Home » Seoul 2010  


Watch also...


Save our friends from the hands of the South Korea

Help us fight the oppressive G20 regime right now!!

Dear friends,

We are writing this letter to ask for your help. As you know, the Korean government is hosting the G20 Seoul Summit from November 11th to the 12th in Seoul. And now we are witnessing ridiculous ordeals that this two day “global” event is putting us through.

We are being bombarded daily by the media, be it print, broadcast or cyber, with special features celebrating the greatness of the G20. Civil servants are being mobilized to clean up the streets. And all of the sudden they are making a scene out of teaching children economics. The police have suddenly begun strictly enforcing “basic law and order” to show off to the heads of G20 how serene this 10 million strong capitalist capital of the streets, and the crackdown and deportation process of undocumented migrant workers whom the authorities suspect might harbor ‘terrorists’ among them is more violent than ever. The situation appears more and more like a flashback of the American supported authoritarian regime that we overthrew in 1987. Indeed the whole nation is being held in a state of alertness and a total warfare where currency and stocks rise and fall instead of planes, tanks and bombs.

Pic: Seoul

A special law that will be in effect only for this month has been instituted ahead of this summit. This act allows the military force to be mobilized to keep the “public security.” What we have instead is the prohibitive curtailing of basic civil rights.

It was under these social circumstances that one of the members of our collective drew graffiti on pro-G20 propaganda posters.

Graffiti sur une affiche du G20 a Seoul

His intention was merely to poke fun at the ludicrous state of the nation. He just spray painted a figure of a rat in such a position so it appears to hold a traditional lamp once used to greet the noble ruling class in pre-modern Korea (the lamp was the central design of the poster which read "The turning point to light up the future-G20 Seoul Summit: The World Eyes Turn to the Republic of Korea) (See the attached image file). While the rat figure was a visual pun on the pronunciation of ‘G’ that resembles the sound for the word ‘rat’ in Korean, it was a representation of the president Lee Myung-bak who won the nickname “rat” due to his facial appearance as well as untrustworthy track record as a politician and businessman (he was once a CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction).

In any case, the police tried to seek an arrest warrant for our friend based on their suspicion (they never cease to be suspicious!!) that there would be a meticulous and organized conspiracy to obstruct the grand national event. But the truth of the matter is that he just made a graffiti on the posters to voice opposition to the government mobilization of the entire populous in service of the summit. Now as we observe the threatening maneuvers of the police and the prosecution I think he is in a dangerous situation. In this state of hyper-security, the government is targeting organizations where members have openly criticized the government and is using this case as an excuse to further its attacks on the “Research Machine Suyu+Nomo”, to which the accused happen to participate. This research group is a commune located in Seoul, with a membership consisting mostly of precariously employed academics and students. Being formed at the time of the Asian currency crisis of 1996, it considers itself a member of the broader network of socially conscious collectives or communes that have sprouted across this country and beyond under the neo-liberalist globalization scheme.

Police and government will hit as hard as they believe they can get away with and that is why we request the expression of your solidarity in order to “convince” the authorities that it is not in their advantage to do it, and also to encourage us (we like to know that people across the world are concerned with us). To do so, we invite you to write personnally to the people affected by this repression (the main accused is named Jeong-soo Park) at suyunomo@daum.net, to let know your opinion directly to the Korean autorities or to address the Korean public. Think about the Korean representatives (ambassy, consulates, (para)govermental organisations, foundations, large corporations, etc.) as well as any other means (journal, radio, public spaces) to reach the Korean community in your country.

An interesting way to express your solidarity could be to take yourself actions refering to the actions the Korean autorities are attempting to repress, like to do graffiti re-using the play on words “rats-20”. To do so, you can make a stencil (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stencil_graffiti for explanations on stencils) of the G20 and include the image of a rat. “Rat20/G20” is written “쥐20” in Korean alphabet.

Let us know the actions you have taken by sending a message or a picture to seoulidarity@jinbo.net, and add a name, affiliation and geographical location if you want. For sharing larger files like video, upload it on a site and let us know. Even better, directly upload a video on http://mediachampon.net/

The expressions of solidarity that we will gather will be translated and rebroadcasted in Korea. Sending us something as soon as possible so that it would coincide with the summit (November 11th and 12th) would be ideal but sending something later will be quite useful as the trial of our friends will go on for a while, as our resistance.


The friends of the accused

P.S. Please note that the address suyunomo@daum.net is reserved to messages of moral support and related to legal actions only. So called illegal actions like graffiti should be publicised, as mentioned above, to seoulidarity@jinbo.net and on Champon. The call for acts of solidarity by means of graffiti does not come from Suyu+Nomo and we do not want to give the police elements of proof for their ridiculous conspiracy theory. If we can talk of a “conspiracy”, it has nothing to do with Suyu+Nomo and is rather spontaneously born in the heart of everyone who feels concerned and ready to act autonomously.

Following is a translation of a newspaper article on this case:

Kyung Hyang Il Bo [Daily] Nov. 3, 2010

The police sought an arrest warrant for a 40-year-old man who drew a graffiti on posters promoting the G20 Seoul Summit. The warrant was turned down by the judge. The reason for seeking the warrant was “conspiracy intended to interfere with the G20”, according to the police and the prosecution. Their action has invited criticisms that the attempt was an unreasonable enforcement of the law by the police as they face the upcoming summit.

On Nov. 2, The Seoul Namdaemun Police Department requested an arrest warrant for Mr. Park (age 41), an instructor at a university on the charge of destruction of property. He drew graffiti on the posters that the government had displayed all over Seoul for the G20 Seoul Summit. Along with Mr. Park, a Ms. Park (age 23) was also booked without detention.

According to the police, they were charged for drawing an image of a rat on seven posters promoting the G20 Seoul Summit that were attached to kiosks near the Lotte department store in Jung-Gu district at about 1:30 a.m. on October 31st. They were caught by the police on location after a passerby alerted the authorities.

They told the police that they just drew a rat because of the pronunciation of ‘G’ in G20 is similar to the Korean word for the animal. They also said, “It was just a joke on the situation where the authorities are digging a hole for G20 and burying themselves in it. How do they find this sort of humor so unacceptably offensive?” It is highly unusual to request an arrest warrant for destruction of property, as it is normally punished with fines.

Reportedly, the move to request the arrest warrant and the on going investigation is being directly supervised by the Second Division of Public Security at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. An insider in the prosecution office said, “This case is simple in itself, but we find an intention and conspiracy to obstruct the government hosted event.” However, Kim Sang-whan, a judge at the Seoul Central District Court dismissed the warrant citing “no fear of flight or the destruction of evidence.”

“It is obviously an abuse of state authority for the investigators to seek an arrest warrant for a minor criminal offence like this one, which can be punished with fines.” said Oh Chang-ick , the General Director of the citizen’s group Human Rights Coalition.

Source: http://korea.indymedia.org/drupal/?q=ko/node/8282