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[Editorial] Turning a Nat’l Funeral Into Chaos

Posted May. 28, 2009 08:06,   


The Korean people will bid farewell to the late former President Roh Moo-hyun at his funeral in Seoul’s Gyeongbok Palace Friday. His body will then be returned to his hometown of Bongha Village as its final resting place. The government has formed a large-scale funeral committee consisting of 1,383 figures from all sectors of society.

Several groups of people, however, seek to take advantage of the funeral to bring a storm of madness to Korean society. Incense-burning altars in front of Deoksu Palace in downtown Seoul are plastered with posters calling for neutralizing police and covering all of downtown with candles to “terminate” the incumbent administration. Certain Internet sites have seditious slogans urging millions of people to gather Friday to “see the end” of the incumbent administration.

The government accepted a request from Roh’s bereaved family to have Gyeongbok Palace as the funeral’s venue as a token of full respect for the late president. Certain groups of people, however, are trying to use the funeral and procession to create social chaos.

At a time of a lingering economic crisis stemming from domestic and overseas factors and a national security emergency caused by North Korea’s nuclear test, these groups cannot be allowed to take advantage of the funeral to instigate anti-government protests and cause national division. Certain media are also showing signs of instigating protests, failing to play the role of responsible media.

It is sad that Roh took his life in a shocking way amid his alleged role in a bribery scandal. It is totally irresponsible, however, to put the blame on prosecutors, the incumbent administration and certain media. The public will cool-headedly watch those who turned a blind eye to Roh to avoid involvement in the case get wild at this opportunity.

Too much is worse than too little. No one should attempt to disturb the country by taking advantage of the public’s desire to mourn the former president’s tragic death.

The government should ensure that tomorrow’s funeral will proceed in a calm and orderly manner. A weak and cowardly government discouraged and swayed by radical groups who brand it a “murderous regime” should not be in charge. No one has the right to create lawlessness and chaos in the country.