Thursday, June 5, 2008
Protest or family fun?
I found the photo to the left on website of The Hankyoreh, an independent Korean newspaper. Shots like this only confirm my opinion that the recent vigils and protests in opposition of the U.S. beef import deal have become less and less about U.S. beef, and more about the thrill of complaining . . . about something, anything. Sure, many Koreans are upset, and rightfully so, that the government is acting more like a dictatorship than a democracy. The U.S. beef import deal did come up suddenly and it sure did look like Lee Myung-bak was bowing at the feet of U.S. interests. But as the protests get bigger, longer, and more vocal, the arguments against U.S. beef aren't getting any more convincing. Students are relishing the boycott of classes to protest issues many of them don't understand. Photos from rallies show kids thrilled to be playing with fire. Meanwhile, online scaremongering and baseless rumors about the safety of U.S. beef are inticing more people to jump on the bandwagon every day. I believe Koreans should be concerned about their health and absolutly should expect their government to serve in their best interests (and I really don't care if anyone eats U.S. beef), but the fad vigils aren't projecting an image of a well-informed public.