[EDITORIALS]Tame Hwang’s supportersIt is unthinkable that Roh Jung-hye, the Seoul National University research department head, was attacked in daylight by a group of people who supported Hwang Woo-suk. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the results of the university’s investigation of Dr. Hwang in an extreme manner.
Regardless of how strong their faith in Dr. Hwang may have been, we cannot understand his supporters’ acts in the context of common sense. This is not the first time supporters’ actions have been extreme. In January, a civilian in Daegu attempted suicide; early last month, a man in his 50s supporting Dr. Hwang burned himself to death at Gwanghwamun, downtown Seoul.
Dr. Hwang’s fans have been holding candlelight rallies in the Gwanghwamun area, even during the coldest period of winter. This weekend, they are reportedly going to hold a rally at Seodaejeon Plaza. In the most recent developments, Dr. Hwang’s supporters demonstrated in front of Seoul National University’s main administrative building. They climbed on top of President Chung Un-chan’s car when he rode into campus and fired off violent language at reporters.
The supporters demand that Seoul National University’s investigative committee void its findings and allow Dr. Hwang to restart his research. The fact that they are trying to achieve this through mob tactics shows that they have lost their ability to reason. Regardless of what the results of the prosecution investigation is, the fact that Dr. Hwang’s papers were fabricated does not change. The Board of Audit and Inspection has also raised suspicions that Dr. Hwang may have swindled some research funds.
Dr. Hwang’s supporters are unable to escape from the chains of false trust that they have for the scientist. In addition, they are advocating a distorted concept of patriotism. They criticize Seoul National University’s investigation committee members as “traitors” and threaten them with such harsh words as, “In the name of Korea, I will pull out your hair!”
It seems that Dr. Hwang’s supporters have fallen into depression because they are unable to fill the empty space created by the truth about their idol. One can even feel a sense of madness.
Extreme actions are bound to instigate calamity. Such words will make it more difficult for them to gain general approval and will not assist in solving the issue either. The authorities should not stand back and watch their illegal acts. There is no knowing what irrational group behavior could evolve into.