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Today, Han-yeol Reincarnates

Posted June. 09, 2007 08:17,   


On the Streets… Outcries of 20 Years Ago-

The Korea Democracy Foundation plans to hold a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Lee Han-yeol at 4:00 p.m. on June 9 at Seoul Plaza, where the funeral for Lee Han-yeol was held two decades ago. The Seoul Plaza was also the place protests against dictatorship were frequently held during the grand June Struggle. The commemoration ceremony will be followed by the “Civic Festival for Democracy.”

“Shouting for struggles” two decades ago will change to “shouting for joy.” An exhibition of photographs that provides a glimpse of Korea’s modern history and a hip-hop performance by college students are also scheduled.

Lee Ae-ju, a physical education professor at Seoul National University, is going to stage her dance performance at the Plaza two decades after she performed a dance aimed at appeasing grudges at his funeral, which moved citizens to tears.

On the morning of the same day, the YMCA Korea will start “the National March to Join the Nation into One” in 12 cities nationwide including Seoul, Daejeon, Daegu, and Gwangju with an objective to “unite the nation as was done in June 20 years ago.” As of June 8, some 5,000 citizens applied for the event, and “democracy festivals” joined by citizens will be held in 12 cities following the event.

On June 10, when the June Struggle took place, about 100 civic groups including the Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea and the Korea’s Progress Solidarity will gather at Seoul Plaza and begin a nationwide march to mark the 20th anniversary of the June struggle for democracy.

“We expect that 20,000 to 50,000 people will gather together since this year marks the 20th anniversary of the June struggle for democracy,” said a police official.

Within Universities, President Writes Letter Honoring Those who Sacrificed their Lives for the Country-

In the meantime, at Seoul National University, there are ongoing events that honor Park Jong-cheol, whose death triggered the June Struggle. Unlike the past, the university itself is actively engaging itself in the events.

SNU is busy carrying out its commemoration event for Park Jong-cheol who was tortured to death in January 1987. It held an opening ceremony of its own “democracy foundation,” where the university’s student council joined the ceremony.

The linguistics department of the university and the “Park Jong-cheol Remembering Committee” proposed to the university to establish a “Park Jong-cheol Palza” on the open space in front of the department office and to prepare a “Park Jong-cheol classroom” or library.

At Yonsei University, not only its students but also the president of the university and officials at its institutions are joining the wave of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Lee Han-yeol’s death. On the day that ended the first semester of the year, President Jeong Chang-yeong sent students an e-mail in which mentioning of him occupied half of the content. Such an action is unprecedented in that it is the first time for the president of the university himself to send students a letter in remembrance of him.

His letter reads, “The people who grieved over his death turned their sadness towards a struggle for democracy, bringing democracy to the nation. The seed of his sacrifice blossomed into a democracy movement that ultimately ended authoritarianism.” He also wrote, “We should devote ourselves to the community. That is the way to remember him who passed away at his tender age two decades ago.”

Yonsei University also chose him as “the person of June,” and posted his picture and profile on the cyber lecture homepage where some 1,000 lectures are viewed. Students established a project team for the commemoration and held the ceremony on June 8 from noon until 11:00 p.m.