[KS] Reminder: Statement from Professors in North America Concerned about Korean Democracy

BakerDon ubcdbaker at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 10 14:06:29 EDT 2009

I was disappointed to see that the North Korea card is again being played against those who are calling for true democracy in South Korea. For decades, totalitarian rule in North Korea was used as an excuse for authoritarian rule in South Korea.  That was an illegitimate argument then and it remains an illegitimate argument today. Citizens of South Korea have the right to call for democracy in the government which rules their country without having to make any comparisons between their own government and one which does not govern them. Similarly, those of us living in North America have the right to call for true democracy in a government that is allied with our own without making any comparisons to a government which is not an ally. 

As for the complexity of the issues in dispute, it seems to me that freedom of assembly is essential in a true democracy. A government which denies permission for a peaceful protest is not acting in a democratic fashion. I don't see what is particularly complex about that. The possibility of violence by a few participants in that protest is not enough of a justification for denying the many who wish to engage in a peaceful protest the right to do so. 

Don Baker

Don Baker
Canada-Korea Business Council Chair 
Korean Civilization

Department of Asian Studies

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2

don.baker at ubc.ca

Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 19:17:12 -0700
From: kirkdon at yahoo.com
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Subject: Re: [KS] Reminder: Statement from Professors in North America	Concerned about Korean Democracy

Thanks to Scott Burgeon for passing on that commentary in the Korea Herald. That pretentiously overwritten statement that people are asked to sign assumes a self-righteousness that may not be altogether justified. It doesn't begin to recognize the complexity of the discussion, the existence of quite different views  -- or the often violent challenge posed for months by last year's anti-U.S.-beef demonstrators to the democratic principles they claim to uphold. Nor, as the Korea Herald commentary noted, would any such omniscient statement writers, in defense of the democracy they purport to love, consider for a moment decrying North Korea's violations of human rights, much less its nuclear and missile tests and the challenge they pose to democracy.. Heaven forbid such criticism would be relevant to any nefarious
 doings in the people's paradise where democracy reigns above mortal criticism.. 
Donald Kirk

--- On Tue, 6/9/09, J.Scott Burgeson <jsburgeson at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: J.Scott Burgeson <jsburgeson at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [KS] Reminder: Statement from Professors in North America Concerned about Korean Democracy
To: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 8:53 PM

In the interest of "democracy" and "freedom of speech," a counterview on the subject of South Korea's allegedly disappearing democracy:


--J. Scott Burgeson,


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