Korean University Students Demand Accountability in Election Scandal- VIDEO

대학생들-민주주의 유린한 국정원 폐지하고 박근혜는 하야하라 기습시위후 연행

Students call for an investigation into election tampering by the National Intelligence Service and former director Won Sei-Hoon, who is indicated on charges of ordering a smear campaign against opposition candidates in last year’s election. Many are disappointed in the Park administration’s lack of a strong stance against the allegations and in maintaining non-involvement in the issue. According to The Hankyoreh, one Saenuri official has been quoted as saying:

“Principle, trust, and following the law are supposed to be President Park’s trademark. Now that the prosecutors have finished their investigation, the President has a responsibility to follow the Constitution and national law by apologizing to the public for the NIS’s misdeeds and taking steps to make sure such things don’t happen again. It is irresponsible for her and the Blue to play dumb on such a major incident.”

Cover photo courtesy of The Hankyoreh online newspaper

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Photo Essay: Remembering Fallen Comrades On the Road to the New Day

On June 8, 2013, the ISC Media Team attended the 22nd National Commemoration of the Martyrs and Victims in the Struggle for Our Nation and Democracy. The first commemoration ceremony was held amidst tear gas in 1990 under Roh Tae Woo’s presidency.

A shrine composed of over 350 martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation and for democracy

A shrine composed of over 350 martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation and for democracy

Held in the same month as the National Memorial Day, the National Commemoration of the Martyrs and Victims in the Struggle for Our Nation and Democracy remembers and honors the workers, students, liberation fighters, farmers, women and disabled who fought for democracy and people’s liberation from oppression. Unsung, cast aside, and red-baited, the struggles and sacrifices of these martyrs made better the lives of all.

The legacy of martyrs in modern Korean history is divided into 7 periods: liberation from the Japanese until 1970 including Park Chung Hee’s dictatorship; Park Chung Hee’s Yushin Constitution in 1971 until the May 18th Uprising in 1980; Chun Doo Hwan’s coup d’état in 1981 until the 1987 June Uprising; Roh Tae Woo’s presidency in 1988 until after Kim Yong Sam’s presidency in 1997; the IMF crisis during the Kim Dae Jung Presidency until after the Roh Moo Hyun presidency; Lee Myung Bak’s presidency; and finally, the current period of the President Park Presidency.

2The moment of silence for fallen comrades that marks all Korean social movement events.

3Present Worker’s Struggles: Cort Guitar Worker’s struggle against their unjust mass layoffs.
Visit http://cortaction.wordpress.com/ for more on their campaign.

4A worker’s choir, made up of leaders from four active worker’s struggles,
sings “March for the Beloved”

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8As the event draws to a close, bereaved families, fellow comrades, and the next generation line up to pay their respects with silence, reflection, burnt incense, and chrysanthemums.

9Comrades honor martyrs by still “marching to that new day:” Protestors are confronted with police as they attempt to break through the police barricade and march in solidarity to current active sites of struggle.

Remembering Gwangju

The month of May marks the anniversary of the brutal and bloody uprising in Korea’s southeastern city of Gwangju.  Mid May, 1980, hundreds of thousands of students and citizens across Korea took to the streets to denounce military intervention in Korean politics. In Gwangju alone, demonstrators were met with severe and brutal military force -hundreds died and thousands more were injured.  The media team will be traveling to Gwangju on the weekend of May 17-18 to participate in events commemorating the uprising- including a remembrance ceremony, a people’s gathering and various cultural events- in our effort to learn more about the history and politics of the uprising, the ways in which the legacy of the uprising currently shapes the politics of the region, and to connect with community members dedicated to the ongoing fight for democracy.

In May 2012, the team traveled to Gwangju and spoke with activist Lee Shin, a man who has dedicated his life to educating others about the true nature of the uprising, including the events that led up to it, unfolded after it and the role of the United States. His accounts are both incredibly chilling and powerfully inspiring, and shed light on the immense strength, bravery and resilience of a people. His words teach an important lesson- that remembering Gwangju involves more than just a remembrance. To remember Gwangju is to embody it; to hold its spirit in each of us as democracy continues to unfold on the Korean peninsula and around the world.

Lee Shin, activist, stands beside the grave of a man tortured to death for writing a book exposing the truth about the Gwangju uprising, a man from who he draws personal strength.

Lee Shin, activist, stands beside the grave of a man tortured to death for writing a book exposing the truth about the Gwangju uprising, a man from who he draws personal strength.

Below are the links to the full talk, in two parts, in both English and Korean. We will follow up with more comprehensive articles about the events taking place for 2013.

Lee Shin Part 1

Lee Shin Part 2