Groundless beefKorea has been thrown into turmoil by a TV program about a pathologist’s hypothesis concerning Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, an extremely rare condition that affects the brain.
The program linked CJD to mad cow disease and spread irrational panic that has split public opinion here.
The situation grew worse after a respected scientist said: “Even if I speak from a scientific point of view, people think I am being politically motivated. No matter what I say, no one believes me.”
It is very regretful that politicians — our self-identified national leaders — have made such feeble efforts to ease people’s concerns.
Some even make us wonder if they are simply seeking political survival by exploiting public insecurity.
Grand National lawmaker Park Geun-hye recently broke her long silence on the issue, but all she did was criticize what the government had done.
She didn’t try to make people feel any less uneasy.
One of the most-loved and trusted leaders of this nation, Park should have spoken out about the illogical and wholly groundless arguments circulating in the country about CJD and Koreans.
Since the program has aired, we’ve been shocked to see teenagers skipping school to hold street rallies because they believe the rumors spread by Internet media, broadcasters and conspirators.
“The change in the government’s attitude, before and after the beef negotiations, is an issue. If necessary, we should renegotiate,” Park said.
She is right, but we can hear this statement from the opposition parties at any time.
Since she is a national leader and a member of the governing party, Park should have spoken with more wisdom and insight into the way people’s opinions in this country are getting manipulated.
Politicians of the United Democratic Party, still the largest party in the National Assembly, must handle the current situation from the perspective of national governance.
The party is about to use an unheard-of method — a special bill to void the beef agreement with Washington.
Korea is the 13th largest economy in the world. It has become an advanced nation by global standards.
But we wonder how our leaders have dreamed up the idea that this country can unilaterally void a bilateral agreement by citing domestic laws.
Furthermore, the beef negotiations began when the UDP was the governing party. That party thought Korea would benefit from the deal.
Sohn Hak-kyu and Park Sang-chun, the co-chairmen of the party, must put an end to their lukewarm stance and stay away from the party’s reckless march against the resumption of U.S. beef imports, a movement that has been fueled by populism, not by logical thought. The UDP may think that the rumors are behind them for now, but they should realize that people will abandon them once again when the truth is revealed.
After the presidential and the legislative elections, people are watching the United Democrats and demanding “politics of responsibility,” not the “politics of conviction.”