Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Park Geun-hye: "The best possible choice"?

Park Geun-hye officially declared her candidacy for this year's presidential elections, and the polls give her a very comfortable lead, even over Ahn Cheol-soo (who doesn't seem in a hurry to join the race).

I've already said I didn't think that a "Kim The Third - Park The Second" face-off would send the best possible message about Korean democracy. And I was not really surprised to hear how she described her father's 1961 coup: "unavoidable, the best possible choice, and the right decision".

Can you trust someone who at the same time pretends to be "the best possible choice" for South Korea, and describes a military coup as "the best possible choice" for South Korea?

If Park Chung-hee achieved major feats for Korea, his dictatorial regime didn't respect democracy or human rights. If Park Chung-hee himself was not as corrupt as most dictators, he didn't always took the right decisions, starting with his collaboration with Japanese occupants. I noticed how, ahead of PGH's candidacy, a museum in his honor had been inaugurated, and how every critic of the Great Man caused reactions within ultra-conservative circles, who try to rewrite the coup as a democratic revolution.

I'd be curious to know what Mrs Park thinks about national reconciliation, or about the termination of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Seoul Village 2012
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  1. Thanks for good writing. IMO PGH will not win the election due to high turn-out of young generations.

    All of a sudden, you reminds me of the professor Roger August Leverrier (여동찬), who passed away last year in France. I read his autobiography in the newspaper. I respect him a lot. I had an opportunity to attend his lecture in a big auditorium about Korean culture. I was overwhelmed by his knowledge and incredible command of Korean.

    He was a pro-Korean democracy during Park's reign. He wrote a column in the Korean newspaper, criticizing NY Times(?)column criticizing Korean democracy. He said in the column "Seoul under Korean democracy is at least safer than New York." Then in response to his column, the US ambassador complained to the French ambassador about his column.

    And then the French ambassador summoned him to the French embassy to warn him not to support the Park's regime. In the French embassy, he argued with the French ambassador and left the embassy, saying to the French ambassador "None of your business. Don't push me. I am who I am."

    Last month Yi Cham(이참), the president of Korean Tourism Corp, who is a naturalized Korean from Germany, wrote a column in Donga Ilbo. "I was inspired by the professor Leverrier(여동찬) when I met him. I was overwhelmed by his immense knowledge and outstanding command of Korean. He is my role model and now I am just following his footsteps in Korea."

    A great French man, who loved Korea deep in his heart, has gone for ever. His memories, however, are still alive in many people's mind.

  2. Thank you for your message. I must confess I never heard of Leverrier (and my command of Korean is very poor!).
    PGH can win, just like the conservatives won the legislative elections: as of today, there is no consistent platform in the opposition, beyond pure opposition. But if someone arrives with a clear and positive message, change can come.


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