Now I understand the tragedy” “Never lose courage!”
Despite Japan’s pressure on the organizing committee to reconsider the Korean exhibition on “comfort women” issue, “Flowers That Never Fade” was held successfully.
During the four-day Angouleme International Comics Festival, around 17,000 people visited the Korean cartoon exhibition featuring the comfort women issue. The exhibition was divided into three sections, each depicting the past, present, and future. It was participated by 19 renowned cartoonists such as Lee Hyunse, Kim Gwangsung, Park Jaedong, Cho Gwanjae, Kim Geumsook, and Shin Jisoo.
One visitor said “I came to understand the tragedy today. Although the history itself is sad, speaking out the truth is definitely an act of courage.” Another said “I hope that Koreans would keep up the momentum and continue their effort to pass down true stories.”
The French media reported “The exhibit allowed us to realize how long-lasting the pain has been and it honored all the women involved. It was a high-quality display as well.”
The Japanese Embassy in France demanded the organizing committee cancel the exhibit and tried to display cartoons that distort the facts, but in vain.
“Telling a less well-known story is not political. However, distorting the facts has a political intention. While the Korean exhibit is a form of art portraying the truth and history, what Japan attempted to do was manipulative and went against the whole purpose of the festival. That’s why we closed the Japanese booth which displayed inappropriate content,” said an official from the organizing committee.
Minister Cho said “Sexual violence against children and women persists in conflict zones. That’s partly because we have not fully addressed and reflected ourselves on crimes of the past. A case in point is the comfort women issue. I hope that the exhibit would bring an end to our fight against sexual violence across the world and encourage all of us to comfort victims, give them hope, and build up solidarity.”