Netizens Divided over 5.18 Gwangju Uprising

Article from Yonhap News:

Why is ‘Ilbe’ attacking the 5.18 Democratization Movement?


5.18 Gwangju Democratization Movement is frequently disparaged and ridiculed in the online community ‘Daily Best Storage’ (Ilbe). Ilbe users put down 5.18 as a riot and ridicule the victims by likening them to ‘bottom-dwelling fish’. They distinguish 5.18 from other democratization movements and attack it. A research paper analyzing their discourse is receiving attention.

On the 18th, according to the 5.18 Memorial Foundation, Professor Jeong Geun-sik from the Department of Sociology at Seoul National University presented his paper “The changes in the online discourse about 5.18 led by Daily Best Storage” in an academic seminar held by the foundation commemorating the 34th anniversary of the 5.18 Democratization Movement. Prof. Jeong analyzed words used in 101,116 posts on Ilbe’s politics forum between June, 2011 and February, 2014. According to the analysis, on Ilbe, 5.18 is understood as a ‘riot’ where the protesters pointed a gun at the army which was enforcing martial law to serve the nation. Ilbe users claim that the 5.18 protesters were indulging in violence and looting. They praise the army for successfully suppressing a rebellion that intended to overthrow the nation.

If you look at the highly up-voted posts on Ilbe, Jeong explained, they show a unique ‘sense of justice’ about the compensation issue for 5.18 “men of merit”. It is hard to find the sense of indebtedness towards the 5.18 victims, which is common among older generations. In their view, even though 5.18 was a riot, the men of merit received excessive compensation compared to the veterans who got injured in the Korean War. They argue that even if it was a democratization movement, any debt owed to them has expired because their honor was restored during the democratization process in the 80’s and 90’s. On the other hand, they claim that there are still debts to be paid to the injured Korean War veterans who fought against North Korea’s invasion and became part of the low-income elderly today while the North Korean regime is still threatening South Korea.

They also show deep-rooted regionalism and a distorted sense of empathy. Ilbe users express their disgust and cynicism by defining Gwangju as their enemy and regarding Jeolla-do as a foreign country. They associate 5.18 advocates with the progressive camp. They regard the “progressives” in Korean politics as “pro-North Korean”. They support the “5.18 North Korean intervention” theory. They think of themselves as democratic crusaders who are correcting distorted modern history. They express sympathy for the martial law military who suppressed the 5.18 protesters.

Prof. Jeong explained that their sentiment stems from the elitist belief that common people cannot think for themselves and the jungle law that young people have internalized. He warned that this phenomenon is not only confined to Ilbe. He said, “It could be a consequence of laziness by everyone who pioneered our democracy. Marginalizing Ilbe as a ‘haven for losers or psychos’ is a poor excuse to avoid responsibility.”


Note: Popular comments on Naver for similar topics can be vastly different at different times whereas popular comments on Daum show a very consistent orientation with few exceptions when it comes to political subjects. According to Internet Trend and Korean Click, Naver is the most used web portal among Korean netizens.

Comments from Naver:

I don’t agree with disparaging 5.18 itself but I do think those politicians who are still exploiting it deserve to be mocked.


If Honam [Jeolla-do] people want to be respected, they shouldn’t act like they saved the Republic of Korea through 5.18 and demand compensation. Otherwise, it becomes less genuine.


It’s not just Ilbe. All others dislike them, too;;


There is reasonable possibility that it was an “incident” rather than a democratization movement. Minority reports are alive and well. How can we only blindly call it a democratization movement?


Only Ilbe? You must be kidding. It is everyone who’s not from Jeolla-do.


Saying it was for democratization is bullshit…. It was the Gwangju incident at best…


Thank you martial law army for protecting our country.


We all know these so-called experts hardly make sense. This is just ordinary citizens’ backlash against the leftists who have been acting all righteous with their own standards. As you know well, those leftists bullshit that there wouldn’t have been democracy if it weren’t for them and insist only their claims are the absolute truth. They force their own idea of democracy on you. It’s so annoying.


It is Ilbe’s overall opinion that 5.18 was a riot, but it was just one user who likened the dead protesters to bottom-dwelling fish. Let’s not exaggerate.


Then what about the 1992 LA riots? Was that also a democratization movement? Professor Jeong Geun-sik, please answer.


In what’s supposed to be a democratization movement, how could they kill policemen, set fire, attack prisons, steal armored vehicles and weapons to fight the army??? Someone should knock some sense into them.


Look at how Gwangju people are protesting with torches on the streets right now. [Protesting against the government’s handling of the Sewol ferry accident.]


They should be able to explain how they stole 5,000 guns and 300,000 rounds of ammo to stage an uprising.


‘Movement’ is a non-violent method that Mahatma Gandhi advocated to realize social justice. 5.18 was not a movement but just a ‘Gwangju incident’. It was never a movement because they attacked prisons and stole guns from police stations. Gwangju people should stop distorting history and be honest.


If I say “In my opinion, the Gwangju incident was absolutely not just for democratization”, then would Gwangju people kidnap me and beat me? I was really scared when I heard on the news that a Gwangju person went all the way to Busan to kill someone by stabbing. [Referring to the “DC Inside Politics Gallery murder incident“.] I guess they just kill you if you have a different opinion, ke.

Comments from Daum:

Ilbe? They do idiotic things to draw attention and it’s natural for them because everyone is like that there. Aren’t they competing for who’s the most trashy? The best trash becomes the best posts.


Those bugs couldn’t develop a sense of empathy they should’ve learned by age 7. Trash.


Because it’s Ilbe. They are crazy.


Why?? Because they are Ilbe bugs~ Attention-seeking brainless insensible trash in this society~~ If Korea was a normal country, the authorities would shut down Ilbe and punish the users to warn people~ But the Republic of Korea is abnormal~


There is no great reason. They are just idiots. They just want to bash it for the hell of it.


It’s funny that even Yonhap News is bashing Ilbe, ke ke ke. Lee Myung-bak-Geun-hye also acknowledged 5.18 as a democratization movement. The purpose of Ilbe is to divde the nation by bashing Jeolla-do. Look at how they criticize using non-existing facts, ke ke.


Just what you would expect from Ilbe bugs. But the reality is that the site is a haven for unemployed losers. They were even punished for making fun of the Sewol ferry victims.


First, let’s talk about the Ilbe bug government that lets Ilbe bugs prosper.


Why don’t we just have a devastating civil war? You dirty Gyeongsang-do species and old conservative nutjob New Right bastards. Such trash. Let’s talk about national politics again after we wipe you off the map. /spit!!!

let it go girl님:

This issue should be in the public discourse through public media to help young students grow with a normal way of thinking… Currently in this country, that is hard to happen… Lack of a sense of debt and empathy…that is right!


The traits of Ilbe users, according to professor Chin Jung-kwon: “Social losers are frustrated by their desire for power. They begin to identify themselves with powerful people. In that delusion, they voluntarily become hunting dogs that attack socially weak people for the powerful even if nobody told them to do so. In other words, since they have nothing to be proud of themselves, they create a delusion where they can feel proud of others’ status.”


Ilbe trash is cancer that would learn only after getting beaten, stabbed and shot just like what happened in Gwangju during 5.18.


Simply because they are bugs.


Ilbe is literally full of bugs. Whatever comes out of that site is all bullshit that doesn’t even need to be taken seriously.


If it weren’t for people in Honam [Jeolla-do] during the Imjin War, Korea wouldn’t even exist today, you bastards. Well, these SOBs probably wish Takagi [Park Chung-hee] was a governor-general of Korea during the Japanese occupation. Then he would not even have had to stage a coup, right?

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