Archive for May, 2008

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[URGENT] Democracy in Korea is under attack from its own government.

May 31, 2008

We call your immediate attention to what’s happening in Korea at this very moment.

Since the South Korean government announced a new beef import agreement with U.S. (April 18), worried Koreans—mostly middle and high school girls who would become known as “candlelight girls”—started holding candlelight vigils in downtown Seoul. As you may know by now, these almost daily vigils recently evolved into daily street protests.

However, we’re witnessing a decisive turning point now. Last night (May 31–June 1), tens of thousands of Koreans pulled off all-night street rallies in downtown Seoul. Some large groups of protesters peacefully proceeded in the direction of the Blue House, the presidential residence. The police responded with bus barricades and water cannons. During this confrontation, a high school student who was protesting on top of a police bus was attacked by a water cannon, and has reportedly lost one eye. The police discharged water directly to the student only several feet away, which is absolutely illegal. Here are some pictures showing protesters being attacked in a like manner:

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There have been countless other cases of police violence and abuses. Here’s a series of pictures (taken by a staff reporter at ohmynews.com) showing riot police chasing a protester and attacking with billy clubs on the back of his head:

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Here are some other pictures showing protesters injured by the police:

And some dropped fainted during scuffles with the police as shown below:

We can’t believe what we’re seeing. All this eerily reminds us of those tumultuous years of Korean politics when Korean youths poured out into the streets to protest against military dictatorships. It’s a sad irony to see the children of those protesters in the 1980’s back on the streets.

It would seem that Lee Myung-bak and his regime crossed the Rubicon. Koreans are now calling for ousting him from power.

We Koreans need your support. Right now. Please report and share what’s happening in Korea.

Thank you.

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“Stars and Losers of Candlelight Vigils”

May 31, 2008

Korea Times‘s staff reporter Bae Ji-sook writes a pretty accurate report on who have lost and who have gained since the candlelight vigils started in April:

candlelight girlsTeenagers in school uniform join a candlelit vigil against U.S. beef imports. Teenagers have emerged as the main proponents of candlelit vigils.

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

Some rose to stardom, while others stumbled over candlelit vigils held to protest the resumption of American beef imports.

First, the spotlight shone on teenagers. Conventionally indifferent to social issues, these teens took to the streets calling for their right to choose what to eat. They created online communities where they shared information on mad cow disease and denounced the government for allegedly making a hasty deal.

Outstanding among the throng of students was a high school senior with the online ID of “Andante” who led 1.3 million people to sign a petition to impeach President Lee Myung-bak, showing “teen power” and its influence on politics. Police questioned him for articles he wrote on a Web site, but said he would not stop criticizing the government. Internet users tried to change their IDs to Andante to protect him from further police tracing.

Then came Lee Sun-young, a housewife in Atlanta, who became an instant star after she expressed her opinion in MBC TV’s “100 Minute Debate” via phone. In a very logical and calm manner, Lee spoke of advanced meat recovery products and said that not all Americans are happy with the meat they. Internet users assessed her later as a lot better than the panelists in the debate program.

She later called up the organizers of the candlelit vigils and expressed her support. All participants welcomed her logical, sensible yet passionate speech.

It was the Internet that brought people together to the vigils and real action rather than sitting and complaining. Michincow.net, cafe.daum.net/antimb and http://www.daum.net’s Agora page became the busiest Web sites after the vigil.

There, members shared information on the disease, vigil schedules and how they should act, and criticized other government policies. Especially, the Daum portal managed to differentiate its image as progressive, “right,” and “well listening.”

The protest turned hatred into love, in other ways. Prof Chin Jung-gwon of Chung Ang University always walked a very fine line between most loved and most hated. Since last summer when he scorned some Koreans’ blind patriotism over Shim Hyung-rae’s movie “D-War,” it was quite clear that he was the latter.

However, when the critic appeared on a string of television, radio programs or newspaper columns criticizing the government’s beef deal, he became almost a pop star to fans.
During the vigils, Chin broadcast the protest live on the Internet and how the police dealt with participants. He alleged that he was hurt during police “suppression.”

However, where there is light, there is also shadow. There are several who lost popularity.

President Lee lost a lot. He had support of almost 20 percent last month, the lowest ever in history for a president in his “honeymoon period.”

He was widely criticized for saying, “If you don’t like meat, then don’t eat it.” He was then accused of not taking the protests against the beef deal seriously.

Lee apologized later that he hadn’t manage to communicate with the people well enough to tell them the truth about American beef. However, some people denounced that he was weeping crocodile tears.

Commissioner General of the National Police Agency Eo Cheong-soo also earned public “hatred” when he ordered his officers to end the vigils if any “political,” or “aggressive” action was seen.

Recently, MBC News Desk reported that his brother owned a brothel in Busan and netizens are moving to impeach him.

For Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Director Lee Sang-gil, the vigil and whole dispute have been a nightmare. The public booed him when he appeared on “100 Minute Debate” and defended the government. He alleged that there was nothing wrong with U.S. beef and that people should trust the inspection process.

During the protests, protestors called him names and mocked him, calling on him to resign.

However, according to ministry sources, Lee has the reputation of being a nice, gentle, honorable and decent man.

bjs@koreatimes.co.kr

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AP reporter Kelly Olsen writes an ill-informed story about street rallies in Korea.

May 30, 2008

We’re disappointed over a story on street rallies in Korea written by AP reporter Kelly Olsen. (It’s available here.)

Olsen starts by quoting a Korean housewife worrying about the possibility that her children could end up eating beef infected with mad cow disease at a restaurant, and immediately dismisses her worry as based on irrational fear by saying that the Americans “wolf down steaks and hamburgers produced from domestic cows.” This is really very irresponsible, sensational and/or ignorant reporting that pays no attention to several facts well-known to most Koreans.

First, the Korean government recently decided to allow imports of beef of cattle older than 30 months, which are known to have high risks of mad cow disease infection and which American do not “wolf down”. (Note that Japan, another major importer of U.S. beef, limits imports to beef of cattle slaughtered at 20 months and younger.) Olsen writes that “Rumors have circulated that U.S. meat packers plan to dump beef from older cows — considered at higher risk for mad cow — on the South Korean market.” But this is not a rumor. It’s what the new beef import agreement explicitly allows.

Secondly, Koreans have peculiar customs of eating almost all parts of cattle, including the brain, spinal cord, and intestine. World Organization for Animal Health (“OIE”) classify those parts of American and Canadian cattle aged 30 months or older as “Specified Risk Materials” (SRMs). The new Korea-U.S. beef import agreement orders removal of SRMs, but Koreans have good reason to doubt the rigor and safety of U.S. meat processing plants, as CNN recently reported.

Thirdly, The Korean government doesn’t have enough resources to make sure that American beef will not be sold as domestic beef. So it’s certain that some restaurants will do that to increase profit margin.

Given these facts, the Korean housewife’s worry about health risks posed by imports of U.S. beef to her children is fully understandable. If Olsen is so sure of the safety of U.S. beef, let him go eat a Korean-style beef soup made with the spinal cord of American downer cattle.

Another piece of evidence that Olsen did not do his homework before writing his article is his claim that many participants in the street rallies “have been university students, though the rallies have attracted others as well.” Everyone knows here in Korea that daily candlelight vigils were originally begun mostly by middle and high school girls, nicknamed “candlelight girls”. The vigils recently evolved into street rallies led by people in their thirties and forties. It’s only yesterday (May 29) that a large number of university students—about a thousand, still a fraction of the 20,000+ participants—started taking part.

At the end of his article Olsen quotes an editorial of Dong-a Ilbo, a rabid supporter of Lee’s heavily unpopular government. I wonder if Olsen’s ignorance and general incompetence as a reporter was spurred by reading too much of such trash dailies as Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, and Dong-a Ilbo (collectively known here as Cho-Joong-Dong). I’d recommend Olsen to read real newspapers like Kyunghyang and Hankyoreh if he wants to be informed of opinions of Korean people.

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“Rain tears are falling”

May 29, 2008

A liberal Korean daily newspaper, HanKyoReh, published today a moving letter by a school girl named Han Chae-min. Here’s my translation followed by the original):

Letter from a Candlelight Girl, Han Chae-min, “Rain tears are falling”

I am a Candlelight Girl, Han Chae-min. I first attended candlelight vigil on May 3, and today was my 14th time. It rained today. Rain tears are also falling in my heart. A lot of big sisters, big brothers and other adults who cried, laughed and sang with me and us Candlelight Girls were arrested today. We Candlelight Girls express deep gratitude and greetings of love to the men and women who sacrificed themselves to protect us despite the fact that we started vigil. Those who were forcibly arrested should be returned to their places. We hold candlelights, but carry nothing else. We hold candlelights, but we are peace. (…) We promise the people who are now going through tough times in police stations: We’ll be with you till the end, we’ll be with you till you return to your beloved ones.

촛불소녀 한채민의 편지 “눈물 비가 내립니다”

저는 촛불소녀 한채민입니다. 5월 3일 처음 이곳에 나와 오늘까지 14번째 참석했습니다. 오늘 비가 내렸습니다. 제 마음에도 눈물비가 내립니다. 저와 함께, 저희 촛불소녀들과 함께 이 곳에서 울고 웃고 노래하던 언니,오빠,어른들이 많이 연행되었습니다. 저희 촛불 소녀들이 처음 시작했지만, 지금은 저희를 지켜주기 위해 희생하시는 어른들게 진심 어린 감사와 사랑의 인사를 드립니다. 강제연행된 분들은 제자리로 돌아와야 합니다. 우리는 촛불 하나만 들었을 뿐, 맨몸입니다. 우리는 촛불 하나만 들었을 뿐, 평화입니다. (중략) 지금 경찰서에서 힘든 시간을 보내고 계시는 분들께 촛불의 마음으로 약속 드립니다. 우리가 끝까지 함께 할 것입니다. 사랑하는 사람들 곁으로 돌아오실 때까지 함께 하겠습니다.

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“I know what you did in 1980”

May 28, 2008

A controversy broke out today as the (mostly liberal) users of a well-known Korean public discussion forum, Agora, found out that it seemed that a member of the ruling Grand National Party, namely Shim Jae-chul, was the author of numerous tasteless posts and replies mocking liberal voices of the forum.

The sad thing is, Shim is a classic Judas Iscariot. He was a leader of political rallies in spring 1980, and got convicted of a conspiracy against the state along with Kim Dae-jung, the alleged leader of the conspiracy, and many other political dissidents and student movement leaders. While Kim and all others denied charges at the court and claimed that they were tortured to confess to the conspiracy, Shim solely testified against them and admitted all the charges… And then he became an avid conservative pol.

Here’s a short memoir of Shim written by Choi Min-hee, a well-known journalism activist, just in case you can read Korean.

**** 80년, 심재철의원이 한일을 알고 있다!
[주장] 모든 피고인들이 ‘내란음모’ 사실을 부인할때 그는…

살다보면 지워버리고 싶은 기억들이 있다. 그런데 묘한 것이 지워버리고 싶은 기억들은 절대로 지워지지 않는다는 것이다. 지우려고 하면 할수록 내면 깊은 곳에 꼭꼭 숨어 똬리를 틀고 있다가 결정적인 순간에 고개를 치켜드는 것이 그런 종류의 ‘아픈 기억’들이다.

70 년대, 80년대 군부권위주의 정권 치하의 암울한 시대에 민주주의라든가 통일이라든가 혹은 가난한 이웃들과 더불어 사는 삶을 꿈꾸었던 사람들, 치열한 역사의 부딪힘을 피하지 않았던 사람들에게는 치기 어린 자부심과 더불어 어두운 기억이 있다.

아마도 그 기억은 크게 두 갈래로 갈라질 것이다.

하나는 군부권위주의 정권의 폭압기구에 의해 당한 육체적 정신적 폭력에 대한 기억이다. 당시 학내시위를 주동하거나 노동현장에서 일하다 체포된 사람들은 갖가지 육체적, 정신적 고통을 당했다.

특별히 성고문이나 전기고문 물고문 등 추악한 고문을 당한 사람들 중에는 아직도 정신과 치료를 받는 사람들이 있을 정도로 고통의 흔적은 잔혹했다.

그러나 권위주의 정권이 자행한 육체적 정신적 폭력은 때로 한 사람의 민주투사를 키워내는 과정이 되기도 했다. 파도가 높으면 그 파도를 넘어서려는 욕망 또한 강해지는 것이 세상사의 이치가 아니던가.

깊은 상처를 준 것은 두 번째 갈래의 고통이었는데 그것은 함께 일하던 동료에 대한 아픈 기억들이다. 동료에 대한 아픈 기억도 여러 가지다.

권 위주의 정권에 저항하는 과정에서 부상당하거나 희생당한 동료 및 선배들에 대한 기억은 죽을 때까지 가슴에 묻고 갈 얼굴들과 함께 가슴 깊숙한 곳에 묻혀 있다. 너무 아프지만 사람의 마음을 정화시키고 승화시키는 아름다운 고통으로 작용하기도 하는 기억이다.

떠 올리고 싶지 않은 기억 – 부끄러움과 추악함 같은 단어로 묶여 있는 기억들이 있다. 동료의 배신이라는 문구로는 설명하기 힘든 여러 상황들이 녹아 있는 기억들을 떠올리는 것은 곤혹스럽기까지 하다. 그리고 80년 전두환 군부정권 집권에 반대해 일어섰던 우리들에게 다음 장면에 대한 기록은 아픈 기억의 절정으로 남아 있다.

1980년 김대중내란음모사건 공판이 진행되던 육군본부 법정에서 피고들 대부분은 자신들의 자백을 부인했다. “안기부 지하실에서 70여일 수사를 받았다. 김대중씨로부터 지시를 받아 내란을 기도했다고 인정하라는 것이다. 내가 혐의 사실을 인정하면 김대중씨의 목숨이 날아갈 가능성이 아주 높다는 것을 알고 있으면서도 ‘사실’을 인정할 수밖에 없을 만큼 참혹한 고문을 당했다”며 수사과정에서의 진술을 뒤집었다.

김대중 전 대통령을 우두머리로 문익환, 송건호, 한완상, 이문영, 고은 등등 재야 민주인사 다수와 조성우, 송기원, 이해찬, 심재철 등등이 연루된 이 사건은 신군부에 의해 조작된 ‘내란음모사건’이었다.

김대중 이하 피고인들이 차례로 취조과정의 폭행과 고문 사실을 폭로하며 ‘내란음모’ 사실을 부인하자 신군부의 법정은 곤혹스러운 처지에 빠지게 되었다.

그 때 신군부 법정을 곤혹스러움에서 구해준 사람이 있었다. 그는 김대중씨로부터 이해찬을 거쳐 돈을 받았던 혐의를 비롯, ‘내란음모’에 관한 대부분의 공소사실을 인정했다. 그의 진술로 ‘김대중 내란음모사건’은 ‘사실’이 되었고 관련자 대부분이 사형 이하 중형을 선고받았다.

그가 진술하는 도중 법정은 시끄러웠다. 그의 공소사실 인정이 가져올 엄청난 결과에 생각이 미치자 방청하고 있던 가족들은 숨이 막힐 지경이었다고 한다.

“너 미쳤어? 너 왜 그래?”라며 울부짖던 이는 이해찬 총리였다고 한다. 조성우씨도 그의 허위진술에 대해 포효했다. 그러나 김대중 전 대통령만은 “심 동지, 고생 많았지?”하며 그를 위로했다는 전언이다.

당시 내란음모사건 공판에는 피고인 1명당 가족 2명과 풀제 취재진으로 내외신기자 2명을 제외하고는 누구도 들어가지 못했다. 피고인 가족들의 ‘쪽지 통신’으로 위 사실이 알려지면서 많은 사람들은 분노 이전에 서글픔을 느꼈다.

이 일로 피고인의 가족에게 당시 상황을 물어 보았는데, 아래와 같이 짤막한 말만 하고 더 이상 얘기를 하려 하지 않았다.

” 당시 오전 9시부터 12시까지 오전 공판이 있고 나서 12시부터 점심시간이었는데, 심재철 학생 가족은 우리랑 같이 식사를 하지 않았어요. 그의 진술을 듣고 가족이 어떻게 우리랑 같이 식사를 할 수 있었겠어요? 우리도 굳이 권하지 않았지요.”

김대중 전 대통령과 같은 마음이었을까? 출소한 뒤 출소한 뒤 그가 잠시 식당일에 관여했을 때 ‘감옥 동기’들이 매상을 올려주러 간다는 소식이 간간이 들려왔다. 배기선 의원도 그 중 한 명이었다고 들었다.

학 내시위 주동만 해도 ‘신세’를 망치던 시절에 그는 영어교사로 취직했다가 문화방송 기자로 취업하는 불가해한 ‘수완’을 발휘해 주변을 놀래켰다. 그가 민주당에 입당하고 싶어했다가 거절당했다는 소식이 풍문으로 돌아다녔다. 그리고 얼마 후 그는 신한국당 대변인이 되었다.

“이철우 의원이 간첩으로 암약하고 있다”는 시대착오적 발언을 한 ‘주성영 의원 파동’ 정국에서 그가 “이념적으로 문제 있는 사람들이 민주투사로 위장하고 있다”는 요지의 발언을 해 물의를 빚고 있다. 열린우리당 김현미 의원은 그에게 “가련한 가롯 유다”라고 직격탄을 날렸다.

25년 친구 유기홍 의원도 가세했다. 아마도 심재철 의원은 그 자신이(피고였지만) 검찰을 구해주었다는 ‘사실’을 듣고 심 의원을 검찰측 증인으로 나섰다고 말한 김현미 의원, 그리고 유기홍 의원에 대해 법정소송을 벌이겠다고 공언한 모양이다.

망각이라는 단어가 있다. 사람들은 지나간 일들을 곧잘 잊어버린다. 어쩌면 심채철 의원은 ‘망각’에 기대어 ‘정치적 성과’를 얻고 싶은지도 모르겠다. 그러나 ‘망각의 마술’로도 잊혀지게 할 수 없는 기억들이 있다.

80년 5월투쟁 과정에서 서울대 총학생회장으로 투쟁의 중심에 섰던 그를 우리는 잊을 수가 없다. 80년 김대중내란음모사건 공판에서 심 의원이 했던 일들을 우리는 기억하고 있다.

구 여권 국회의원이 된 후 심 의원이 했던 ‘과잉충성행위와 발언’들을 우리는 기억하고 있다. 그리고 주성영 의원의 ‘간첩 암약 발언 논란’을 앞에 두고 그가 하고 있는 행위와 말들 또한 우리는 잊지 않고 기억할 것이다.

최민희 총장

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Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) expresses worry over the South Korean government’s massive arrest of protesters.

May 27, 2008

Many protesters have been arrested since last Saturday, May 24. Some of them were physically abused by the police. Over a hundred protesters—112, to be exact—were arrested last night alone (many of them voluntarily submitted themselves to arrest as a way of protesting against the police’s use of violence during arrest).

Below is a statement issued by AHRC. (The original statement by AHRC can be found here.)

SOUTH KOREA: Massive arrest of protesters is imminent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-146-2008
May 26, 2008

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

SOUTH KOREA: Massive arrest of protesters is imminent

Since the government of South Korea agreed with the United States of America to import beef on April 17, the people of the South Korea have expressed their deep concerns about the agreement due to the reports of bovine spongiform encephalitis (mad cow disease) having been found in the U.S. The failure of both governments to give reassurances on the condition of the beef has done nothing to assuage the people’s fears. Mad cow disease is a deadly disease for which there is no known cure. It may lay dormant in the infected person for years before symptoms are revealed or felt.

In the hope that the government will accept the people’s demands, tens of thousands of people, composing of family members including school students, have voluntarily come before the Cheonggyechoen (Cheonggye stream), Seoul, in a candlelight vigil, asking the government to renegotiate the agreement and stop importing beef from the U.S. until the people of South Korea are assured that it is free of the disease. The people have held candlelight vigils, not only in the capital Seoul, but also in major cities across the country for the last 17 days.

Students from middle schools and high schools have been reportedly prohibited from taking part in the vigils and several teachers were dispatched in order to identify their students wearing school uniform. It is also reported that school principals have publicly announced suspensions of students and announced the prohibition of other students from taking part. The students submitted a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea regarding the restriction of freedom of expression and assembly.

Due to pressure from the people, including students, the government has postponed the public announcement, which will be effective immediately once it is made. However, it is reported that it will be announced either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, (May 27 or 28). Being frustrated, some of protesters started to march on the street, which is illegal under the domestic law called the Act on Assembly and Protest after the candle light vigil on May 24. In response the riot police used their police shields to attack the peaceful marchers at 4am, May 25. It is reported that at about 68 protesters have so far been arrested and several were injured at the time. It is also reported that in Cheonbuk province, Mr. Lee Byung-Ryeol set fire to himself, shouting against the agreement on May 25 and his condition is currently serious. In the meantime, the Minister of Justice Mr. Kim Kyung-han has already proclaimed that the police will arrest protesters at any future demonstration.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government of the South Korea to release the arrestees without condition and guarantee the right of peaceful assembly of the people which is enshrined in the Korean Constitution as well as International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the South Korea is a state party. It also urges that the government must ensure the safety and freedom of the people who take part in the candlelight vigil that is to be held tonight and in the future, and that it must guarantee the right of peaceful assembly in such a way as to protect protesters. Finally the AHRC calls upon the government to amend the Act on Assembly and Protest in compliance with the Constitution as well as international standards.

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Posted on 2008-05-26

According to the Korean Act on Assembly and Protest, not only marching peacefully on the roads but also shouting slogans on the streets are illegal. This clearly violates the International Covenant mentioned above and the spirit of the Korean Constitution, as AHRC says.

What a shame that our government is condemned as violating the most basic civil rights.

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Why Koreans are protesting

May 26, 2008

Korean people, including school children and mothers with their small infants on their backs, have been holding candlelight vigils almost daily since the government’s controversial decision to resume importing American beef. However, from the 24th of May, the candlelight vigils are turning into massive street protests. Some people—many westerners, indeed—might wonder what all the fuss is about. A Korean netizen called “Jin” wrote a clear and concise answer to that question. The original comment can be found here.

South Koreans’ protest against the government: it’s much more than just about the American beef import

I am not sure if you’ve already heard that the Korean government is going to begin to import! beef – of cattle older than 30 months, which is known to have considerable potential of ‘mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)’ – from the United States within a month. Recently, as you might already know, there has been the largest, in history, beef recall in the U.S.The video footage released by Humane Society demonstrates how inappropriately the cattle are raised in the U.S, not to mention how dangerous it is, therefore, to eat the beef from those cows when the inspection system obviously falls short of ‘adequate’ in the U.S. I hear American people are increasingly concerned about this issue these days, as well.

As usual, the deal was quickly made behind the door, and when we, Korean people, found out what the president, who entered the office only about 3 months ago, has done, we were outraged. Not surprisingly, the core issues regarding the beef import! and, more import!antly, danger of mad cow disease are hardly mentioned by the media. It seems like the Korean government is repeating the same message – that, it’s OK – as the British government did before the mad cow disease began to terrify the whole country, resulting in 163 victims since the mid 80s’.

There have been a number of mass candlelight protests across the country against the deal with the U.S. The government is not only preventing media from paying attention to our voice but also calling on the police to keep an eye on the public movements, even threatening that those who participate in the protests will face ‘legal consequences.’ “Commies,” the leftist are leading the crowd, according to the government, and they argue there is a political demagogue behind the public dissent. It seems only logical to conclude that we need to take harder action against the government, because there are just way too many problems with them for us to fight against. And naturally, the public backlash is only escalating.

Even more urgent, genetically modified corns were already shipped to this country and are reportedly going on sale from next month, here in Korea. I recently learned the GMO was even rejected by African countries when it was offered as aid.

This incredibly overt neoliberal president Myung-bak Lee (shortly called MB) , former CEO, and his administration are doing everything they can to turn this country into hyper-capitalist state in such a short amount of time.

They are planning to:
1. privatize the health care system – going for “the American style.” Unbelievable.
2. privatize the water/electricity/gas supply, postal service, .
3. privatize other state-owned enterprises including the Seoul Metro, public bank(the Korea Development Bank) and other institutions in which public funds are invested.
Daewoo Ship-building & Marine Engineering – which produces submarines, destroyers, battle ships, submarine rescue vessels, AUV,
and other specialty vessels – is one of them; and it is going to be sold via Goldman Sachs Korea – in which the president’s nephew has
been lately hired as the chairman – to a private corporation or, possibly, to “China.” Obviously, this is going to be an enormous threat
to national security.
4. make a huge canal across the country – which, even before the last presidential election, was highly controversial and severely
criticized by intellectuals, environmentalists and the public, etc, for its environmental and even economic risks.
5. erase the “Japanese colony era” from textbooks, claiming we must forgive them and get over the past. As you might know, there still are a number of issues left unsolved about the historical tragedy, such as the ‘comfort women’ issue. The president was born in Osaka, Japan.

All these news came out within 3 months.

Words fail me.

In the recent visit to the U.S., the president said, in front of the audience consisting of the government officials and businesspeople, that he is “a business-friendly person, and (even though some people criticize him for being too business-friendly) wants to be more business-friendly,” and, even more outrageously, that ‘he’s the CEO of Korea. Inc.” The applause, to me, resonated as the beginning of disaster. The upcoming negotiation on FTA with the U.S. is going to enslave ‘Korea. Inc’ and the citizens to the hands of multi-national corporations.

Our hard-earned democracy is in danger.

The whole country is at stake.