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Truths about Gwangju

16 0 4
By Donald Kirk

Details about what happened at Gwangju during those terrible days from May 18 through May 27, 1980, remain elusive four decades later. One of the greatest mysteries is who ordered helicopters to fire on demonstrators. Investigators will have trouble extracting confessions from aging army veterans or finding witnesses beyond those who have long since described what they saw, but hidden documents may be revealing.

Chun Doo-hwan, the general who seized power in the months after the assassination of President Park Chung-hee nearly seven months earlier, has consistently denied helicopters fired on civilians, but the evidence is overwhelming. Those who saw them firing have already given eyewitness reports. The pockmarks of bullets slanting in downward trajectories are on display in the renovated Jeonil Building across May 18 plaza from the former provincial government offices that were occupied by student protesters before the final onslaught on May 27.

Chun is not going to alter his denials while on trial for libeling a priest who described the firing from the helicopters. The record is clear even if we don't know how the order was passed down the chain of........

© The Korea Times

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