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[Editorial] Roh’s Silence is Thunderous

Posted November. 24, 2006 06:50,   


“You are not demonstrators, you are a mob”; “Is destroying public facilities something that Korean Alliance should do?”; “They pretended to be innocent during the rally in the U.S., but they turned into violent rioters in Korea.” These are some of the phrases that angry people have posted on the website of the “Korean Alliance against the Korea-U.S. FTA,” which led nationwide rallies on November 22.

On that day, about 70,000 demonstrators fully armed with square wooden sticks, iron batons and torchlight attacked and set fire to provincial offices and the municipal building. These scenes make us wonder whether the rule of law and a government exist. The Korean Alliance explained that the rally was “an uprising by the masses who strive to protect their rights to live,” but what would they call those whose lives were infringed upon due to the rallies? The anti FTA rallies, which try to dwell on globalization and trade issues, ignore the rights of merchants and taxi drivers and are a form of extreme collective selfishness.

Can we classify key members who planned this rally as pure workers or farmers? Many people who participated in this rally used violence against unarmed soldiers at the rally against the U.S. military base expansion in Pyeongtaek. What is their ultimate goal after plunging the whole nation into an anti-U.S. and anti globalization frenzy?

The government’s unwillingness to take a strong attitude against the illicit demonstrators, causing the violence has aroused indignation among the people. “What is the government doing? Is there something that government does properly? It is my lasting regret to have voted for a government similar to that of the demonstrators.” There are mixed feelings of resentment and regrets among the people. Despite numerous injuries to police, the government held the police responsible for accidents which happened while suppressing the rally and accepted the resignation of Commissioner General Huh Jun-young. Former Commissioner Huh stated once that he could not inflict a severe punishment on demonstrators since the leaders of the rally had a direct connection with Cheong Wa Dae.

Mothers, who are agonized about their sons who try to subdue the violence, wander about, urging on demonstrators peaceful rallies. All the same, the Korean Alliance seems unsatisfied with the rally on November 22 and is planning further rallies on November 29 and December 6. Commissioner General Lee Taek-soon promised to review ways to ban rallies led by the Korean Alliance. However, there is no certain way to stop them once they herd together.

We cannot understand why President Roh, who used to criticize every state affair and every trivial newspaper criticism, is suddenly so silent regarding the rally held on November 22. People would like to know the president’s opinion.