This phrase is engraved on the monument of Lee Se-jong in the democratic plaza on campus, which is next to the first student hall. Lee Se-jong was the first victim of the 5/18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. Many people, including Lee Se-jong, launched the Democratic Uprising May 18, 1980; they also had a pro-democratic resistance movement July 10, 1987 against dictatorship all over the country. As a result, Korea joined the ranks of democratic countries.
In the present situation, though, democracy hasn’t developed and has driven in the wrong way of military dictatorship. When people held candlelight vigils last year, the government didn’t work through communication with the nation and suppressed the vigils with water cannons. Also, the prosecution arrested Minerva, who wrote his ideas about the government’s economy policy. And riot police buses blocked Seoul square in front of Seoul City Hall owing to sealing unlawful demonstration at the end of May. The police took innocent people and fined them because they stood around demonstration sites. These acts infringed upon human rights and suppressed speech of the people. So I doubt if this country is a real democracy.
A declaration of this situation was presented by all of our society, starting with Seoul National University June 3rd. Their declaration specified that the government should guarantee basic rights, including freedom of expression, assembly and speech, in a democratic country, and practice politics of communication. Nevertheless, the Blue House felt that this declaration was the progressives’ voices, not the voices of nation.
After Lee Myung-bak was inaugurated as President, many events happened at about a year and a half into his term: hot candlelight vigils, disasters of the homeless of Yongsan and the demise of Roh Moo-hyun, the former president. These events were caused by policies of the government, which was unilateral and cared only for the ‘major’; in other words, they didn’t care for the weaker of society. Therefore, I hope the government will listen to people’s expressions and set up policies that consider the weaker, not suppress people to prevent these affairs.
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