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[Opinion] Candlelight Vigil Zombies

Posted August. 05, 2008 04:03,   


A 23-year-old college student “Kim” raised 19 million won (19,000 U.S. dollars) online from his fellow netizens for placing newspaper ads, after lying on the Internet that a co-ed died in a candlelight protest. The student spent five million won of that money at a nightclub, bar and massage parlor. When elected student president of his university’s department, Kim took a temporary leave to become a full-time student activist. He is now charged with wounding a police officer who questioned Kim in an anti-free trade protest in November last year. Police also confirmed that 160 documents on propagating the North Korean “juche (self-reliance)” ideology were stored in Kim’s home computer. Obviously, Kim is unaware that the juche ideology is upheld by an authoritarian father who handed power to his son. This son has constantly threatened the world with nuclear weapons to unabashedly seek economic aid while ignoring the severe hunger of his own people.

The student is just one in a long list of people making a mockery of themselves in candlelight protests. A 30-something public worker joined a women’s Web site using a female nickname to urge his “sisters” to protest U.S. beef imports. A 40-something college instructor wrote online, “Riot police decided to reject orders to quell protests,” an outright lie. When caught, he brazenly retorted, “How can you arrest someone for making up something for dramatic effect?”

The People’s Coalition in Protest against the Candlelight Vigils, an Internet community, has named insincere candlelight protesters “zombies” – referring to the dead brought back to life by the devil. They have no sense of rationality and remorse. The student Kim perfectly fits that description. Even after his fraud was exposed, he continued to criticize police and said he did nothing wrong on a popular online forum on Daum.net.

These zombies seem to have problems with rationality and good sense regardless of ideology. With the money collected from thousands of candlelight protesters, Kim unashamedly got service at a massage parlor. In other words, “innocent” candlelight protesters were deceived by zombies with no respect for the law. People with better intentions might think harder about how they can protest these zombies.

Editorial Writer Huh Mun-myeong (angelhuh@donga.com)