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[Opinion] Blackmail

Posted June. 20, 2005 03:01,   


Attorney Lee Seok-yeon has been receiving terror threats because of his filing with the Constitutional Court on the Special Law on Administrative City, a substitute for the Special Law on New Administrative City Construction. There should never be such things as terrorist attacks if our country is to become an advanced democracy based on the rule of law.

Historically, terror attacks have been initiated unilaterally against dissidents by rogue states, or bilaterally between groups whose political thoughts and interests differ. Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union, and autocracies of Africa or Middle and South Americas are examples of some countries that initiated unilateral attacks, while the Middle East and Northern Ireland represent bilateral attacks. In all these cases, both aggressors and victims were consumed in flames of endless hatred and vengeance. The inhumane violence they engaged in destroyed life and dreams, spreading horror. There could be no economic development in such countries and its societies slowly walked a path to perdition.

Fortunately, after the clashes between the left and right in Korea shortly after the liberation of our country and the military authoritarian rule that followed, the threat of terrorist attacks has disappeared. It even seemed odd that no acts of destruction took place during the countless militant rallies. We have not witnessed physical acts of terrorism, although verbal acts equivalent to extreme terrorism are rampant online. In recent years, there have been some extreme left or right wing celebrities who were hated by many, but they never fell victim to terrorist attacks. This track record leads me to the conclusion that the people of Korea are good at heart.

I sincerely hope that the death threat Lee received turns out to be only verbal. His legal practices are legitimate and are based on the constitution. He represents the opinion of many. His critics can respond by taking legal steps to express their opposition. Law enforcement authorities have an obligation to identify and punish threats against legal activities no matter what, because a country without the freedom of political thought, press, and action may well be dead when terrorist attacks spark other terrorist attacks.

Na Sung-lin, Guest Editorial Writer, Professor of Economics at Hanyang University, hwalin@hanyang.ac.kr