South Koreans’ protest against the government: it’s much more than just about the American beef import

I am not sure if you’ve already heard that the Korean government is going to begin to import! beef - of cattle older than 30 months, which is known to have considerable potential of ‘mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)’ - from the United States within a month. Recently, as you might already know, there has been the largest, in history, beef recall in the U.S.The video footage released by Humane Society demonstrates how inappropriately the cattle are raised in the U.S, not to mention how dangerous it is, therefore, to eat the beef from those cows when the inspection system obviously falls short of ‘adequate’ in the U.S. I hear American people are increasingly concerned about this issue these days, as well.

As usual, the deal was quickly made behind the door, and when we, Korean people, found out what the president, who entered the office on-ly about 3 months ago, has done, we were outraged. Not surprisingly, the core issues regarding the beef import! and, more import!antly, danger of mad cow disease are hardly mentioned by the media. It seems like the Korean government is repeating the same message - that, it’s OK - as the British government did before the mad cow disease began to terrify the whole country, resulting in 163 victims since the mid 80s’.

There have been a number of mass candlelight protests across the country against the deal with the U.S. The government is not on-ly preventing media from paying attention to our voice but also calling on the police to keep an eye on the public movements, even threatening that those who participate in the protests will face ‘legal consequences.’ “Commies,” the leftist are leading the crowd, according to the government, and they argue there is a political demagogue behind the public dissent. It seems on-ly logical to conclude that we need to take harder action against the government, because there are just way too many problems with them for us to fight against. And naturally, the public backlash is on-ly escalating.

Even more urgent, genetically modified corns were already shipped to this country and are reportedly going on sale from next month, here in Korea. I recently learned the GMO was even rejected by African countries when it was offered as aid.

This incredibly overt neoliberal president Myung-bak Lee (shortly called MB) , former CEO, and his administration are doing everything they can to turn this country into hyper-capitalist state in such a short amount of time.

They are planning to:
1. privatize the health care system - going for “the American style.” Unbelievable.
2. privatize the water/electricity/gas supply, postal service, .
3. privatize other state-owned enterprises including the Seoul Metro, public bank(the Korea Development Bank) and other institutions in which public funds are invested.
Daewoo Ship-building & Marine Engineering - which produces submarines, destroyers, battle ships, submarine rescue vessels, AUV,
and other specialty vessels - is on-e of them; and it is going to be sold via Goldman Sachs Korea - in which the president’s nephew has
been lately hired as the chairman - to a private corporation or, possibly, to “China.” Obviously, this is going to be an enormous threat
to national security.
4. make a huge canal across the country - which, even before the last presidential election, was highly controversial and severely
criticized by intellectuals, environmentalists and the public, etc, for its environmental and even economic risks.
5. erase the “Japanese colony era” from textbooks, claiming we must forgive them and get over the past. As you might know, there still are a number of issues left unsolved about the historical tragedy, such as the ‘comfort women’ issue. The president was born in Osaka, Japan.

All these news came out within 3 months.

Words fail me.

In the recent visit to the U.S., the president said, in front of the audience consisting of the government officials and businesspeople, that he is “a business-friendly person, and (even though some people criticize him for being too business-friendly) wants to be more business-friendly,” and, even more outrageously, that ‘he’s the CEO of Korea. Inc.” The applause, to me, resonated as the beginning of disaster. The upcoming negotiation on FTA with the U.S. is going to enslave ‘Korea. Inc’ and the citizens to the hands of multi-national corporations.

Our hard-earned democracy is in danger.

The whole country is at stake.

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