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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Justice under the rug

Unsurprisingly disappointed by politicians of both sides who decided to sweep justice under the rug: the Democratic Party by failing to deliver LEE Jae-myung to justice, YOON Suk-yeol by chosing closer ties with Tokyo over justice for the victims of Imperial Japan's forced labor.

At least, a higher proportion of Korea's Democratic lawmakers chose the high road than their American Republican counterparts: whereas the GOP overwhelmingly supported Trump when he faced a well deserved impeachment. only a tiny majority helped the Korean Trump preserve his immunity. Across the country, a vast majority was in favor of LEE's arrest, but the party made the wrong decision, and had the gall to pretend that democracy was under attack because for the first time, an opposition leader was investigated and issued an arrest warrant, whilst LEE precisely seeked party leadership for the sole purpose of eluding justice one more time! LEE even selfishly stole the safest seat of an incumbent in Incheon to guarantee his personal survival, letting the rest of the ship sink during the elections... 

As we've already seen, this is clearly not the party of KIM Dae-jung and ROH Moo-hyun anymore, but a group controlled by a clique that betrayed their ideals of justice and democracy, and only care about their own interests. I wish the party had seized the opportunity to cleanse their ranks from these thugs. Now lets hope the truly progressive side, that proved it still existed during this vote, will gain enough momentum to reform the party, restore decency, and build a more sustainable, inclusive platform.

Of course, Korea's right remains another kind of mess, but internal debates are a bit more public, even if YOON Suk-yeol managed to get his guy on top for next year's election (not sure KIM Gi-hyeon is a future-proof leader, but the selection of THAE Yong-ho in the Supreme Council sends an interesting message to Pyongyang elites: you can make it in the South if you reject the North Korean regime). If YOON decided to make the most of his lameduckhood to push for reforms that are not necessarily popular, he just played a very risky and unpopular card on the forced labor issue: the victims will receive a financial compensation, but paid by Korean companies that benefited from the controversial 1965 treaty, and without any apology from Japan.

From the start, YOON's eagerness to appease Tokyo seemed heading in this kind of direction. I'm all for diplomacy and warming ties with our neighbors, but I'm not okay with eluding key issues. Again, the victims of Imperial Japan's institutional Forced labor and sexual slavery never received any official apologies from any Japanese government (non binding declarations by individuals? yes, but that's not the same, and I'm not even talking about Shinzo Abe's anti-apologies - see "Decoding the Abe Statement: "why apologize for crimes Japan never committed?"). 

 YOON Suk-yeol was not elected for his obsolete Miltonfriedmanian program but to restore some sense of justice, particularly following the PARK Geun-hye scandals and the MOON Jae-in betrayals. Eluding resolution can't be the solution.

Seoul Village 2023
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