The Pain of Democracy Found in 42 Years
The Pain of Democracy Found in 42 Years
  • Wee Jeong-je
  • 승인 2022.11.21 16:33
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  The body of a dark burial was found in an old Gwangju prison. DNA checks matched those missing during the May 18 pro-democracy movement. During the May 18 pro-democracy movement, it was revealed that martial law forces were buried in the dark. Why is it important to find the body of a missing person buried in the dark 42 years ago?
  In 1979, Park Chung-hee, military dictator and third president of Korea, was killed, creating a power vacuum. On December 12 of the same year, Chun Doo-hwan took power by staging a coup. Demonstrations calling for Chun Doo-hwan’s resignation took place in Gwangju in 1980. On Chun Doo-hwan’s order, live ammunition was fired at the protesters on August 15, 1980, judging that the protests would calm down if he suppressed them strongly like the previous Buma (Busan-Masan) uprising. Martial law forces killed and assaulted mercilessly, regardless of whether they participated in the protest. In response, Gwangju citizens organized civic forces to counter the martial law forces blockading the city. The May 18 pro-democracy movement ended when martial law forces attacked and occupied the Jeonnam Provincial Government on May 27. 
  The 166 people were killed during the May 18 pro-democracy movement, with 54 missing and 3,139 injured. The Chun Doo-hwan administration censored the media to cover the truth of the May 18 pro-democracy movement. Still, it sparked the June democratic uprising leading to the direct presidential election system.
  Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and leader of the American independence movement, said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” This means that citizen sacrifice is inevitable to drive out dictators and establish mature democracy. Democracy in the Republic of Korea was born through the May 18 pro-democracy movement and many sacrifices. We should remember that we sacrificed for a better Korea and democracy and try to protect our current freedom and rights.


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