Go to contents

Candlelight Protest Preposterously Led by Adults

Posted May. 08, 2005 23:58,   


“I received a text message saying, “more than 2,000 students gathered near Gwanghwamun” at around 6:30 p.m. on May 7. The sender’s number was “1234,” so I thought someone had systematically text messaged me.”

Controversy is arousing over the situation in which a protest against “grades being factored into university admissions” that started from an internet community that was opened by high school freshmen was led by adults rather than students.

In fact, a candlelight protest was led by “Youth Solidarity for Hope in the 21st Century,” not by a host of the internet community, and progressive groups, including “students’ meeting for antihakbul (opposition against academic clique)”; “together youth”; and the conservative group “solidarity of free youth,” took part in the demonstration as well.

In addition, an outside force not made up of students assumed the leadership of the candlelight protest, which drew suspicion and complaints from students.

A student of Mapo High School, Seoul, Kim (16) said that he and other students didn’t want to have a protest in which adults stepped up to a podium and used some abusive languages.

Another female student, Park (16), noted, “A volunteer of the sponsor for protest touted me from the subway station to go to a gathering place, so I was half forcibly taken to the place,” and added that she didn’t assent to the sayings of adults on a podium.

A leaflet, which was distributed on that day, contained conspicuous criticism of a specific political party and a press agency that didn’t seem to be a high school student’s.

Also, the comments posted on the internet community against “grades being factored into university admissions” caused yet another stir, for they carry the assertion by a certain educational organization that they are one-sided.

“May 18 is a day when Korea’s typical civic movement, the Gwangju Democratic Uprising, had in earnest started. Education is not an industry, and a student is not a machine. If education policy ranks students….”

Kim (15), who is running an internet community and is nicknamed “Iris,” said that someone emailed her saying the above mentioned content and requested that she change the first page of her internet community homepage to the above sentences, and that although she posted the above mentioned sentences after getting an email telling her not to reply to the reporting request of the three major daily newspapers such as Dong-a Ilbo, from the person, she erased the sentences as she thought they were problematic.

Na-Yeon Lee larosa@donga.com