Excerpt: Inside the Gwangju Uprising, a Key Moment for South Korean Democracy

Dennis Brasky

The accounts in this excerpt are part of Gwangju Uprising: The Rebellion for Democracy in South Korea, Recorded by Hwang Sok-yong, Lee Jae-eui, and Jeon Yong-ho, Compiled by the Gwangju Democratization Movement Commemoration Committee. Gwangju Uprising will be published this month in English translation by Slin Jung by Verso. Excerpted with permission. 

Hwang Sok-yong has achieved international acclaim and his status as an imprisoned, exiled, and dissident author has been championed by World PEN. His many novels include At DuskFamiliar Things, and The Guest.

Lee Jae-eui was an eyewitness Chonnam National University (CNU) student and freedom fighter. He has worked for years to preserve the history of the Gwangju Uprising.

Editor's Note: In May, 1980, a protest movement of students and blue-collar workers was violently suppressed by the South Korean martial law government of General Chun Doo-hwan, which arrested, tortured or killed thousands of participants. Survivors worked to preserve and compile a record of their experiences, frequently in secret as activists remained subject to surveillance. The publication and distribution of the texts as contraband was a key driver of the 1987 "June Struggle" democracy movement.



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