Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Police Line - Do not cross...please

I have to say I have seen rallies, protests, around the world and it almost seems counter culture to really complain about anything in South Korea. Yes, in Seoul, they can have the large turn outs to voice their disputes publicly. Even when they do so, very little in the way of violence ever seems to happen. The crowds are not treated with excessive force, but this display of what I assume where workers on strike near the entrance of a department store was the first time I had witnessed any sort of public display. The thin orange police line tape seemed just obligatory, almost amusing.
A few police officers were posted, just primarily to ensure that traffic continued in an orderly fashion. The absence of riot gear and weapons was a stark contrast to what you see in other parts of the world. A total absence of emotion on both sides. Just one group of people that wanted the local community to know that they were not happy about their present situation.
A man sat passively with literature at a makeshift table, watching the crowd come together with orchestrated chants as some of the members in the crowd clashed their cymbals and raised and lowered signs in unison. To be honest, it sounded more like a pep rally than a strike or a protest. Key personnel would take turns leading the crowd, like a cheerleader, with such order and singularity of voice. What mob mentality? There was no mob to begin with.
Just a peaceful walk during a weekend, watching these voices of opposition, basically saying, "Please listen to us if it matters to you." Yes, it was just a touch surreal. Possibly more surreal to realize that my western eyes had been too used to people resorting to violence just to be heard.


Deborah said...

Marilyn, It is a different world than ours, isn't it? To live under such imposed silence must be torture. I love the way you started the article with positives. Your descriptions of the market and the vendors, along with your photography made me feel as if I were walking beside you. Thank you for a wonderful post, I'll be following and visiting often!
Much Love,

Marilyn said...

Thank you Deborah for your kind words. I really appreciate it. Yes, it is a different world.