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[Editorial] Volunteerism Should Serve as Energy for Unity

[Editorial] Volunteerism Should Serve as Energy for Unity

Posted December. 24, 2007 06:27,   


As of December 23, 2007, the 17th day after the worst oil spill in the nation’s history, the number of volunteers who has gone to Taean, South Chungcheong Province surpassed more than 300,000. As residents and volunteers joined their efforts to clean up the massive oil leak that covered the 160 km of the shoreline, the devastated west beach began to show clear signs of recovery. No wonder foreign experts acclaimed the cleanup effort as a show of “miraculous solidarity.”

It would be rare to see so many people joining the ranks of volunteers in such a short span of time in any nation’s history. They came from all walks of life and were different in their political views. But they united to help the residents in the damaged areas and restore the affected nature. All of them committed themselves to the clean up efforts, rubbing oil-soaked pebbles and trying to save living creatures dying from the toxic contamination.

The scene from Taean reminds us of the gold-collecting campaign when the nation was hit by the financial crisis in 1997. Our nations’ united spirit amidst a national disaster surprised the whole world. Some say that the younger generation places more weight on individualism before communal values. However, this catastrophe clearly demonstrated that is not the case.

The nation has witnessed a series of national misfortunes, such as wildfires in Gangneung and Yangyang in 2000, Typhoon Lusa in 2002, and Typhoon Maemi in 2003, which claimed untold numbers of human lives and property losses. During those disasters, the entire nation worked together and was willing to offer their aid. These miraculous examples of volunteerism provided invaluable aid for those who were affected by the calamities.

The waves of volunteers coming to the shore of Taean demonstrate that we can make miracles come true if we are united. Gone are the presidential election campaigns during which political factions fought with one another. Now is the time for us to rid ourselves of our old discord and dissension and usher in a new year with new hope. The next year will see the launch of a new administration. We should unite under the nation’s task of advancing Korea regardless of our previous political inclinations.

The new political leader should make it his top priority to create a driving engine of the nation from the miracle shown by the volunteers in Taean.