[EDITORIALS]End the rallies and talkConservative civic groups opposing the North Korean regime and its nuclear arms plans, and the Christian Council of Korea held a large rally yesterday in front of Seoul City Hall. While we sympathize with the participants who joined the rallies with Korean national flags in hand, we regret the current situation in which opinions are being expressed only though mass rallies.
When, since the foundation of the nation, have citizens ever rallied saying, “We will defend the nation”?
Yesterday’s rally took place because the president made conservatives nervous with his remarks about the abolition of the National Security Law and the administration criticized an earlier elder leaders’ statement on current affairs. The Roh administration should examine itself. It has brought the nation to its current divided state by forcing people to take sides.
The situation should not be allowed to worsen. The voice of the rally participants yesterday has been heard. Some leaders of the rally argued that they would continue rallying as those who opposed the impeachment of the president did earlier this year.
But mass rallies should be stopped. The fact that liberals and the young staged mass candlelight demonstrations does not justify the conservatives’ continuing rallies.
Rather, older Koreans and conservatives should show what true patriotism and wisdom are. They need to be more patient and serious, with the attitude, “We have power and we may rally again, but we should restrain ourselves for the nation.”
We are concerned that the nation may crumble if the current divisions continue. The situation is making the public nervous and adversely affecting the economy.
Politicians should work hard to gain the public’s trust. The opposition party, in particular, should play its part; the conservatives’ rally is taking place because the opposition party failed to accommodate their opinions.
The governing and opposition parties should engage in dialogue based on reconciliation. A compromise on the National Security Law could come if the political parties compromised. They also could well reach an agreement on such issues as the relocation of the administrative capital, the investigation into Korea’s recent history and the private school law. If each sees the other simply as an opponent to be knocked down, Korea itself will hit the canvas.