Do you like history? How much are you interested in history? The movie, ’26 years,’ which was released in theaters last year, shows historical facts and was given much interest and love by the public. The topic of the movie is a bit heavy and there is a controversially sensitive part as well. Nevertheless, what is the thing that attracts the people to the theater? Let me introduce the movie, ’26 years,’ and let us think about what is the moral of the film, and find out the part that evokes people’s sympathy. < Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
The film’s historical background is the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Movement. Actor Jin-gu, Seul-ong Lim, and actress Hye-jin Han are the main cast of the film, playing the roles of a mid-level boss of a local gang “Gwangju Suho,” Jin-bae Gwak, a policeman in the Seodaemun police station Jeong-hyuk Gwon, and a female national shooter Mi-jinSim. The characters are all children of victims of the Democratic Movement, and an assassination project of “the man” is suggested to them by a security company’s CEO, Gap-se Kim and his secretary Ju-an Kim. The process and the result of the project is the film’s main plot, and in the beginning of the project Gwak wento to the Yeonhui-dong residence where “the man” lives, to provoke him.
Meanwhile, Gwak came to know that Kim, who proposed the project was the solider who killed his family and brother during the Movement, and it brought about a crisis. Sim, shocked and disillusioned by the sense of betrayal, devised and carried out her own plan. She started to shoot the car that “the man” was riding in, at an intersection, but before the last shot for the completion of the plan, her hand was injured because the gun exploded. Eventually, the plan failed and she withdrew.
As a consequence of this incident, the Yeonhui-dong residence reinforced the outside security, but, the Kims succeeded in persuading the secretary of the general staff. They got a chance to meet “the man” alone and walked into the private residence. Before the success of the assassination project, however, guards and police interfered and the project failed. That is the end for the movie.
Consider the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Movement in 1980, the film’s background. Most people who aren’t interested in the history or know the facts, incorrectly assume the event only as a coup. It is a misunderstanding as from the beginning the President Doo-hwan Chun (“the man”) seized power in a military coup, proclaiming martial law to interrupt the university students’ protest against the military government and dictatorship. Schools were closed because of the law, and students who were opposed to the situation strongly protested to the military, demanding the abolition of martial law. Demonstrations at Gwangju were particularly active and fierce, and that is why the city was targeted by the military operation.
Airborne troops were sent to Gwangju to suppress the protest, and the civilians got beaten, arrested, and killed by them. Although the protest was finally suppressed by the military’, there were many casualties and detainees in the process. As of December 18, 2001, the number of the victims is estimated as: 218 people dead, 363 people missing, 5,088 people injured and another 1,520 people were affected. The total figure is about 7,200 victims.
During the Democratic Movement, the government blocked all the outer approaches; hence people didn’t know the situation in Gwangju then. The news was finally released by the people who escaped from Gwangju, but wild rumors circulated as well.
Although the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Movement ended twenty three years ago, efforts persist to honor the victims of the democratic movement, to investigate the truth, punish the responsible parties, repair reputations, compensate and commemorate the participants. To fix the errors and conditions of the current awareness of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Movement, investigation and punishment is in the process of being carried out. Further, the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Movement also contributes to active exchange of politics not only in Asia but also in many other countries in terms of democratization.
It is regrettable that people misunderstand or remain ignorant of this historic event under the military regime. It is more regrettable that students these days are oblivious of the historical importance and are ignorant of our own history. They should realize that people who think lightly of their history cannot accomplish much in the future. Knowing the importance of the correct perception of history, and setting up your own values regarding historical awareness eventually can lead you to the right track of your life.