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[Freedom Voice] 50: Guarding Against Totalitarianism

이종원 | 2014.09.12 17:18 | 조회: 848 | 덧글보기(0)
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The original Korean version of Freedom Voice #50: Guarding Against Totalitarianism was written by Freedom Factory's CEO, Chung-ho Kim, on September 3rd 2014.  It can be found here.

After our “A Little Courage” campaign photos went out last week, we received a lot of support from many people.  Over 6,000 people viewed our website at and we also received about 3,000 likes on our Facebook page.  It was possibly the most viewed among everything that I had ever written.  However, there were also many people who criticized and attacked me for the campaign.  So, I felt that I had to once again write about why I began this campaign, even though I know that I will be the victim of trolls yet again.

In a nutshell, it is because I am standing guard against totalitarianism.  I grow wary of our society that tries to make holding a dissenting opinion an objectionable offense.

The Republic of Korea is a democratic republic and ought to remain so.  It is a society where each individual is free to think whatever he or she may wish.  Also, it is a society that has thus far recognized people's right to express such thoughts.  Well, except for perhaps the right to engage in inflammatory speech meant to incite the violent overthrow of the government.

However, there has been a noticeable shift in tone since people protested against importing American beef, which was feared to have been tainted with Mad Cow Disease.  At the time, people who dared to say that the fears of Mad Cow Disease were exaggerated had to face direct and personal threats to their safety.  There was no room for any kind of dissent or differing opinion.  To me, that was an unmistakable sign of totalitarianism.

With the sinking of the Sewol, I am feeling a sense of deja vu.  I worry that the entire Korean people might have fallen into a kind of collective depression.  Many people wish to overcome this sense of depression but appear to be unable to.  I think it is because they are afraid of showing any emotion that might be different from those that are felt by the survivors and the family members of the departed.

Of course, there is no one who has been affected by this tragedy who has not been saddened.  However, depending on the individual and how much they have been affected by the tragedy, the length of time that each individual feels sad about the tragedy is different.  On one hand, there are those who will never forget this pain and grief for as long as they live.  On the other hand, there are those who have already forgotten and those who wish to forget.  I think it is wrong to claim that those who have moved on from the tragedy already to be cold-hearted.  Everyone has the right to move on.  Even if we don't want to move on, the passage of time makes us move on.  That is the only way that we can achieve new things.  It is high time that those who wish to express such a desire ought to be allowed to do so without fear of being ostracized and personally attacked by others.  It is high time that people once again be allowed to expressing disagreement with the mainstream opinion.

As I said, there are people who will never forget the pain and the grief that had been inflicted upon them by the sinking of the Sewol.  However, the reason I uploaded my essay and my photos the previous week was to express my opinion that I would like to see people stop using Kwanghamoon Square as a public grieving spot for the Sewol.  Others have the right to be at Kwanghamoon Square as well.  I want to see Kwanghamoon Square go back to what it used to be – a public space open to all, and not just to those specific people who wish to grieve for a specific event.  The proper place for debating the merits of a special investigative law about the Sewol Disaster is the National Assembly.  Not Kwanghamoon Square.

I dread what people will call me this time around.  However, I feel obligated to give voice to my opinion one more time.  That is because the thing that I dread more is this country falling victim to totalitarianism.  We have to do all that we can to defend our democratic republic.   So I would like to appeal to anyone who is willing to listen just one more time – we must stand guard against totalitarianism.

CEO of Freedom Factory
Chung-ho Kim

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