Marchsong For The Beloved

Words: Paek Ki-Wahn, c. 1980
Music: Kim Chong-Ryul, c. 1980
Arranged and translated: Miguel Heatwole, 2000

Imeul Wihan Hengchin-gok, translated into English means Marchsong for the Beloved. It was written by Paek Ki Won from his South Korean prison cell to commemorate the student demonstrators murdered by the military dictatorship of Chun Doo Hwan at Kwangju in 1980. The massacre was never forgotten and since then at virtually every political rally against the regime a minute’s silence is observed for those who were murdered. After the silence everyone then sings this song.

The reference to mountains in the lyrics is not necessarily a general one. The province of Cholla, in which the city of Kwangju stands, also contains the Chilli mountain range. This is an area famed for centuries of radicalism. During the Korean war the Chilli mountain became a base of guerilla activity by the partisan army against US and South Korean troops. An Australian friend of ours tells of how she went climbing with a group of factory workers during a Korean holiday. After five days of walking and stories about the partisan days they reached the tallest peak and climbed to the summit to watch the sunrise. They were surprised to find a sizeable crowd, largely unconnected to each other, who had also come to watch the dawn of their festival day. As the sun rose someone began to sing, and spontaneously two hundred or so voices joined in.


Sarang do myonge do
Irum do namgimopshi.
Hanpyongseng naga jaden
Duhgo-un mengse.

Dongjinun kande opgo
Kitbal man nabukyo.
Senari olde gaji
Hunduliji malja.

Seworun huloka do
Sanchonun anda.
Ggeo nahso wechinun
Duhgo-un hamsong!
Apsoso nagani
Sanchayo darurah!
Apsoso nagani
Sanchayo darurah!


Gone; their love, their names, their glory
Gone. But we will pledge our lives;
Crying aloud in fury
Each of us who yet survives!

So many comrades perished;
Only their flags are stirring now.
The new day their hopes had cherished
Dawns when we fulfill our vow!

Time will pass. We won’t forget!
The mountains and rivers know!
Vast our battlecry and yet
Louder it will grow!

Wake! and see the path ahead
That our beloved marched upon.
They who led the way have gone
We the living must go on!

Author: solidaritychoir

Activist choir in Sydney Australia

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