Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Forgetting history without thorough investigation is another form of evil

Lessons from Kwangju, South Korea

Yung Suk Kim

In America today, there are so many forms of injustices, racism, classism, sexism, white nationalism or supremacism, and other isms. We must call them by name and investigate them thoroughly and remove them as soon as possible. History will repeat itself unless we act upon to change it.

Because of the outbreaks of violence, racism, and hatred by white supremacists in Charlottesville and elsewhere, I remember watching the violent video showing deadly cruel attacks on innocent young protesters at Kwangju, South Korea, in 1980, who were against the military Coup whose leader was Chun Doo-hwan. I was a college student at that time in another region and saw the actual graphic video on campus with other students. I was also actively participating in anti-government protests in and outside the campus. I was terrified and stunned to see that video. How is it possible to batter and kill young students on the streets at the protest?

In fact, a few weeks ago, a movie called Taxi Driver, which deals with this Kwangju event, was started to play and is being watched by millions of Koreans now. Chun was tried and imprisoned after the democratic government was established in the early 1990s. But he was too easily and fast pardoned by the civilian government. That was too bad. Forgetting history without thorough investigation and justice is another form of evil.

Now Kwangju became a holy site and symbol of Korean democracy. But many people were killed and injured and still many people suffer from it. I want to put below some old pictures that show such horrible scenes of violence and death. Actually, for years these pictures were kept on my hard drive. Justice shouts. No justice, no peace.

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