PARK GEUN-HYE AND THE THOUGHT POLICE
After the election, younger Korean friends have been asking if this is what the Americans felt like when George W. Bush was elected the second time. Personally, I am way madder/sadder about Park than I was about Bush. Also, the first Bush was not in office for 17 years, so there’s that difference.
The situation being as it is, I hope that we get a Korean Obama the next time! What will be a key factor in whether or not that happens is how much the thought police continue their conservative crackdown. It goes without saying that freedom of speech and freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy. But major media in Korea have already been taken control of by the Lee Myung-bak government over the past five years.
(One amazing and dedicated young journalist who unfortunately works for a conservative paper wrote a great article about fraudulent adoption paperwork this fall, and it was cut by the editor before it went to press — it does make the government look bad because the government allowed it and was complicit in creating that paperwork. The story was submitted and cut a few days after the same journalist wrote a wonderful article about adoption with a more personal focus, which garnered literally hundreds of comments online. You would think that would be good for the newspaper.)
Under Park Geun-hye, I think the situation for free speech will become much worse. For instance, people who make the popular podcast Na Ggom Su were hauled in to the prosecutors for “defamation” the day after the election.
- Smart and funny enough to be dangerous: youth and counter-culture oriented Na Ggom Su podcasters.
Now take a look at this brainwashing: Here’s a monthly magazine published in 2007 glorifying Park Chung-hee, as you would, of course, want to glorify your former dictator.
This magazine, printed from 2006-2008, is being reprinted from this month.
A Korean blogger bought one of them so we don’t have to. The blogger pointed out an article from 2011 slamming Moon Jae-in (who ran as the liberal candidate in the 2012 election) and another article claiming that the December 12 “incident” was not a “military rebellion”!
Chun Doo-hwan came to power in a coup d’etat two months after the assassination of Park Chung-hee. Three months later, he was responsible for the Gwangju Massacre (while the U.S. government turned a blind eye). I couldn’t find a short English video, so you’ll have to settle for a part English / part German video about it.
A blogger I discovered today, My Dear Korea, has done a much better write-up than I have on both the presidential election and freedom of information, and the Gwangju Massacre. She is a Korean, and she blogs about how she didn’t even know that the Gwangju Massacre had ever happened. You can see why on her (English!) videos about Gwangju — the government suppressed the information and even cut articles about it out of foreign newspapers before storing them in the National Assembly of Korea.
I just want to say that I am not blogging about history because I’m a historian (I’m not) or that I know a lot more than other people about this (I don’t). I learn the most interesting stuff from my Korean friends who have lived this history.
I’m blogging about this because I’m tired of people who say things like, “The Korean people have made a loving choice for their children by sending them for adoption.” Obviously the Korean government has done some terrible shit to its own people. How can Americans even dare to say that the Korean government always does what its people want about anything?
Dictatorship is about doing what the dictator wants, not what people want. People who have been engaged in this much of a struggle to release themselves from dictators, poverty, and oppression of all kinds do not get to make free and informed choices about the welfare of their most disadvantaged members of society just because they feel like it. During the peak years of overseas adoption, the people didn’t even know it was happening. Those numbers are completely missing from the Ministry of Health and Welfare yearbooks. I checked it myself at the Seoul National University Social Sciences Library. How could they want it if they didn’t even know it existed, and they didn’t have a say in it anyway because it wasn’t a democracy? You’d be amazed at how many birthmothers find out that international adoption exists WHEN they are reunited with their children.
We Korean adoptees are inseparable from the history of Korea. We did not come out of an airplane. We came out of a country. We came out of a context. So this is what I’m trying to do – add some context for adoptees.