When is the beginning of democracy in Korea? After June 10th democratic struggle in 1987, we can vote presidents ourselves as the democratic way. To inquire the story of June 10th democratic struggle, The Seowon News interviewed professor, Kim Ji-hyeong of history education.
-Seowon News: We knew about that situation indirectly through articles, books and movies so could you tell us direct story about that social background or situation? We want to know how university students think the struggle, how do school class proceed without students who participate in struggle, and there is some particular community of students who participate in struggle.
-Kim Ji-hyeong: The political situation was different after the result of a general election in 1985. The result of election made so-called the political situation of ‘constitutional amendment’ that changes a law for country for weakening opposition party that Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung lead. People want to elect presidents in a direct way. .Thus, while the overall social democratization struggle began to rise through the demand of direct election system, June 10th democratic struggle occurred. In this process, some students such as Park Jong-chul and Lee Han-yeol were sacrificed and their painful death caused the fear of many people and other students. In essence, it should be said that the national anger of the Chun Doo-hwan regime, which battled the Gwang-ju democratization movement in 1980, would have exploded at this time.
At this time, university students organized a local community centered on the student council. For example, college students’ associations including Seowon university, in the Chung-buk area lead to joint gatherings and street struggles among college students. In other words, it should be said that official student organization such as department council, college council, and student council was a central force participating in rallies and demonstrations during the June 10th democratic struggle. Furthermore, there were student activists who act privately to avoid the surveillance and oppression of the military regime. Also, it is evaluated that they and official student councilors have been organizing the relationship, leading to the student movement at the time. In the case of large-scale rallies, students declared refusal or absence of classes and participated in a street-struggle. In particularly, during the 20 days from the June 10th democratic struggle to the June 29th declaration, many students participated in street struggle everyday so that the classes did not work properly in most universities in the country.
-SN : Are there some books or movie which is districted about June 10th democratic struggle? What if there are any?
-KJH: Of course, literary works and movies are not genres that deal only facts, so it is difficult to say that is a problem. However, it does not match that the way to understand some of the protagonists in the perception of the democratic uprising in June or to emphasize specific characteristics with historical facts. We should remember many people who participated in democratic demonstration according to the spirit of the times without names and light. It is because such simple democratic practice can be seen as a true driving force for developing democracy in Korea today.
-SN : Are there some books you want to recommend to read or watch books and movies about the June 10th democratic struggle?
-KJH: I want to recommend a book, <<The father of the June>>. It is the genuine book that deals with the life of Park Jeong-ki, the father of Park Jong-chul in the format of report. He dead in last year and this book have been dealing with how his life has changed since his son was cruelly killed by the water torture of the military regime, and how he was trying to replace his son’s untimely life. It can reflect on the present and the future with the eyes of the most severe victim in the bitter grief era.