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Pro Roh-Moo-hyun faction must overcome movie ‘The Attorney’

Pro Roh-Moo-hyun faction must overcome movie ‘The Attorney’

Posted January. 02, 2014 01:03,   


The movie “The Attorney” is becoming a tremendous box-office hit. The number of viewers reportedly exceeded 6 million on the 13th day after the movie’s release. The pace will likely stay robust in the New Year as well. If the current trend continues to hold, the number of its cumulative viewers is set to soon top 10 million.

The story in the movie begins in the early 1980s when a taxation attorney takes charge of the Burim (Busan Hangnim) case” in Busan. The movie features a number of scenes that remind people of the time when the late former President Roh Moo-hyun was serving as attorney. The movie’s hit gives politicians a great chance to jump into the bandwagon. Notably, leaders of the broader opposition camp who wish to take advantage of “Roh Moo-hyun halo effect” are making a flurry of positive comments.

People involved in the Burim case claim that “It was a fabricated incident of pro-North Korean movement that was made up through torture committed by the Chun Doo-hwan administration.” They claim that this incident was recognized as part of the nation’s democratization movement. However, some conservative leaders refute such claims by arguing, “It is not a fabricated incident of pro-North Korean movement.”

This writer has no intention here to debate the factuality of the Burim case, the background of the movie “The Attorney.” But I cannot afford not to address the way members of the pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction perceive the “Attorney fever.”

In an interview with a media outlet, Rep. Moon Jae-in, who is the de facto leader of the faction, said, “The Republic of Korea’s democracy has a long way to go. When comparing with the 1980s when the Burim case occurred, there is little progress made in procedural and political democracy.”’ On the National Intelligence Service’s suspected intervention in the presidential election, he lamented by calling it “a kind of plot."

Moon’s message is that the situation at present is little different from that of 30 years ago. It complies with the main opposition Democratic Party’s political offensive that the Park Geun-hye administration is a non-democratic government. The opposition camp is a “democratization force,” and therefore fundamentally, it is staging a framing war of “democracy against anti-democracy.” This translates into the equation that “the opposition camp is virtue and the Park administration is vice. This is aged practice of so-called democratization framing used by the opposition camp.

The pro-Roh faction’s bid to exploit the Roh fever cannot be criticized in itself. Just like the ruling camp staged Park Chung-hee marketing in the past, as a political group, the pro-Roh faction could utilize the fever as a tool for its political marketing. The Roh fever was the driving force that politically revived the pro-Roh faction. Since its loss in the 2007 presidential election, the pro-Roh faction called itself a “doomed group.” The pro-Roh faction was able to revive through the 2010 local elections apparently due to the first anniversary of Roh’s death. As a result, the pro-Roh faction was able to secure the leadership of the Democratic Party in 2012.

It is paradoxical but the Roh Moo-hyun spirit went missing while the pro-Roh saw its revival. By blindly pursuing the instant gain of “coalition of the opposition camp,” the faction took the lead in reversing core policies that the Roh administration had pushed for, including the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the construction of a naval base in Jeju. Rep. Moon had criticized rail workers’ strike as being illegal during the Roh administration, but he switched his stance to support rail workers` strike this time, completely reversing the policy. People around the opposition camp sarcastically say that “It is confusing who the original pro-Roh faction, anti-Roh faction, and non-Roh faction are.”

In the last presidential election, leaders of the pro-Roh faction chanted aloud “Let’s overcome Roh Moo-hyun.” While the fence of the pro-Roh was solid, they would have realized the limitation of its poor expandability of votes. They thoroughly avoided self-innovation and reform, however. Critics can righteously say that they effectively cried “Bravo” in the bed alone at home.

Without doubt, The Attorney’s box-office hit will provide another opportunity to the pro-Roh faction. It could also be a crisis at the same time. Ten years can change the shape of mountains and rivers, and three decades is a time long enough to change them three times. Can they afford to keep the Roh Moo-hyun fence some 30 years since the Burim case without having a vision and strategy to establish a “New Roh Moo-hyun”?

With sympathy and anger alone, they can never change the world. The pro-Roh faction can survive only when it can overcome the movie “The Attorney.” Now we have a New Year.