[Viewpoint] They doth protest too much
This year marks the 60th anniversary of North Korea’s invasion of democratic South Korea. Two years after establishing the communist regime in the North, Kim Il Sung and his cronies levied war on the South. And his communist neighbors in China, who had seized power only a year earlier, backed Kim’s Bolshevik war effort extensively.
The friendship between the two communist groups meant tragedy for Koreans. The possibility for unification evaporated, and many families were slain or separated.
That friendship continues even today. Recently, the Chinese leadership extended a diplomatic welcome to the key suspect in the “mass-murder case of the Cheonan.”
It was the United States that defended liberal democracy from the misguided friendship between North Korea and China. Nearly 1.8 million troops fought in the war, and 54,000 were killed. There was a 3 percent fatality rate.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., reads that American soldiers “answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.” Countless young Americans rushed to the aid of a country they couldn’t find on a map despite the risk to their lives.
Meanwhile, the possibility of getting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease by consuming U.S. beef is one in 100 million. Young Americans exposed themselves to a 3-in-100 chance of death, but candlelight protestors in Seoul who opposed U.S. beef imports made a big fuss about a 1-in-100 million chance.
The violent protestors turned the downtown of the capital of a country with one of the world’s top 15 economies into a free zone for illegality. Protestors beat up police forces, leaving more than 400 officers wounded. They even vandalized some newspaper companies and threatened the businesses and clients that advertised in the papers.
The World Organization for Animal Health had named six countries as category 2 “control risks.” The list included Switzerland, Chile and Brazil, as well as the United States. But did the protestors display a similar level of antagonism against beef imported from the countries of chocolate, wine and football?
The candlelight protestors were cowardly because they were angry about the alliance between South Korea and the United States but tolerant of the enemy.
The likelihood that Pyongyang was involved in the tragic sinking of the Cheonan is almost 99.99 percent. But the protesters attacked our ally, the United States, for a probability of 1 in 100 million, keeping silent about a culprit who has a 99.99 percent chance of guilt.
The deaths of two Korean middle school students who were crushed by a U.S. armored vehicle in 2002 were unpremeditated homicide. Protestors denounced that manslaughter furiously, but today they keep mum about the intentional mass murder by the North Korean military.
A considerable number of the anti-U.S. beef import protestors belong to the pro-Roh group. The late President Roh Moo-hyun’s ideological catchphrase was “a world where people can live properly.” His supporters shed tears and cried out this phrase at his funeral. They created a political party and ran in regional elections. They are appealing to the voters to create “a world where people can live harmoniously,” but why are they keeping their mouths shut about a world where people are killed with malice aforethought?
In 2006 in Pyeongtaek, protestors opposing the relocation of the U.S. military base assaulted Korean military and police forces.
Then-Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook said in an address to citizens, “The police officers and soldiers, the protestors and local residents are all sons and daughters and brothers and sisters.” The nation was trying to keep its promise to our ally. Protestors opposed that effort and assaulted Korean troops. But the prime minister called them the same “sons and daughters.” She used that term when she was supposed to defend law and order. If she were still a prime minister, would she have said that the 46 victims of the Cheonan and the North Korean submarine troops are all sons of Korea?
The Anti-Mad Cow National Planning Committee includes so-called extreme leftist groups. They argue that the modern history of Korea is shameful and criticize the rule of President Park Chung Hee, who revised the law to give himself a third term in office.
However, Park’s long rule was not for his family’s legacy or personal benefit, but for national security and economic development. History proves his intention. But the extreme leftists condemn his third-term revision - while keeping silent on the three generations of hereditary rule in North Korea.
The candlelight protestors keep silent about gigantic truths but get furious at minor superstitions. Are they truly righteous?
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Kim Jin