[EDITORIALS]Street fight on regionalismEntertainers and writers are planning to tour 49 cities over 49 days, giving street performances to persuade people to join an effort to break down the barriers of regionalism and contribute to national reconciliation.
We welcome the news, but it is hard to deny that we feel ashamed of a situation in which such activities are needed. They are determined to devote themselves to transcending regional barriers. Their performances will be free. We welcome their pure motives. On the other hand, we have to admit that the necessity of such events testify to the existence of deeply-rooted regional antipathy.
The root of this antipathy, which blocks the development of our society, is nothing but regional rivalry. Even though the influence of a region on the development of a person is small, Koreans inquire about a person's original permanent address or birthplace before judging him. We tend to accept people from our hometown as friends and those who are not are considered enemies. Such a way of thinking will make national integration impossible.
Three years ago, the JoongAng Ilbo launched a research on regionalism, analyzing its cause. The research revealed that the negative feelings between people in Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces originated from the regional gap in political power. Notwithstanding the research results, the nation's politicians seem to feel no responsibility. They do not take the lead in the move to end regional antagonism. Rather, they proclaim regional hegemony by instigating rivalry among people from different regions. Ultimately, it is the people who have to shoulder the shortcomings of regionalism.
A strong commitment that "I myself should be the first to be free of the ball and chain of regionalism before anyone else" will shake off the fetters of this national scourge.
The street performances of the entertainers and writers will provide us with the momentum.