Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The 30th anniversary of the Kwangju Uprising

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Kwangju Uprising. I've written quite a bit about the uprising before, as the 'Kwangju Uprising' label will attest. A brief timeline is here, there are also background posts about the 1960 student uprising, the 1961 coup of Park Chung-hee, the situation in 1979 leading up to Park's assassination, and  Chun Doo-hwan's 12.12 coup. I've written more in-depth looks at the events of the uprising, such as the violence on the first day, the escalation of violence over the first three days, forcing the military out of the city, as well as an analysis of US news reports from May 22. (I have yet to look closely at liberated Kwangju or the situation on the outskirts of the city between May 21 and May 27). I also looked at the retaking of the city by the military and the death toll.

A bibliography of books in English about the uprising is here, links to literature inspired by the film are here, and links to several essays about the uprising are here. The single best essay to read would likely be the first one published in English, Tim Warnberg's "The Kwangju Uprising: An Inside View," which can be downloaded here (scroll down to bottom left).

I've also looked at more personal stories related to the uprising, such as the memories of a nurse, the memories of a photographer, and the story of soldier. The single post I'm happiest with is likely this one, about the death and memorialization of a high school girl named Park Geum-hui who was killed during the uprising.

A parade was held to commemorate the uprising last night (though judging from the photo, the weather wasn't cooperative), and more commemoration activities will follow today.

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