“Darkness cannot defeat light; Falsehood cannot defeat truth; Truth cannot sink; We will not give up.” These are the lyrics from the song, “Truth cannot Sink”, which was composed to commemorate the anniversary of the Sewol Ferry tragedy. Every Saturday, the song is sung aloud by millions of citizens at Gwanghwamun Plaza. People gather together to routinely participate in a candlelight rally to express disappointment and anger toward the government and to demand President Park Geunhye’s resignation. SMT Reporter, Kim Hyuna, recently attended one of the candlelight rallies at Gwanghwamun.
Uproars of Anger
Every Saturday, people assemble at Gwanghwamun Plaza to participate in a candlelight rally as a means of protesting the government scandals that came to public light just last year. Choi Soonsil Gate refers to the unethical intervention into government by Choi Soonsil, a common civilian, and how she managed to monopolize the current administration. She is under investigation on charges of corruption related to her Mir-Foundation, a cultural foundation of Korea, her daughter’s illicit admission to Ewha Women’s University, and her intervention in government and its policies and planning. Koreans view Choi Soonsil, as an evil of society who has abused her relationship with President Park Geunhye by manipulating Park into doing her biding and running the government as Choi demanded. In other words, Choi Soonsil is seen as the puppet master in control of government affairs. Despite this revelation, what South Koreans are truly upset about is the fact that President Park has yet to recognize her faults, denounce Choi, or admit she has committed any wrongdoing. Also, even though millions of citizens are spending their days and nights shivering in freezing cold weather, she refused to resign from her post and turns a cold shoulder to their voices. SMT reporter felt the essence of democracy in Korea slipping way, but at the candlelight rally, she was relieved to sense the fight for true democracy still in the hearts of the public.
The Truth Will Never be Lost
The candlelight rally on January 7th, 2017 was the 11th pan-national activity and the first candlelight rally of 2017. It also marked 998 days since the Sewol Ferry tragedy, which would shortly see its 1000th day anniversary on the following Monday. People gathered and raised their voices for the victims of the Sewol Ferry sinking and to demand Park step down from office. Among the chants were “Park Geunhye should sink and Sewol Ferry should rise.” The rally official began at 4p.m. in the afternoon with a commemoration concert. Artists and singers took to the stage to sing song that encompassed the sadness of the people. At 5p.m., the public investigative committee looking into the Sewol Ferry sinking held a somber ceremony that paid respect to all those that lost their lives and their families. SMT reporter was surprised to see the massive crowd that had formed right from the onset of the candlelight rally. Despite the cold and personal itineraries, people showed up in great numbers to voice their disappointment and anger and to show respect to lost fellow Koreans. At 5:30p.m., the main rally began. With millions of people lining the street around Gwanghwamun plaza, it was difficult to get into the crowd. The police and volunteers present at Gwanghwamun, however, peacefully and without incident moved people in an orderly manner during and after the event. People, themselves, also remained quiet and sat calmly during the protest so that their voices would be heard and the rally would not be blemished by violence. In the end, the protest proved peace overthrows violence. The rally ended peaceful. During the main part of the candlelight rally, Sewol Ferry victims’ family members and friends went on stage to express their feelings and sufferings. One student said she still hurts from the loss of her friend that day. She must live with the fact that she is alive while her friend is dead. Another student said disclosure and hidden facts should be released to the public before the end of 2017 so that everyone who perishemd on the Sewol Ferry could rest peacefully.
Listening to their stories, no one in the crowd was without tears, recalling the event of April 16th, 2014, the day the Sewol Ferry sank. At 7p.m., once the sky darkened, people raised candles high above their heads and marched from Gwanghwamun plaza to Blue House. A number of public organizations and university student unions also came to join in the rally as well. Sookmyung Women’s University’s Emergency Planning Committee was also present at the rally and SMT reporter proudly marched together with them. SMT reporter was deeply moved by the actions of fellow Korean citizens, because despite the cold weather, everyone remained warmhearted and determined in their cries for change and answers. SMT reporter was so touched by the mood at the rally, she believed in Korea. Even if the government has been tainted with corruption and scandal, Korean citizens remain tight in their fight for justice.
Until the Truth Wins the False
After experiencing the candlelight rally, the reporter felt proud of her nation and that citizens were doing their best to let democracy rein by voicing their outrage and standing tall in the presence of dishonesty and shame. People are now fighting for the truth to win the false. Thus, Park should step down and resign from the presidency as the people demand. SMT reporter hopes the truth comes soon and changes for the better are seen in the Korean government.