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[Editorial] Professor Breaks Silence Against Roh Administration

[Editorial] Professor Breaks Silence Against Roh Administration

Posted November. 07, 2005 07:23,   


Seoul National University (SNU) professor emeritus Ahn Byeong-jik described the Roh administration as a “gang administration.”

What An was referring to was the Roh administration’s inability to do what it is supposed to do, not only in state affairs, but also in international politics. Ahn also pointed out that the administration is unlikely to recover because of its failure to be self-critical.

An old scholar’s voice saying that all the public can do is pray for not-so-disastrous events to happen is distressing.

Ahn abandoned socialistic theory in the early 1980s, but was a representative left-wing economic historian who laid the theoretical foundation for the pro-democracy movement and labor movement in 1970s. The force behind democratization and the center of the Roh administration include followers of Ahn’s theory.

Ahn has stayed calm because he knows the people who are participating in the administration. So why did Ahn break his silence now, saying that “he no longer can stand by and watch the Roh administration destroy the nation?”

Ahn scolded the Roh administration, saying, “It is deceptive that the government talks of only distribution.”

Regarding Ahn’s comment, Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party rebuked Ahn by labeling his saying as “old dualistic thinking,” “malicious intrigue,” and “shallow theory.” After these responses, I feel more sympathy toward Ahn’s belief that the Roh administration is second-class, incapable of introspection, and a third-rate group. This is because those responsible for the current government never pay attention to criticism from seniors who express the public’s opinion.

In a survey conducted by Dong-A Ilbo last weekend, six out of 10 people in Korea said that President Roh Moo-hyun is not doing well in state affairs. The approval rating for the Uri Party is 20.6 percent, half that of the Grand National Party. Even when the numbers are clear, why are Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party insisting that Ahn’s criticisms are part of a malicious plot?

The Roh administration’s ideological prejudices and misleading of the public is nothing new. People have expressed concerns that Korea has dropped its democracy and market principles while following the slogan: “only with same nation” for a long time now. Former U.S. ambassador to Korea James Lilley who recently came to Seoul noted, “Korea should open its eyes wide and see what neighboring countries are doing. The U.S. can’t worry about Korean security more than the Korean public.”

The Korean government shouldn’t cheat the public by telling it it can solve a problem that it really can’t. A decreasing number of people will believe the government’s sophism that passes its failures on to the press and public. The Korean public that has to live with the “gang administration” feels really tired.