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[Opinion] "Please Don`t Hit"

Posted November. 26, 2003 23:13,   


Every parent loves their child, even mere animals such as hedgehogs, whether their offspring is just an infant or already an adult. A mother`s heart is broken if her child comes back home with even a tiny scar on her “good-looking” child`s face. While scolding them by saying, "You should have been more careful!,” the mother is quick to apply an ointment to her child’s face, fearing a permanent scar, and preparing something for the child to eat in order to soothe him/her. How would you feel if your child was beaten by riot police without doing anything wrong? What if he gets several stitches in the face after being severely beaten? What if he is not able to eat anything because of broken teeth? A devastated mom would probably rush to the scene looking for her son with a pot of hot soup, crying that this can`t be happening to her precious child.

A number of parents have been broken-hearted after reading a letter posted on an internet site by a surgeon at a police hospital. "Please don`t beat riot police in the face" was the title of the letter posted on the homepage of "Buan Resident`s Committee for Countermeasures to Scrap the Government`s Project of Building Nuclear Waste Site in Buan." Many mothers whose sons are serving in the army were choked while having breakfast and were no longer able to continue eating. Response from netizens varied with some arguing it is the Buan residents who were more severely hurt. Some say innocent farmers and riot policemen are being injured instead of politicians. However, what is obvious is that most of those who were wounded by militant demonstrators are young men similar in age to the sons and grandsons of the demonstrators themselves, as the surgeon, the writer of the letter, noted. It is not the face of our sons the demonstrators hit with iron pipes in the face but that of the law and order of this country.

It is not to say that we don`t understand why Buan residents oppose the government’s plan to build a nuclear waste site in their backyard. When tension during a demonstration escalates, people tend to be more violent and fueled by anger and hostility. A desire to destroy everything is the very nature of crowd psychology. Buan demonstrators might see these twenty-something riot policemen in front of them, armed with shields, as strong public power which should be removed, although there is absolutely no reason to use force if both sides drops their iron pipes and shields.

Violence begets more violence. It does not matter who uses force first and who wields more violent power. Each side is likely to believe that they are the victims. Aggressive behavior triggered by hate and vengeance of violence is the inherent human nature to protect themselves. In order to stop this vicious cycle of “something for something” attitude, we have devised a great system of law and principle. Public consensus was already formed which agreed that violence is in nobody`s interest. Let us put down the iron pipes and shields first before engaging in demonstrations. Then we should look at the face of those confronting us and think. Are they really the enemies we have to attack and be attacked from? Please don`t hit any more.