Condolences for farmer Baek throughout campuses
Condolences for farmer Baek throughout campuses
  • Kim Ka-young
  • 승인 2016.10.17 12:54
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Students rage at the society of injustice

A memorial altar for the late farmer Baek Nam-ki can be seen on several university campuses. Baek passed away on Sept. 25, 317 days after being knocked down by a water cannon during an anti-government rally last November.
Students expressed their criticism towards the government for requesting an autopsy despite the opposition of the bereaved family members, and the improper operation of the water cannon that put Baek in a coma.
Universities including Ewha, Korea, Dongguk, Kyung Hee, Hanyang, Sungkyunkwan, and others have been expressing their condolences on campus.
At Ewha, a memorial altar has been set up by the student council with Begin Again, Ewha’s club foundation, on Sept. 27 in the Student Union building. Students were greatly concerned about the issue, and many of them took part in the petition, demanding a special investigation on the death of Baek.
“We will stand by the bereaved family members and continuously take part in further movements to lament Baek’s death,” said a member of Begin Again. “We hope students give their attention and visit the memorial altar at the Student Union Building.”
Students associated with Korea University’s various student governments and clubs released their statement about the issue on Sept. 28.
“We express our condolences for farmer Baek Nam-ki, who passed away due to unjustifiable violence. We will not give in to power that has lost its morality but boldly fight against it,” the statement reads. With strong criticism regarding the incident, the students demanded the truth concerning Baek’s death, identification of the one responsible for the tragedy, and proposal of practical measures to prevent any similar cases.
Many students of Dongguk University are also participating in signing a petition on a memorial altar set in front of the student government’s office.
“We issued a statement on Sept. 26 along with other small groups and set up a memorial altar on Sept. 28,” said a member of Hash Tag, the student government of Dongguk University.
Along with many students’ movements demanding the truth of Baek’s death, 15 students of Seoul National University (SNU) College of Medicine issued their statement questioning the conclusion of what caused Baek’s death.
They pointed out the flaws of the steps taken to reach the cause of death in Baek’s case and asked their alumni to participate in revealing the cause of Baek’s death. The statement reads that Baek would not have fallen into a coma if he had not been knocked down by the water cannon, and this makes the cause of his death an extrinsic trauma, not an illness. The doctor who treated Baek during his entire time in hospital had categorized his death as from cardiopulmonary failure caused by illness. Their statement also demanded that their professional ethics and conscience not be ignored.
“As members of our society, university students should be able to perceive these social issues as serious problems that are closely related to their own lives,” said a student of SNU. “It is our duty to pursue a society of justice.”                 

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