Ri In Mo (1917-2007) is etched in the memory of Korean people as an incarnation of faith and will. During the Fatherland Liberation War (1950-1953) he was a war correspondent of the Korean People’s Army. He acted as a member of the Jirisan Guerrilla Unit during the strategic and temporary retreat by the KPA. He was wounded by shot and arrested in January 1952. Later, he was behind bars in south Korea for 34 years, or for over 12 400 days.
Once the Amnesty International rated the circumstance of prisoners in south Korea as the worst in the world. During his imprisonment for the greater part of his life Ri had to endure all sorts of medieval tortures and lures, mean plots and endless blackmail under the pressure to accept ideological conversion, and hunger and bitter cold.
He had two choices—to sign a declaration of ideological conversion to be freed from the jail or to face painful imprisonment to remain loyal to his faith and principle. It would take him less than a second to put his signature to the statement of conversion if he decided to abandon his faith. However, he refused to the end to accept ideological conversion which was as good as treachery and betrayal.
His imprisonment dragged in Seoul, Taejon, Kwangju, Pusan and other places. He found only two alternatives; to accept or defy ideological conversion. He underwent lots of hardships, suffering severe physical and mental pains caused by cruel tortures. He was even deprived of the rights to be exposed to sunshine and to walk on the land. The hangmen destroyed him physically but failed to win him over mentally. He stood firm to his conviction with his strong willpower.
His commitment to President Kim Il Sung and the Workers’ Party of Korea, and ardent love for his country were the buttresses for his strong faith and will.
He was 70 years old when he was released from the jail. His struggle to remain true to his faith continued outside the jail. Although his health was utterly destroyed due to decades of prison life and he was suffering from cerebral hemorrhage, he thought that to write memoirs on the struggle of his comrades and convey it to posterity was to fulfil his mission as a war correspondent. So he made a note of their struggle, searching his memory, while continuing his movement for national reunification in those days.
For scores of years of his struggle his motherland always kept in its mind his son who was faithful to the Party and the leader, and the country and the revolution.
Chairman Kim Jong Il gave prominence to him as an incarnation of faith and will. Thanks to his loft comradeship and noble revolutionary obligation, the struggle for his repatriation was vigorously waged in diverse ways. Finally Ri In Mo returned to the embrace of his motherland on March 19, 1993 after over 40 years of his struggle behind enemy lines.
The country bestowed on him the title of Hero of the DPRK twice, Order of Kim Il Sung which is the highest order in the DPRK, the National Reunification Prize and other high official commendations, honouring him as an incarnation of faith and will. The school in which he had attended was renamed after him and his bust was unveiled in Thongil Street, Pyongyang.
Recently, recollecting Ri In Mo again, Marshal Kim Jong Un put him forward as a model of faith and will born of the era of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
Today the Korean people are firmly determined to become ardent revolutionary fighters in the Songun era who will not abandon their faith even on their deathbed and those strong in faith and will with the revolutionary spirit of Paektu, the spirit of the blizzards of Paektu, by learning after the example of Ri In Mo, thus winning victories in the building of a prosperous socialist nation and the anti-imperialist class struggle.