A friend of mine, a Korea who is often not very Korean at all, were talking about the protestors who got violent with the riot police last week. Despite what I may thing of the police in this country, I do feel that when you hit a police officer, with bats and shovels no less, then you deserve to be beaten down in the street AND thrown in to prison for a year or two. You might not like the police, but there are lines that you don’t cross.
My friend surprised me and seemed to condone the behaviour. I felt hatred radiating from her side as she said that the police did terrible things during the dictatorship years and the people are angry with them for that.
I can understand how the people may be aggrieved. South Africa’s history over the last 100 year or so had the British concentration camp, similar to the Nazi camp where women and children died just to get the men to stop fighting. We had the suppression of a people and their language, only to have those people turn around after freedom and do the same thing to the black people of the country. Abuse of black people was accepted practice and there were more than one massacre, often with the blessing of Christian leaders. The situation has been lightly reversed again, but racism is now showing its ugly face in an even bigger way big way with, at my last count, 63 foreigners dead. A few days back and Indian shop keeper was threatened and told to leave the country. Indians, as a group, has been in the country for over 100 years. I can just wonder if this will extend to white people soon because we are blamed for every bad thin in the country.
I can honestly say, for reasons that I don’t expect most non South Africans to understand, that I don’t like African Black people. Despite this, as well as recent and past history, you will not find me violently taking it out on some innocent young black man who just happened to be part of the institution that years ago did something that makes me angry.
I pointed out to my friend that the riot police were all just a few years younger than her. Their parents and grandparents had to suffer the same horrors that hér parents and grandparents did. They went to school in basically the same world that she grew up in, and likely have the same feeling as most other Koreans, regarding Japan. Why then is it OK to take out your anger towards the president and the police from decades ago on these innocent young men?
I got the feeling that she did the Korean thing and stopped arguing just to avoid the argument, but I still sensed the anger and hatred against the police.