Koreans from the US, protesting WTO meetings in Hong Kong with Korean farmers... And writing about the experience.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

post-colonial cities

Of the WTO protests on the 17th, the newspapers in Hong Kong kept repeating that "Hong Kong hasn't seen a riot on this scale since 1967."

After a little research, the truth of the matter is that the 1967 'riots' were actually an uprising against British colonial rule.

When I think about our detainment, and the ways in which the entire mass of protesters was contained by the rows of police, and the ways in which the mainstream papers tried to demonize Korean farmers, I realize that, as in Seoul, this is all we can expect from a place that is still colonized, a city that is so dependent on foreign capital.

The city will perform on behalf of foreign investors, but mask it under 'rule of law.' The 14 detainees from the protests have been released on bail, but the ridiculous charges are a way of Hong Kong saying to the world, "We have it under control. Your money is safe with us."

The fact is that there are thousands of points around the globe that are striving for the honor of facilitating neoliberal globalization, and we, as Koreans from the US, have come back to live in three such cities ourselves: San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

So when I think about the crackdown that happened to the transit union in New York, that stood up for basic worker rights when so few unions are doing that right now, I know that it's because New York city's government is just as concerned with making sure that, above people or communities, money can continue to move, and continue to be concentrated in the top 2% of the population.

I remind myself that this is our struggle too, even as we are all probably thinking of Naju and our dong-ji farmers.


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