Sunday, May 25, 2008

Images of Korea

This famed image is from the Gwangju Uprising in late May of 1980. Students and citizens rose up in protest to the Chun military dictatorship and took control of the city, only to be crushed by the South Korean Army soon after they took up arms. This uprising to widely accepted as one of the most violent, but successful democratic movements of post-occupation Korea.

From GOPF,

"The photo is of real estate agent Choi Yang-min, now 54, who lives in Kwangju. On May 10, 1980, at the age of 26, he got married in Mokpo. On May 16 he came to Kwangju to visit his wife’s family, and met relatives there the next day. He was staying at a motel near Geumnamro, the street that would be central to the uprising. His sister, Yang-mi, then 24, was also visiting.

On May 18 he was resting in his motel when he heard slogans calling for the end of martial law being shouted outside. He saw people breaking apart sidewalk blocks and carrying them away, and thinking something must be happening, helped them. Then he went to a restaurant, which was surrounded by paratroopers. He finished his lunch quickly and went outside, where four soldiers attacked him with their clubs. He was bleeding from his head and his sister rushed out to help him and try to stop the bleeding. He was taken by the 31st Division but with the help of a friend was set free. He needed 27 stitches"