SEOUL, Sep. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – Members of “Ilbe,” short for “Ilgan Best Storage House,” South Korea’s well known ultra-right Internet community website, have come up with their best answer to long-running hunger strikes staged by the Sewol Ferry incident victims and their supporters at the Gwanghwanmun Gate in downtown Seoul.
Since July 14, some of the bereaved family members of the sunken ferry Sewol accidents have staged a hunger strike asking the government to legislate a special law empowering a fact-finding investigation into the accident. Their hunger strike continued during Pope Francis’ historic visit to South Korea last month and the Pope met the grieving families in person during his Seoul visit.
Kim Young Oh, a father who lost his daughter in the accident, became famous for his diehard protesting, surviving his 40-day fast, sparking a heated controversy across the nation whether it is a right thing to do to let the hunger strike go in this way and it is justifiable to pass a special law regarding the Sewol ferry incident. Opposition to the special law said the overuse of passing a special law might result in another confusion in the nation already plagued by severe social conflicts.
Now, Ilbe members, who stirred many controversies whenever politically sensitive issues came up, have decided to hold their version of “protest” to express their strong objection to the Sewol family’s hunger strikes, saying this apparently everlasting hunger strikes are as good as a PR stunt, making non-sense to their eyes.
So, they held a kind of banquet for the royal supporters to their cause: The Ilbe members ate fried chicken, ramen, pizza, etc. under parasols installed for them by none other than the National Task Force at the Gwanghwamun Gate who have arranged for the hunger strike protesters at the Gwanghwamun Gate from the beginning.
As if their ‘eating performance’ were not enough, they have also edited together audio clips of the voice of Roh Moo Hyun, the former President who committed suicide but Ilbe’s regular bullied subject. It is well known that Ilbe members often ridicule the late Roh’s 2009 suicide. They even abused the late president Roh in foul language in their slogan shouting. Here is the scene recorded by a citizen and is spread around rapidly among Korean Internet users, drawing intense criticism for their reckless behavior.
When the news regarding Ilbe’s ‘eating protest’ made headlines in the nation, several celebrities showed discomfort over the event. Newscaster Kim Seong-jun with SBS, a major terrestrial TV channel, criticized it on his Twitter, “Freedom of expression should be guaranteed. But they should realize how inhumane and vulgar their performance was in making a statement like that.”
Lady Jane, a K-pop idol, mentioned on her Twitter, “It’s horrifying to see those who have no idea of what they are doing right now flock together,” drawing sympathy from a rising number of her fans and Internet users, according to local reports.
By M.H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)