[GOING TO THE BLOGS]REMEMBERING GWANGJU

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[GOING TO THE BLOGS]REMEMBERING GWANGJU

“It’s been 26 years since the fateful events of May 18, 1980,” writes Robert at “The Marmot’s Hole” (http://www.rjkoehler.com) this week, “but as recent news would indicate, the past is still with us.” In one of a range of perspectives offered by bloggers on the Gwangju Uprising and its legacy, Robert focuses on the politicking of both major parties on the issue, and its predictably disastrous results. Robert also unearths a tribute to the victims of the Uprising, written by former President Kim Dae-Jung while living in exile in the United States in 1983. “About the United States,” Robert writes, “[Kim] said the Gwangju Uprising (or suppression thereof) was a disaster brought on by the irresponsible actions of the USFK commander who held operation command over the Korean military, and that it had brought about a decisive change in the attitude of Korean citizens toward the United States.”
Though most bloggers agree with the second part of that statement, they angrily reject the first. “Kwangju... was the source of a myth (at least partly the result of slipshod, biased research) leading to a layer of anti-Americanism that still exists,” writes Richardson at “The Korea Liberator,” (http://www.korealiberator.org/), echoing a sentiment displayed by a great many commenters this week. Meanwhile, in a clear dig at the Roh government’s conciliatory stance toward North Korea, Andy at “The Flying Yangban” (http://gopkorea.blogs.com/flyingyangban/) posts a picture of the president and other political bigwigs at a memorial service for the victims of the military crackdown, juxtaposed with shots of activists protesting North Korean human rights issues.
The most poignant reminder of the Gwangju Uprising, however, comes from Matt on “Gusts of Popular Feeling” (http://populargusts.blogspot.com). Alongside pictures from Gwangju at the time, Matt follows a brief citation from an eyewitness account of the Uprising with a list of casualties from that day. Shorn of any commentary, the passages pack a considerable emotional punch. “Park Chong-hwa, 20, was passing in front of Mudeung stadium when paratroopers assaulted and took him to police. Released three months later. Suffered mental disorder thereafter and died.”

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE...
The host of “Are you Nkay?” (http://nkay.blogsome.com/), a relatively new blog run by someone from Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK, a non-governmental organization concerned with human rights in North Korea, is sure that he knows why peace in the Sudan will not hold despite North Korea endorses it. In one of those effortless hypocrisies for which the country is so renowned, North Korea recently sent a message to the Sudanese government noting that the North Korean “government and people that have consistently asserted a peaceful settlement of all disputes through dialogues and negotiations free from foreign interference sincerely rejoice at and warmly hail the provision of a political and legal foundation for the settlement of the crisis in Darfur,” according to the Sudan Tribune.
“As you may already know,” writes the host, “the North Korean definition of peace is the right to persecute its own people without anyone inquiring about it. Of course, meddling in South Korean political affairs by threatening voters most definitely falls under ‘peace.’” Quite.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE
S.E.S., H.O.T., L.P.G.; as if Korean pop stars weren’t interchangeable enough, their proclivity for using acronyms as names robs them of yet another possible source of individuality. Fortunately, Brian at “Cathartidae” (http://cathartidae.wordpress.com/) is on hand with a list explaining just what this motley mix of letters all mean. Fin.K.L., for instance, means “Fine Killing Liberty”; BoA stands for “Beat of Angel”; and, somewhat more sinisterly, DJ DOC is “DJ Dream of Children.” Are the parents of his fans aware of this?


by Niels Footman
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