Topple talkThe candlelight vigils, whichinitially began as a protest against the resumption of U.S. beef imports, is transforming into a struggle to oust the Lee Myung-bak administration. At the center is the People’s Conference Against Mad Cow Disease. “The people orders the government to begin renegotiations of the beef import deal by June 20,” the alliance of 1,700 civic groups has said. “If it refuses to obey the order, a people’s struggle to oust the Lee administration will begin.”
This is an ultimatum. They say they will fight until the government kneels down. It is pitiful to witness the Lee administration’s incompetence, which triggered this situation only 100 days after its launch. However, we would like to ask the Conference: From whom did you get the mandate to dare to order our government to obey your opinion?
Public disappointment with the government has grown after 40 days of candlelight protests. However, the drastic measure of pushing the government to the edge of the cliff cannot solve the current crisis. The sovereign right of the people to change the president does not necessarily mean toppling a legally established government.
We want to ask the Conference, Do you really believe that the silent majority will agree with your political struggle to oust the administration? We do not think so. It is even reported that there are internal conflicts within the Conference concerning the way to handle this matter.
The Conference must not believe that it represents the whole nation. It must listen to the new voices of the people after the June 10 rally. Internet users one after another wrote in their posts that the people should wait and see the government’s next action, as the people have demonstrated their feelings already. Some wrote that the purity of the candlelight vigil should be maintained, while others wrote that the protests should not expand into demonstrations to oust the government.
The Conference, however, said yesterday at a press conference, “The government apparently tries to stand against the people till the end, so we see no way but to teach it a lesson.” The Conference must remember that the candlelight vigil began with the people’s voluntary participation. The civic groups are one of many participants. They were never the leader, nor should they try to lead in the future.
It is time for Koreans to unite, just like we did during the 1997 financial crisis. Do not shake the foundations of the nation by exploiting its fragile state.