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Roh’s Views on NSL Abolition Spark “Ideological Civil War”

Roh’s Views on NSL Abolition Spark “Ideological Civil War”

Posted September. 07, 2004 21:54,   


Since President Roh Moo-hyun expressed his opinion favoring the abolition of the National Security Law, there has been a burst of behaviors that appear to conform to it.

A suspect in the violation of the National Security Law refused to stand trial on Monday, while former junior high and middle school teachers, who are members of the “Senior Teachers Meeting,” held a press conference yesterday to confess that they failed to refuse giving anti-communist education while teaching in the past.

On the homepage of the National Citizens Solidarity, which consists of about 30 organizations including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, “A Series of Legends on Kim Il-sung’s Family” was posted on Monday and is being spread rapidly on the Internet.

Responding to such phenomena, conservative organizations are raising their voices in opposition, making us wonder if our entire society is becoming involved in an ideological civil war.

Sixteen local offices of the Korea Freedom League (KFL) posted placards nationwide yesterday saying, “The Republic of Korea needs the National Security Law.”

Five conservative organizations, including the KFL, the Veterans Group, and the Society of People Whose Hometowns are in North Korea, also plan to hold a press conference to “declare a national emergency situation under the name of the committee to save our nation” tomorrow, as well as to announce their strong countermeasures on issues such as the National Security Law abolition and renewing investigations into pro-Japanese activities.

In addition to these, disputes among netizens regarding the National Security Law have been intensifying, and our society in general has been experiencing ideological disruptions.

Ryu Seok-choon, a Sociology professor at Yonsei University, said, “An era of ideological conflicts similar to those of the post-liberation (from Japanese occupation) era has continued since this government took office.” Heo Young, a Law professor at Myongji University, expressed his concerns, saying, “It is not predictable what will happen if the majority who have been silent rise in revolt.”

Shim Ji-yeon, a Politics professor at Kyongname University, analyzed, “We are now confronting against each other for the protection of the structure of our nation, while we were confronting in the struggle for superiority between leftist and rightist systems after Korea’s liberation.”

Park Hyo-jong, the joint representative of the “Citizens Group for an Honest Society” and a professor at Seoul National University, said, “As government power approaches these issues by ideology and society reacts to this, we are getting into an ever-intensifying ideology war.”

Kim Ki-jeong, a Diplomatic Politics professor at Yonsei University, pointed out, “In the current social atmosphere of Korea, in which people still have fears of leftist elements, if the political powers use the abolition of the National Security Law as just a tool for their political fight, Korea will have to return to the Cold War era right after liberation.”

However, Lee Tae-ho, the planning board chief at People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, analyzed the situation differently, saying, “Compared with the 60-year long post liberation period of Korean society that has punished people because of their ideologies, the current situation can be viewed instead as the confusion we have to go through to resolve these issues of ideology.”

Jae-Dong Yu Ji-Won Jun jarrett@donga.com podragon@donga.com