It's been about two months since we started to stage candlelight movement against Lee administration's wrong policies and its resumption of importing American beef found suspicious of mad cow disease, BSE. Despite the frequent maneuver of Lee administration to put out those candle lights, the candlelight that teenage school-girls led the initiative has been lighting up Cheongye Square, Seoul Square, the whole area of Gwanghwamun in Seoul, Korea. People have participated in the candlelight movement nationwide even in the monsoon rainfall.
The role that the candlelight movement has played is not limited to protect the area of Gwanghwamun in the center of Seoul and a number of squares across the country against darkness. The candlelight movement has been protecting people’s dinner tables, correcting the government’s wrong policies, defending democracy here in Korea from any threats.
Therefore, the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) said, “Darkness has never overcome light.” in its latest public masses and some Korean elders from various fields made it clear that “The candles have already gained a victory.”
I undoubtedly believe that ‘the candlelight movement and a shout for conscience was initiated by teenagers are now gaining a victory’ and I am also sure that the rightful fight will necessarily win a victory in which hundreds of thousands of people have asked for withdrawal of US beef import notification, renegotiation of US beef agreement, and nullification of the plan to build the Korean Grand Canal.
Therefore, ‘the People’s Association Against Mad Cow Disease’ decided that it would hold “the Candlelight movement for the Declaration of People’s Victory” at 5 o’clock p.m., on July 5th , Saturday.
However, we have lots of mountains to go over and not a few obstacles to overcome before declaring our victory. The Lee administration has called out the riot police to use indiscriminate violence to the candlelit protestors and take them to the police stations randomly. Moreover, it has tried to label those protestors as mobsters and anti-American groups with the help of so called ‘Cho, Joong, Dong (Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, Donga Ilbo)’, country’s three biggest newspapers known for their conservative viewpoints. What is worse, it is for the first time in 20 years since a period of military dictatorship in 1980s, the government has committed acts of brutality of blocking peaceful candlelight rallies attended by innocent citizens.
But what we have learned from historical experience is the truth that dead darkness is indicative that dawn is about to break and no government has ever beaten up its people. As the CPAJ made clear, darkness can never overcome light.
People already have been on their way to the victory and in no time they will declare their victory. Though the government could suppress candlelit protestors as well as rob them of their own ‘square’ through the area of Gwanghwamun by mobilizing riot police, it could not keep control of people who defend democracy and protect public health.
The religious circle including Catholic, Buddhism, Protestant are now leading the initiative of the candlelight movement to support the justification of it and to protect peaceful demonstrations. The representatives for some of civic groups made clear that they would march at the very front of the marching parade to protect people from violence by riot police in the upcoming candlelight marching scheduled on July 5th.
I, however, hope and believe that the riot police would not use violence to the clergymen, civic group representatives, and innocent people because the owner of this country is those people and what the president and the police have to do is follow those people. I hope president Lee to realize that it is tantamount to admitting that he is not the president of Korea himself that he disregards the popular feelings and an outcry of the candlelight movement by blocking the demonstrators and beating up innocent people. Even though the government and the so called ‘Cho, Joong, Dong’ labels the candlelit demonstrators as violent mobs, even elementary school students are able to know those hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are not mobs.
The moment of victory is coming. The dead darkness is disappearing and shiny morning is also coming.
Let us gather in the Gwanghwamun intersection on July 5th to declare our great victory. Let us put our arms around each other’s shoulders side by side and sing a song celebrating our victory that we have fought for two months or so. By doing them, let the song spread to every corner of our nation and become a generative power for the perfect victory we have not won yet.