Monday, April 19, 2010

50th anniversary of 419

Today was the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Student Revolution. I've looked at the events of the uprising here and here, at the official recognition of the March 1960 protests in Masan which set of the protests in Seoul, and at the uprising's aftermath, when Syngman Rhee was forced to step down, here. Photos of the uprising can be seen in this video.

For this year, there have been several photos of relatives visiting the graves of those killed when police opened fire on demonstrators that day (here and here). The Hankyoreh has a map (in Korean) of the locations where the protests in Seoul took place and the contemporary and current buildings in those locations.

The Korea Times has an article about a panel of historians and others asking why democracy was not established in the wake of the uprising, and Michael Breen has an article about Syngman Rhee and his ouster.

The president showed up to give a speech this year at the commemoration ceremony:
In his speech at a ceremony commemorating the April 19 Revolution, Lee said South Korea's politics today is stricken by "narrow and abstract ideology," that neglects people's livelihoods and the grim reality facing the nation.

"We have to reflect on ourselves again, whether we are relying on regionalism that spawns conflicts and street politics," the president said at the ceremony held at the April 19 National Cemetery in northern Seoul.

Lee said the government and political parties should not resort to populism in competing in the June 2 local elections, viewed as a mid-term election for his administration whose five-year tenure ends in early 2013.

"Moderate, pragmatic politics for reconciliation and integrity should take the center path, rather than opposition for the sake of opposition," he said.

Lee also reiterated his resolve to root out corruption among public officials, saying it is another urgent task.
Yet another inspiring speech, not so different from last year's when he criticized corruption in society during ex-president Roh's investigation.

The article also notes that "The government decorated 272 citizens, including 62 dead, for their role in the democratic movement." Better late than never?

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