Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shame on You, Yale School of Management

The Korean usually steers clear from discussing too much Korean politics in this blog, because Korean politics requires too much advanced knowledge to fully understand. But this particular issue does not, and it actually involves an American entity as well -- specifically, Yale University School of Management.

First of all, a short history lesson is in order for those who are unfamiliar with the main subject of this story -- former South Korean president Chun Doo-Hwan. A concise description of Chun would be: a dictator who killed a lot of people. Because Korea emerged into the world's consciousness relatively recently as a prosperous democracy, this part of modern Korean history involving Chun Doo-Hwan and other dictators tends to be generally ignored. But until late 1980s (and arguably until early 1990s,) South Korea was a fascist dictatorship sponsored by the United States, just like the way U.S. has sponsored other dictatorships in the Middle East and Latin America during the Cold War. (Generally, that part of the U.S. history has also been blissfully ignored.)

Chun Doo-Hwan
(source)
Chun came to power illegitimately, through a good old-fashioned military coup d'etat. The previous dictator Park Chung-Hee was assassinated in October 1979, and there was a small hope that South Korea could transition into a true democracy. However, within two months after the assassination, Chun stormed Seoul's military bases and essentially held the interim president, Choi Kyu-Ha, as hostage. 

In May 1980, Chun declared martial law, on the fabricated pretext that North Korea was preparing to attack South Korea. The martial law prompted nationwide protests demanding democracy, the largest of which was in the city of Gwangju with 200,000 protesters. On May 18, 1980, the massacre began in Gwangju. The paratroopers fired at the citizens of Gwangju indiscriminately, killing not only protesters but also women and children. In response, the citizens of Gwangju raided the local armory, armed themselves and barricaded the provincial capitol building. For a little more than a week, Gwangju became a war zone, as the paratroopers cut off access to the city and lay siege to it. Finally, on May 27, the paratroopers re-captured the capitol, killed the resisting civilian militia, and quelled the protest. Over 600 people died as a result of this violent suppression.

Streets of Gwangju in May 1980
(source)
In August 1980, Chun ran for the president unopposed, in a sham election held in a gymnasium in which only the small "electoral college" could vote. (The "electoral college" voted by applauding rather than casting ballots.) In the same time period, to suppress any potential dissidence, Chun opened up a North Korea-style gulag in which nearly 40,000 people, arrested without a warrant, were sent to hard labor. 57 of those prisoners would die from disease and beating.

Chun's reign would end in 1987, when another massive wave of democratization protests, sparked by the death of a student protester who died while being tortured by the police. After Korea democratized, Chun was put on trial in 1997 and was sentenced to life in prison. During the trial, Chun was found to have amassed 1 trillion won (i.e. approximately $1.2 billion, in 1987 dollars) -- which was nearly 1% of the entire South Korean GDP in 1987 -- in his private slush fund during his reign. (Chun claimed that he could not pay back the slush fund because his total worth was a checking account with 290,000 won in it. This claim would be funny if it was not so disgusting.) Chun was released from prison in 1998, based on a historic pardon in the spirit of national reconciliation, granted by then-president Kim Dae-Jung.

Chun Doo-Hwan is unquestionably the worst president/ruler that South Korea has ever had. Even the former Korean dictators who sought lifetime presidency -- Rhee Syngman and Park Chung-Hee -- did not order the soldiers to fire indiscriminately into peacefully protesting citizens, nor did they operate a gulag. Under Chun, with respect to political freedom, South Korea came the closest to being indistinguishable with North Korea.

So what did the students of Yale School of Management do with Chun Doo-Hwan? Did they make him a case study of dictatorship? Did they denounce Chun's massacre of democracy-demanding citizens? No -- they visited Chun and took a group photo, grinning like idiots.

(source)
More after the jump.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.


Seriously, this actually happened. 27 Yale MBA students, led by Yale School of Management professor Jiwoong Shin, met with former president Chun Doo-Hwan at Chun’s house for two hours on March 14. The entire meeting was recorded and televised. Reportedly, the meeting happened because Shin is good friends with Chun’s son.

And sure enough, Chun used the rare public appearance as a chance to rewrite history. Probably the most amazing thing that Chun said was in response to question that asked the greatest regret during his presidency: ”I just happened to become the president while I was investigating the sudden death of the previous president. If I had a plan to become the president, I would have done a better job.”

If you were listening, the man was saying he never wanted to be the president. He took over the military,  promoted himself to a four star general, shut down the National Assembly, had the soldiers review the next day's newspapers before they were printed, killed 600 people, and held a sham election by a joke of an electoral college, by accident.

It gets better. Chun noted that he was the president for seven years, and originally planned to have two seven-year terms as the president. But a desire to serve as an example for his successors (and not, say, the overwhelming public demonstrations) compelled Chun to serve only a single term. Chun also said there was a risk that he would run a “military-style democracy” because of his military background, but was able to run an “American-style democracy” thanks to his America-educated advisors.

The Korean is not even mad at Chun anymore. It is absurd to expect that a mass murderer would not lie. Those graduate students from Yale School of Management, however -- that's a different story. I cannot mince words here: what they did was moronic. By visiting Chun, they validated a mass murdering dictator and gave him a chance to rewrite history. They approved the typically fascist justification to dictatorship, that economic development and external threats excused the destruction of civil liberties. This is deeply insulting to all those who fought and died for South Korea's democracy.

Think, people. Please, think. You are supposed to be the smart ones.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

48 comments:

  1. Wow. Thanks for the history lesson and the eye-opener about this. People really have to learn to think for themselves.

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  2. Wasn't the good ol' 전대통령 himself tried, convicted, sentenced to death for his crimes and then pardoned?
    Wow, the Yalies could have used that free public library class to learn "the Internets"...

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  3. Thanks for really expanding on this. I saw an article earlier and thought it was a little weird that the Yale students were visiting Chun Doo-Hwan...

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  4. I am trying to get a grasp on Korean cultural and political history. It is interesting but complex. There is not much black and white. However. what you call out here is understandable and draws a very fine line in the sand. I'll stay tuned for any other history lessons you may offer.

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  5. It's sad that the Yale students met with such a horrible person like Chun Doo-hwan but it's hardly surprising. Our world (particularly on college campuses) has no shortage of "useful idiots"...the difference is that they're usually wearing Che Guevara t-shirts. But evil on either side of the political spectrum is still evil. Thanks for posting this!

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  6. 박태민 마태오 identified something here. Colleges really have no shortage of idiots. I remember only a few years ago, Columbia let Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speak. Here you've got a guy who denies the Holocaust, will do anything he can to see the US and Israel gone, steals elections, violates human rights, and is answerable only to the religious leaders, and yet we give him a platform to speak at Columbia University. This was not just some photo-op. This wasn't a has-been. This wasn't someone who had even been pardoned. This was a platform at one of the world's most prestigious universities given to a man who has put down hundreds of rebellions at universities in his own country. Yet the idiots at Columbia gave him unimaginable validation back in 2007. I'd like to see University of Tehran let someone like John Bolton or Benjamin Netanyahu speak like he did.

    Anyway, I don't want to deviate from the subject at hand. I just thought this was particularly apropos given that we're also talking about a prestigious university. My point is just to implore TK and everyone else to not only expect this sort of thing from a murderous dictator, but to at least not be that surprised when a college does this. The Che Guevara thing that 박태민 마태오 is another great example. As always, thanks for the post, TK!

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  7. The U.S. government was lukewarm about Chun's coup e'etat but approved him mobilizing to kill civilian protesters in Gwangju in 19080 - it's only fitting that the East Coast social elites-to-be to affirm this American tradition. After all, President Lee is pushing to validate the 60's dictatorship. Rewriting the 80's would naturally ensue, and business is just getting along with political powers. (Let's.. ignore the December 2012 elections for a moment)

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  8. Mr The Korean, to what extent do you think southern Korea democratized in spite of the United States government rather than because of it? You have what is to me to a strangely positive view of the United States government, even though your viewpoint is obviously still fact based and nuanced. It seems that positive things achieved in southern Korea can mainly be attributed to Koreans themselves and did not require a US presence.

    The main argument to argue that United States had a positive impact is usually "Look at North Korea!", but if Korea had been unified long ago I think the current government would look very different than the government in northern Korea today since the north relies on the south to justify its existence. Southern Korea might not be a leading wealthy nation like it is today, but since this was achieved through means that led to half the country being confined to extreme poverty I am not sure it is necessarily better. It could be argued that a slower but more widespread economic development in a unified Korea would have been better for the average Korean and that much of what was achieved in the south could have still been achieved regardless.

    What are your thoughts?

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    1. That's a question that deserves its own post.

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  9. While one can argue that the paranoid nature of the Northern regime is a least partially due to the success the South has experienced, it is also true that other communist regimes (Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China) experienced the same levels of totalitarian privation without facing the peer competition North Korea has seen. Ultimately, these regimes liberalized to some degree. Would the united, communist Korea have done the same? Remember that Korea is much smaller than China, the USSR, or even Vietnam. As such, it is much easier for one powerful figure to dominate the country. As such, I think it's very possible that a hypothetical united Korea under the Kim regime would be as dysfunctional as today's North Korea. Also, keep in mind that Japan's history would have taken a very different course if it had been faced with a united, communist Korea that regarded it as a blood enemy. This likely would have empowered the same militant, anti-democratic forces who dominated the country prior to and during World War II. If Korea had been unified under the communists, it's quite possible that post-war Japan would have been a lot more like its pre-war incarnation. This undoubtedly would have been terrible for the region.

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    1. Thanks for the answer J.B.

      I do not mean to argue that "the paranoid nature of the Northern regime is a least partially due to the success the South has experienced," but that the north uses the boogeyman ROK to gain popular legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

      To use the example of China, Mao did indeed have the support of the people in China because he oversaw drastic improvements in people's lives (Stalin is similar and is still popular today in Russia, although the other former republics are another story). The "gang of four" did not have popular legitimacy and instead relied on a police state, leading them to fall to the less orthodox Deng Xiapong. Under Xeng Xiapong's reforms the regime again enjoyed popular legitimacy and has been seen as sincerely committed to the interests of the Chinese people, at least by the Chinese themselves. This is starting to change just recently as Chinese people begin to object more strongly to government corruption, pollution, and so forth. We are likely to see more changes in the future, although probably not a western style democracy any time soon.

      Kim Il Sung enjoyed popular legitimacy in northern Korea and even had sympathizers in the south because of his national liberation work and because Koreans' lives improved under his rule. Kim Jong Il only managed to retain that support by presenting himself as an embattled military leader who was kept awake at night by the sacrifices of the Korean people. Kim Jong Un is losing even that level of support and I will be surprised if he lives his whole life as the leader of the northern regime unless he dies young for whatever reason.

      This is how I see it, but one thing I have learned from this blog is that simplistic explanations based on the experiences of other countries cannot reliably be applied to Korea.

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    2. I would like to point out that considering the colonial history of Japan in Korea, and no matter how things played out, it would have made as much of an excellent boogeyman for a unified Korea under the Korean Workers' Party as South Korea had been, if not better. And if it wasn't Japan and the US, why there is China and the USSR handily around. After all, it was China's real fear of its communist brethren that prompted it to open up. And since we're speculating on alternative histories, there are many scenarios where either one could have been a threat to Kim Il Sung's clan. But to be a designated boogeyman doesn't necessitate a real threat at all, as long as it does the job of keeping the regime in place, practically anyone could do, especially in a world with controlled media and scarce information.
      You seem to assume that Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il enjoyed continuous and/or sizeable popular support for the duration of their reigns, I don't know that to be true, but I sure hope it hasn't been so.

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    3. Thanks for your answer (thank you to the Korean for his semi-answer too). Those are good points.

      I would also say support and popular legitimacy are not the same thing. People can disagree with someone's choices as a leader without disagreeing with their right to make those choices. For the DPRK this is obviously very speculative though, given that the government does not allow international organizations to conduct scientific opinion polls the way other countries do.

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  10. This is an unfair criticism on par with criticizing Columbia for letting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speak at their school. As a current university student I'd cherish the opportunity to speak and hear from those involved in shaping global affairs — from dictators to peace loving world leaders. Both in the case of Ahmadinejad and Chun, this was not a validation of their world views and philosophies. It was simply an opportunity for them to expand on it. Like it or not, the world has its fair share of evil-doers and tyrants. This does not mean we have the right or the responsibility to shun them and ignore them, as if listening to what they say provides some sort of validation. Instead, we ought to listen to what they have to say to learn valuable insight into how they think and why they think they are justify — to learn what makes up the psychology of a tyrant. Of course Chun is going to be an extremely biased source speaking for posterity's sake and he's going to try to rewrite history when speaking of his legacy. That doesn't mean that there isn't a need to hear what he has to say. If I had the opportunity to hear Hitler or Stalin speak, I'd take it. I'd like to think that doesn't make me an idiot, as some of you have been calling these students, but someone who wants to gain insight with a valuable first-hand historical source. My father and mother were one of those students who protested Chun's regime back in the '80s. They served jail time. My father still has shrapnel in his leg from protesting at that time. I still would've taken that chance to visit Chun. He was and still is an important historical figure. Not a good person by any and all means, but an important person. Those two aspects are vastly different.

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    1. Agreed on Nejad-Columbia, an unfortunate parallel indeed. However Bodoblock, I imagine had you been invited to visit this vile but important historical figure (assuming these students were cognisant of History and what he has done, not just sheepishly herded by their professor) you wouldn't have permitted yourself to be used for his PR, or if you couldn't stop it, you wouldn't have taken it lying down. May be it's too much to ask from a bunch of college students on a school trip to a foreign country, but considering their nationality,their school, and this being sanctioned by a professor, they should be aware of their status and their PR and validation value, exactly as you would be aware of your status as the son or daughter of militant parents whose courage I salute. That I understood to be The Korean's point too, if I'm not mistaken.

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    2. These guys are grad students (School of Management = MBA), not a bunch of college kids on a Summer Abroad program.

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    4. And Yale School of Management is known for sending its MBAs into the public sector..all the more disturbing.

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    5. Surprised to see all of this taken so far out of context. This trip is part of a program where Yale School of Management MBA students study the balance between public and private sectors--how the shift of power between these sectors can shape a society. I myself went on a trek like this with Yale and met with past/present and future candidates to understand impact of different government structures. It seems you are (falsely) criticizing these students of doing exactly what you are guilty of - casting judgement without full details.

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  11. What else is new when it comes to Americans? They don't know jack shit about anything outside US of A. They would for sure made the same photo with Ahmedinejad (sp?) from Iran, without even having a clue of who the guy is...

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    1. I take it, as opposed to you, the beacon of worldly wisdom and unbiased opinions....
      Gotta love it, every discussion that starts with interesting and intelligent exchange careens into a ditch, because of an invariable "Americans are stupid" schmuck.

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  12. In the case of Ahmadinejad at Columbia, I think the system ended up working. He was pretty much laughed off stage. Especially when he said there were no homosexuals in Iran. That's as close to the academic ideal as I can think of in this case: giving everyone their voice and having an informed and intelligent discussion to determine whether or not to give any credence to that voice. Not allowing such people to speak based on the concern that it legitimizes their worldview is going backwards in time; let those who engage in dialogue determine what gets to be legitimate or not.

    This incident with the Yale Business School was a failure not because of the mere fact that Chun was interviewed, because there was no intelligent exchange. Based on The Korean's summary of the interview, it just seemed like this group of clueless Yale MBA's just went to talk to one of the former presidents of the Republic of Korea, didn't check their facts, and were gullible enough to just let him keep spewing whatever bullshit he wanted to justify his past wrongdoings.

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  13. I am making a birthday cake for a co-worker, I thought it would be nice to place her name on the cake but have found it very very difficult to find how to write it. Her name is Heeyoon...do you have any suggestions for me that may help? Please : ) ciaofraz (at) aim.com Thank you

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    1. Probably 희윤.

      Cut and paste those somewhere (like MS Word) where you can enlarge the font and see what it looks like in detail. For your purposes, it's all circles/ovals and horizontal and vertical lines.

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  14. Greetings,

    I am a current student at SOM, and a history major with a concentration on Eastern Asia and Indo-China. I came across your article and while I wholeheartedly understand your sentiment, at least allow me to offer some background on behalf of my classmates.

    1. The trip was in part, a celebration of the tremendous strides the South Korean economy has made since the end of the Chun regime, with scheduled visits to various large Korean companies. While the trip doubles as an enlightening cultural and historical experience as well, its main focus is on the industry of our host country, and is a required course for our matriculation.

    2. As such, students who are from or have lived in Korea before are all but forbidden to attend, as the school wishes for all the visits to bring a clean slate in terms of understanding the country and its economy. Thus, something like this might have been better understood by the student body had one of our several students of Korean descent attended.

    3. While there is a baseline itinerary given to the students, over the course of the two week trek, there is a high amount of fluidity in regards to the schedule and the actual events the students attend. Thus it is possible that the students were not made aware of meeting with Chun Hoo-Dwan prior to the event and almost certainly would not be made aware of the media coverage that was afforded to it.

    4. And probably most importantly, there is cultural element involved with the visits that often comes into direct conflict with the business and social missions of the school. As such, visits to locales in China and Japan often bring up student led discussions on civil rights abuses and war atrocities that might be considered culturally insensitive for foreign tourists to bring up in public settings. SOM, maybe more so than any other business program, looks to resolve those conflicts and has one of the highest proportions of students who go off to work in non-profit organizations, often ones similar to that of pre-boom Korea.

    From my first-hand account on my excursion, the ease with which uncomfortable questions for the guest speaker were dismissed as "too difficult to translate" offered many moments of frustration in digging deeper behind real issues we researched prior to our trip. Since I was not there, I cannot say with full assertion, but I can assume that at least some, if not many of the issues you address were brought up in some context. If Chun failed or refused to show proper penance, then the blame could then only be placed on him in that context.

    While I am not defending the actions of the university, I do agree with the previous posters that such opportunities provide further insight into the inner workings of a country, and can further inspire an impassioned response from the students after identifying the issue first hand.

    I do not wish to alter your line of thinking, just to give you further insight into the topic.

    Thanks.

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    1. I see that they teach you to use big words unnecessarily, as well.

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    2. My favorite part was when he or she used the word "trek" to describe the visit. I'm pretty sure they at least took the bus.

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  15. I am a Yale SOM student who is in that picture you posted.
    1) We were there at Chun's personal HOUSE because our professor asked him to and he invite us. Out of respect to the professor and to help the professor protect his friendship with Chun's family, we were merely polite by shaking hands and taking a group photo. All companies we visited while in Korea asked for a group photo.
    2) I have no clue why the media was there. The professor had previously warned us about media appearances at all previous locations, so he was completely caught off-guard by the media as well.
    3) Because this was a personal friend of the professor, we were asked to phrase our questions respectfully and not to ask anything in a combative manner. Is it really our fault if Chun chose to answer our questions in a way that's favorable to him? It's the job of everyone around him to know the truth. I assume all Koreans do know the history of his presidency, so I doubt his attempt at "rewriting history" as you put it was successful in any shape or form. Our meeting with him was a great opportunity to meet with an important historical figure to see how he thinks, and I think the meeting was a great success from that point of view. I thought great minds have often said that understanding your enemies is important.

    Thanks,
    A Grinning Idiot

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    1. Thank you for the comment, but to me, it only confirmed how clueless your behavior was.

      That a Yale professor continues to maintain ties with a murderous dictator is itself outrageous. Why would such "friendship" accord any politeness? What kind of message does such "friendship" send to the families of Koreans that Chun killed?

      That you did not anticipate media coverage is also a special kind of naivete. OF COURSE there was going to be media coverage. We are talking about the most reviled man in South Korean history. It should have been obvious that this was not going to be a simple tea time.

      It is your fault that you gave Chun a chance to lie yet again, and enable the fascist far-right of Korea to say that "Even Yale recognizes the great achievement of Chun Doo-hwan."

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    2. And answer me just one question, because I'm dying to know -- did you even know Chun's history before you read this post?

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    3. "It is your fault that you gave Chun a chance to lie yet again, and enable..."

      Give me a break AAK. Really, stop the Korean-style shame fest. It's not his fault. Of course I agree with your entire perspective of the wrongness of Yale and the professor. Yes, go ahead and rail on Yale and this sympathetic professor. But I would have probably done the same thing as the student.

      Yes, knowing the history, I would have done the same thing.

      Why? Because I'm a student and my professor asked me. It's not like he traveled them himself, gave him a forum, and gave him a media photo. His professor did that. And fearing that Chun could somehow "rewrite history" is a tad overblown, hmm? Afterwards, I'd blast Chun via an article about it, taking it as an opportunity to inform. I agree with your point about making it a case study of dictatorship.

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    4. Drop your condescension, Juche. It is getting annoying.

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    5. @The Korean
      To be fair, they *are* students from a business school. Not exactly the bastion of ethics and personal integrity. :D

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    6. Condescension? If you recognize any condescension in my post (which there might be some - I can admit that,) it's likely because of your heavy use of condescension in your response to the student who provided his perspective. Hyperbolic statements like "I'm dying to know" and "OF COURSE..." aren't condescending?

      The thing is I recognize that you are a great, informed blogger. Many of your posts teach me much about Korea. But when you take things personally, you have a scorched-earth way about that is "annoying." I was hoping for a proper response and one lacking adjectival name-calling, but I guess I was wrong on both counts.

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    7. @TeaAddict22

      You valued respecting your professor over taking a moral stand against a fascist dictator (assuming you knew what he was at that time - if you didn't, it's a mistake and the lesson is to be more careful in future). The right thing to do would be refuse to participate in an activity that makes Chun look, to those who may know no better, respectable. And question your professor as to why on earth he is friends with this man!

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  16. "The Korean": What allows Chun to say what he said are the same principles that allow you to call people moronic and grinning idiots. You either believe what people say or do not. You can of course, challenge what they say.

    You can complain all you want about "the smart ones" having visiting a dictator or murderer, but I see absolutely no benefit in ignoring controversial figures. If you are upset about how the content of the meeting went, then fine.

    Your argument is, unfortunately, that Yale was wrong for visiting a hated, almost forgotten political figure, therefore validating his existence and giving him the opportunity to speak. Your turn to think this through. In a free and open society, is that right or wrong?

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    1. TK's argument makes perfect sense to me. I wouldn't break bread with Stalin, and I wouldn't have my photo taken with Hitler. I wouldn't listen to General Noriega wax nostalgic about how awesome he was. A free and open society doesn't preclude that some of the things you're free to do are wrong, and have negative impacts on others. Nor does it preclude people from calling you out on those shitty things you do.

      This visit is a form of white-washing a brutal regime, and Yale students were involved in it. They have a responsibility to do better: to consider the consequences of their actions, to make their own decisions when their professor asks them not to be mean to the mass-murdering dictator, to not sit down for fucking high tea with a man who slaughtered his own people. WTF?

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    2. My goodness.

      The man has a right to voice his opinions. And Yale, being a private institution, has the right to turn a murderous ex-dictator away from its events. Free speech doesn't mean you're given a free microphone and prestigious platform on which to speak.

      Take the Westboro Baptist Church. They certainly have a right to their despicable actions, but notice how they've virtually disappeared from media coverage? Do you really think the level of national discourse has suffered as a result of media outlets exercising some common sense and decency? I don't think so. And had Yale and those students exercised the same common sense and decency, we would be no worse off.

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    3. @Identity Unknown

      The issue isn't whether Chun should be allowed to speak (I think the right to free speech applies to everyone), but in smiling, shaking his hand, and otherwise showing friendliness. By all means, let him speak, but then exercise your own right to free speech and question him!

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  17. I'm impressed with your opinion for Korean stuffs.
    As one of the Korean citizen, his dealings with the situation happened while he was in office was inappropriate and could not avoid being blamed for the death of lots of people and still. I'm one of them who blame him for.

    I'd like to call him 개새끼.

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  18. News flash:

    We live in something called a "Media Age", people. A nice, smiley photo-op with a rightfully reviled person is not just civility. It's power that you have granted. Especially given that (as you might have discovered during your trip) Korean society thoroughly fetishizes the Ivy League and anything brushed by its aura. You messed up big time.

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  19. Why am I not surprised.

    As one can tell from the comments left by some of the students, they're just young, 20 something "business" students whose parents are able to afford to send them to a private school. Come on guys, even Bush went to Yale. lol

    So, it makes me wonder why one would expect them to have any passing interest in some small country's modern history? Why should they care? What does the fact that the former president killed so many protesters have anything to do with the Yale business students? Ask them instead about how to maximize ROI on the Korean-US FTA, or how to profit on the political relationship between NK and SK by liquidating some aging CF-18's. That will get their attention!!

    Seriously guys, I doubt they even read Howard Zinn in undergrad.
    They're just another example of typical American "elite" class that have little interest in learning anything outside their immediate environment. What else is new.

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  20. Wow. Thanks for the knowledge.

    Actually, I know a really smart, older Korean man who told me that he refuses to shop at H-Mart because it had ties to a terrible, former South Korean dictator. I just googled it, and it looks like he may have been talking about Chun Doo-Hwan. Thank you again for the knowledge.

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  21. My mom tells me that the young forgets the past. About 20 years ago at Memphis State, I could not believe my college sponsored Omar Abdel-Rahman to speak at my dorm. The liberal college kids thought he was a saint back then. My ex and I were escorted out the room, because we said he was a murdering terrorists.

    If you want to control people with false information, the best place to do it is at college.

    I wished the U.S. would learned from its history and stop interfering in other countries and stop supporting terrorist in the name of Democracy.

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  22. @ djewing23


    "2. As such, students who are from or have lived in Korea before are all but forbidden to attend, as the school wishes for all the visits to bring a clean slate in terms of"

    The school did this to hide the truth.

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  23. Frankly speaking, Old Geezer Chun Doo-hwan is a devout Buddhist. I don't understand why he chomped Gwangju citizens' lives during 1980.5.18 Gwangju Massacre? We know that geezer initiated the 1979.12.12 military coup until President Choi Kyu-hah can't stop him from killing Korean People during Gwangju Massacre.

    According to traditional Buddhism, the foundation of Buddhist ethics for laypeople is The Five Precepts: no killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, or intoxicants. The problem is... that freaking old geezer violated three Buddhism Ethics.

    In my opinion, Chun Doo-hwan is not deserved to call as the 'President' even he stepped out from Cheongwadae in 1988; he's deserved to be as a tyrant and cowardly old-geezer. That's why I listed him in my 'Fucked Up Korean President List'. Yale School of Management students must call Presidents Kim Dae-jung or Roh Moo-hyun to come there. Unfortunately, both of them are gone.

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  24. This is wrong. Chun Doo Hwan may not seem like an ethical leader in hindsight, but a lot of what Korea is now came from him. Your description of these events come from someone who has only read reports in hindsight, and likely English. You are correct in that before him, there were a long line of tyrants. It would have likely continued that way, except Chun Doo Hwan paved that path for a Democracy. At that time, North Korea was still (and I know it seems unfathomable now) a much more fiscally, politically, and militarily powerful state. North Korean perpetrators were threatening to take over the nation and turn South Korea into another Communist state. The Gwanju Massacre, which happened in a traditionally leftist providence, had Communist elements written all over it.

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    1. Please, the asshole did jack shit for the country. In the end it was all about money, and this mother fucker funneled a whole year's worth of national GDP without any remorse. Anybody who has political and major corporate connections knows everything. My grandfather was a politician and a professor, my dad was a Seoul National graduate. I grew up hearing shit about Chun Doo-Hwan the most out of all the Seoul National circles, because I had to follow my dad to Korean Geisha houses since I was a kid. The problem with this fucking swindler is that the government, even knowing he stole national money, can't do anything legally, because his political patrons are loyal to him like dogs. Even my dad who got a broken kneecap during Park's era while doing demonstrations and almost got sent to military prison, if not for my grandfather, has recently changed his mind. This is saying a lot since my dad absolutely hated Park in the past. At least Park didn't steal money from the country for personal purposes. All the money that he received from his political patrons, the reparation fee from Japan, and US military funds from Vietnam, were all used for the amelioration of the country.

      The difference between Noh and Chun is fucking simple. They were both fucking swindlers who extorted money out of the country for personal gain. Noh got caught after funneling the money out of Korea, because he didn't have many collaborators who would cover for him. He is infamous in elite circles for being a completely selfish bastard. So who would have collaborated with him? No one. Chun did one thing better than all the other corrupt fuckers in South Korean history, which was that he was extremely loyal to his political patrons and while he was in office, fed money to his supporters consistently. If ever, even one of his collaborators opens their mouth, it is literally over for Chun and his political patrons.

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