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S. KOREA. 12.20/Last Day's Struggle Report

by KCTU/ETU-MB Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2004 at 5:12 AM

After MSSC (Myeong-dong Sit-in Struggle Collective) finished the sit-in strike the fight against exploitation and opression is continuing.


First of all our yesterday’s struggle rally was, even not as much people as we expected joined, was color- and powerful.

But just let’s start with the beginning. Last Friday in the evening in front of “Dongwha” building, downtown Seoul, near Gwanghwamun, around 300 people gathered to demand the abolishing of the infamous National “Security” Law (about that it was already reported in previous articles). With this rally they also wanted to prepare the, for the next day planned mass rally against NSL. On an announcement on the entrance site of KCTU’s home page it was written, that they expect 100.000 people.

On Saturday afternoon some Koreans and Haythem Zalzala, an activist from Iraq, he was invited as witness for the International War Crime Tribunal, held before last weekend in Seoul, had a discussion and interview.

Actually he was living long time in London (GB) - here he was a doctor - but short before the beginning of the aggression against the Iraq he went back to his home country.
In Iraq, after the end of the “official” war he was an officer in the city municipality in Baghdad, but a while later – because he had to learn, that they were just puppets on the occupiers mercy.
He started to work for the International Red Cross. His work there he describe as very dangerous. Several times his team came under fire of occupiers and their opponents – one time he was wounded.
Asked about the situation after the “liberation” Haythem said that the most of the people were happy that S. Hussein was toppled, but when they had to learn, that all the promises, the “liberators” made before – for example Bush said in a speech to the Iraqis: “You all know Dubai! In one Year Iraq will be much wealthier as they now” – were just empty phrases.
Not long time later the first frustrated people took the weapons and turned the against the “liberators”
On the question if he can say what the majority of the population is thinking about the resistance Haythem said that the most of the people believe now that only by force the occupation will end.
Asked if he know who is the resistance he said that only the two wings of Islam providing resistance fighters/groups. On our objection that this, if the resistance could be victorious, could lead to a dangerous situation, because possibly they would not give up the power to the people of Iraq, he agreed, but “They are the only one which are fighting. All the other groups, even with revolutionary programs, they are just talking.”
Especially after the so-called election in the coming January he expects more violence, more suffer for the Iraqi ordinary people. “The reason will be, that the main Islamic groups will call for an election boycott and later they will not recognize the result” Haythem said. He worries that if there will be neither a mass uprising, supporting the resistance, nor the occupiers are able to calm down the situation, it could lead only in many years of attacks and counter attacks, even in the total chaos. Extremely shocking he thinks that many people nowadays back-long themselves to the years under the dictatorship of Hussein” He said: “But I can understand them, because under Hussein there were no car bombs, no air attacks – if you was quiet, no demanding democracy – you were able to live an undisturbed life.”
Asked about the South Korean troops there he described the current situation like that: "The Korean government Argument that the troops there are helping the Iraqi people is complete stupid. The troops are staying in Irbil, in the territories controlled since 15 years by the Kurdish Peshmerga. You must imagine this area like Europe - a kind of developed area. The people there they don’t need foreign troops.” Because of this, Haythem continued, the South Korean troops until now didn’t kill Iraqis. But in the future it can be possible, that the occupiers, if the situation went out of control in the Iraqi main land, can order them to join the combats. “And than, of course, they also will take part in the ongoing massacres” he finished.
On the end we promised to stay in touch to each other and Haythem offered to update the activists here with the news about the situation in his country.

On Saturday in the late afternoon the mass rally against NSL took place. But in contradiction to the organizers wishes or dreams the number of people who joined the protest was much less as the expected 100.000: between 8.000 (own estimate) and 15.000 (Voice of the People/민중의 소리).
The culture program on the rally was really good, especially the traditional drum performance. And the revolutionary expression dance group “Wild Flower” gave just their best.

Unfortunately also this rally was an opportunity for representatives from the governing party to change from their other daily dirty tricks. After nearly three hours on the final celebration the NSL was sent (symbolically) to hell.
Here some more impressions about the event.

To celebrate the International Day of Migrant Worker yesterday we, KCTU/ETU-MB, held a rally on Yeouido, near the National Assembly. Because of the dangerous situation – still migration office’s man hunting is continuing – just few of our comrades were able to join. But lots of Korean students, unionists and political activists participated. Undisputed the All Together (DHKK) representatives were the biggest group of supporters (Thanx a lot, comrades!). But also DLP (Democratic Labor Party) supporting group Minjine (MJN), Peace Wind, of course Struggle and Rice (S&R), NOHAK and many other groups joined the rally.

Beside a small but nice culture program many speeches were held, demanding the fulfilling of our demands. Stand out here the speech from Dan Byeong-ho, the former president of KCTU, nowadays he is DLP MP in the National Assembly and the representative of the struggle alliance against NSL (perhaps the connection between migrant workers struggle and S. Korean political struggle in now carried out?!). Both highlighted the common goals of our common struggles – just true the motto Migrant workers, Korean workers - united, never we will defeated!
In the night we had to learn, that in Itari, a smaller city in Nepal, before yesterday a huge manifestation took place to mark the International Day of Migrant Workers. On a culture festival there more than 7.000 people participated. The largest delegation came from S. Korea. We heard, that Eom Gwang-hyeon (hem) got a lot of enthusiastic applause, the Korean revolutionary expression dances - even it is really nice to see - it needs a kind of acclimatization for other cultures...
Last but not least, it seems that the struggle of the activists, who were defending their homes in Ilsan/Pung-dong are victorious. Just see that! Finally here some more pictures from ETU-MB’s yesterday’s rally


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