The ongoing mass protests regarding the import of U.S. beef is becoming a “culture” that I strongly oppose. (They are not opposed to all U.S. beef. Just those that are over 30 months old, because people fear that some may be affected by mad cow disease. The Korean president unexpected signed a deal with Pres Bush on April 18 to resume imports of U.S. beef regardless of the cows’ age.)
I understand why people are angry and are trying to display their emotions through such mass rallies, but I don’t like how they are turning these demonstrations into a carnival- with festivities such as singing and dancing that extend into wee hours. Parents are bringing their children out to these “events” of tens of thousands of people, proudly saying that they are paving the way for a better democracy. In the course of all the activities that are taking place, however, I wonder if people are not forgetting why they are there in the first place. To me, these rallies are so reminiscent of previous candlelight vigils such as those for Hwang Woo-suk or the two girls that were hit by a U.S. army tank.
The scary thing is that while most people are unhappy about the deal, people are also torn about how we should think or deal about the situation. And while some believe that the democratic way is to take to the streets and protest, they are not being open to other people’s opinions about their actions. The extreme manners in which people are abusing others who have differing opinions has reached a frightening peak to the extent that those who are not radical opposers are silenced in ways that are far from rational.
The Internet may give the impression of being a place to freely express ones thoughts, but the backlash that it brings both online and offline, oppresses freedom of speech. This wild populism rampages further online; even now, I feel bullied into staying silent because I am afraid of what could happen to me.