Laying Claim to the Memory of May: A Look Back at the 1980 by Linda Sue Lewis

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By Linda Sue Lewis

The Kwangju Uprising--"Korea's Tiananmen"--is some of the most vital political occasions in overdue twentieth-century Korean background. What started as a relaxed demonstration opposed to the imposition of army rule within the southwestern urban of Kwangju in may perhaps 1980 became a bloody people's riot. within the twenty years considering that, thoughts of the Kwangju rebellion have lived on, assuming symbolic value within the Korean democracy stream, underlying the increase in anti-American sentiment in South Korea, and shaping the nation's transition to a civil society. but it continues to be a contested occasion, the topic nonetheless of controversy, confusion, overseas debate, and competing claims.
As one of many few Western eyewitnesses to the rebellion, Linda Lewis is uniquely situated to write down concerning the occasion. during this leading edge paintings on commemoration politics, social illustration, and reminiscence, Lewis attracts on her fieldwork notes from may well 1980, writings from the Eighties, and ethnographic learn she carried out within the past due Nineteen Nineties at the memorialization of Kwangju and its dating to adjustments within the nationwide political tradition. all through, the chronological association of the textual content is crisscrossed with remark that provocatively disrupts the narrative movement and engages the reader within the reflexive strategy of remembering Kwangju over twenty years. hugely unique in its approach and technique, Laying declare to the reminiscence of May situates this seminal occasion in a vast old and scholarly context. the result's not just the definitive background of the Kwangju rebellion, but in addition a sweeping evaluate of Korean stories during the last few a long time.

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Extra resources for Laying Claim to the Memory of May: A Look Back at the 1980 Kwangju Uprising (Hawaii Studies on Korea)

Sample text

But in the neighborhood of the Taech’ang gas station in Wölsandong, the bus suddenly changed directions. I asked why, and they said they were going to stop someplace else ¤rst, and they went toward Naju. So I didn’t get off; I just kept riding. Pak Hyön-suk, a third-year Girls’ High School student, and I introduced ourselves, and I sat down in the very back row of seats. When the bus passed Kwangju stream and was almost out of Chiwön-dong, a soldier standing by the side of the road gave a signal to stop.

Everyone was concerned about Father getting home from his job as an elementary school principal in the countryside. Indeed, there were large demonstrations going on around the suburban bus terminal through which he had to pass. My ajumöni, who had witnessed the bayoneting on Kümnamno that morning, now heard that a grade school child, along with other citizens, had been killed nearby in the recent street ¤ghting. Her daughter, Yun-ok, the youngest of four children and a third-year high school student, was worried that she and her classmates in Kwangju would fall behind the rest of the country in studying for their college entrance exams.

Lee Jae-eui describes running from soldiers several times, once hiding in a cabinet and another time escaping detection by grabbing a hammer at a construction site and blending in with the men working there. He also tells of looking down from the roof of the suburban bus terminal on the 10 Kwangju, 1980 afternoon of May 18; below, paratroopers had rounded up about ¤fteen students who were kneeling down, heads to the ground. ,” and made a dash for safety in a nearby market area. People on the roof started cheering, and the paratroopers began beating the other students.

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