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Tuesday,November 24,2020
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A Shout-Out for Justice or Whine for Interest?

   
 
   
 
When I think of the word “protest,” I usually think of the 70’s and 80’s when many university students were protesting. However, today many people protest peacefully with candles in their hands. I  felt that Korea was becoming more and more advanced and showed more mature citizenship even when they protested. But this changed when I entered the university. Here I read an article that explained why candlelight vigils were illegal, even if they were peaceful. Even though the protests were done with no violence, they could still be illegal based on a nations’ law. After entering university, I came across  a scene of a student protesting at the president’s office which the Student Council had occupied. Of course the cause of such  action might be reasonable, but the action itself cannot be accepted as legal. I started to think about protests more and began comparing today’s protests with those of the past. The recent protest from an student group called Deungbawi seemed to be peaceful and passionate. While some students might think that such peaceful actions would not affect the university at all, I believe the actions will accumulate, and the results could have a lasting impact in the future. It is much better to do something than nothing.  Students in these days tend to sit and watch even though they realize some  problems, rather than actively participate in a movement.


If they want to perceive what they demand, protests by students should never be violent. We are living in a modern society where people are expected to respect others. Therefore, the society expects something peaceful and rational from university students. If not, people might say that students are thoughtless to express themselves or ask what they want aggressively without understanding the real world. Students should act like students, which made me think that violent protests are negative 99 percent of the time. I once argued with my friend who does active and effective protests that involve violence. He insisted that without visible action and stimulation, the people receiving and watching the protest would not feel the need to change. Peaceful and rational behavior cannot coexist with protests since it is another kind of war to achieve what the protestors need and want. However, I have a totally different perspective. When we think of history and protest for independence of our nation,  big Hurrah Movements, one of which took place on March 1st, 1919, come into our minds. Also, Gandhi’s nonviolent protest became extremely significant that those who follow Gandhi’s method a Gandhian. When we consider the French Revolution, we can see that the intention was good, but the result did nothing but bring about the need of a leader like Napoleon. There might be effective protests with violence, but it does not mean that violence is always needed for protests. Like the examples I have mentioned, protests without violence can be effective too.
I see the possibilities of rational and intellectual movements at Dongguk University. Even though protesting or raising our voices without strong action might be difficult, that should be the form our students should pursue. I believe such actions will influence the whole society too, as the students who raise their voices through nonviolence will enter the society, affecting the people around who observe those students. Based on this influence, I hope South Korea can become a nation where nonviolent protest can work out effectively. As a conclusion, I wish to quote the famous saying from Gandhi. “Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.”

Song Jun-hak  .

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