Hosni Mubarak, who had been the Egyptian President for the past 30 years, resigned on February 11. The Mubarak administration was the longest in the history of Egypt. During his time, the authority of the police was strengthened and the citizens’ constitutional rights were infringed upon. Censorship became legalized, making it easier for the government to lock up members of anti-government groups. As such, “democracy” in Egypt under Mubarak’s control was on the down-low. So the angry citizens of Egypt shared their complaints through social network services and started to resist to the Mubarak administration, clamoring for Mubarak’s resignation. More than a million people participated in the protest and lasted for 23 days. Egypt finally became free of Mubarak’s dictatorship.
This incident shows the power of the public to the world. The driving force of the Egyptian Revolution was the citizens’ universal agreement on the same issue, the violation of democracy. Additionally, they took action as well as sharing their victim mentality. Affected by the Jasmin Revolution which broke out in Tunisie, the Egyptian Revolution is influencing many other countries in the Middle East. There is something to learn from the revolution not only for the countries where dictatorship isprevalent, but also for Korean university students.
Like Egyptians sharing a universal problem, Korean university students are doing likewise. There are also many problems in Korea. One of the biggest problems for current university students as members of the so-called 880,000 won-generation, is the problem of unemployment among young people. Also, as citizens of Korea, where the price of tuition fees rank the second among OECD nations, the issue on tuition fees could not be disregarded. Although those issues have been hot potatoes for years in the Korean society, there is no special progress in solving those problems. Then what actions should be taken to solve them? Before seeking out solutions, it is important to think about the differences between Egyptians and Korean university students. As written above, they already have a commonality in that they share a universal issue.
Now that the commonalities are understood, if Korean university students tell the difference between themselves and Egyptians, it would be much easier to figure out the fundamental cause of the prevalent problems.
The biggest difference is whether people took action or not. Although Korean university students know their severe situation, they do not take any action. Some students exclude the students who do take action. They can criticize the government and universities, but they do not know how to recover their rights. They are just complaining and are not making progress in demanding their rights. What is worse is that they are not considering themselves as a group whose members are put in the same position. Kim Ye-seul, a Korea University student, declared her decision to quit school by putting up a hand-written poster on the campus last year; this incident is now called the Kim Ye-suel Declaration. Even though the poster directly pointed out the problems of the Korean society and university students, many students who read that poster could not think that it was time to act. There was even a rumor about Kim requesting to Korea University for her to return. Since they considered Kim as a student at Korea University, which is one of the most “prestigious” schools in Korea, they did not think Kim’s declaration as the beginning of gathering their opinions.
This means that Korean university students are locking themselves in their own positions and conceiving each other as competitors, classifying and ostracizing each other according to their educational backgrounds. Korean university students could not look the problem in the big picture. They are just busy dealing with their personal matters by themselves. Their passive and negative reactions prevent them from agreeing with taking group action. This sad situation helps the unfairness of Korean society to become harder and harder.
Through the Egyptian Revolution, the power of the public echoed all over the world. Like Egyptians did, Korean university students are already sharing their problems, which need to be improved by their own hands. Korean university students already have common issues to improve with their own hands. All they need is a sense of comradeship. Hold each other’s hand and show the power of the public!