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Nov. 17  2018
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Christian's Photo Column 

[Essay] The struggle against the National Security Law needs a peoples' movement

Christian is a German journalist, photographer, and activist. He joined the resistance movement in Palestine for one year, and was once an honored guest at the Pyongyang International Film Festival. He now resides in Seoul.

Source  :  Base21



by Christian/Base21 Media Activist
dvs-b@t-online.de

The title of one Base21 article reads, "Don't use the National Security Law to suppress the Internet!" Of course, the NSL is nonsense. What else the South Korean government could use that "law" for, other than as an instrument of oppression.

In every subway train in Seoul you see posters from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) demanding that you, if you know a North Korean spy or even a "radical leftwing criminal", to call 113--the emergency number of NIS. For the denounced "leftwing criminal" they offer you 30,000 won, or $25. So, they are serious.

Every country has laws for oppressing the political--mainly leftwing-- opposition. But in South Korea it뭩 something special. Born in the early Cold War period, the NSL was used to prevent North Korean and communist influences to penetrate this extremely anti-communist country. But the cold war is over--nearly in every country. Not on the Korean peninsula.

According to the law the South Korean government, the ruling class and even DJ Kim have violated the NSL. According to the NSL, the whole "Sunshine Policy" is illegal. And remember the Busan games, earlier this month.

In South Korea it뭩 forbidden to show symbols of the (North Korean) enemy. And what did the people in Busan do? They produced North Korean flags and showed them in public. This is a criminal act according to the NSL.

Usually you뭗 go to prison for years for such a "crime." So, it뭩 clear, that the NSL is completely idiotic! Even the press of the South Korean ruling class like "JoongAng Ilbo" found out, that there is a large contradiction between the claim and reality.

But the contradiction applies only for the ruling class in South Korea. For ordinary Koreans there뭩 no contradiction. This year alone, 258 people were indicted for violating the NSL, over 80 percent of which were students. Some of them will stay for years in prison. This could also happen in this crazy case, reported by JoongAng Ilbo on September 30: "Local police arrested a 56-year-old man Sunday on charges of violating the National Security Act by selling North Korean flags and T-shirts in front of the Busan Asiad Main Stadium before the opening ceremony."

All of this makes it clear that the abolishment of the NSL is necessary. But to make fall the NSA we need a movement--a large, powerful peoples' movement.

Last weekend around 450 people protested against the NSL. This in a city with over 10 million inhabitants, in a country with nearly 50 million citizens. If this is the beginning of a movement it could be good. But if this is the whole movement, in 50 years we뭠l still have the lovely NSL.

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