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Self-immolation as form of political protest

카리나 (기타,선교사,기타) 2014-02-24 (월) 14:56 3년전 3965  
2014-01-9
 
After the 40 year old Mr. Lee Nam-jong set himself on fire with the words "I demand a parliamentary inquiry committee to investigate the influence of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) on the 2012 presidential elections and the resignation of President Park Geun-Hye" and jumped off a bridge in front of the Seoul Central Station on December 31st2013, I tried to understand the phenomenon of immolation as a political form of protest. [Source:오마이뉴스]
 
The first prominent incident of this kind occurred in 1963 when the Vietnamese Thich Quang Duc set himself on fire to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the Ngo Dinh Diem government in South Vietnam. In Korea, the sewer Chun Tae-Il immolated himself on November 13th 1970 in order to draw attention to the situation of the (mainly female) workers, who made the rapid economic growth of the country possible by their own suffering under worst working conditions. On April 29th 1990 ​​Sunghee Park draw attention to the political situation by his self-immolation and in 1991 the death of a student caused by the police triggered a wave of self-immolations to demonstrate against the government of President Rho Tae-woo. In 2007 Heo Se-uk demonstrated against the free trade agreement with the United States by immolating himself and in 2010 the Buddhist monk Moonsu demanded to stop corruption and the Four Rivers Project from the Lee Myun - Bak government. [Source: Wikipedia]
 
But why does someone immolate him or herself?
Self-immolation is the most painful way to commit suicide and is therefore perceived as a heroic sacrifice. 75% of all self-immolations happen in India, Vietnam and South Korea. Unlike suicide bombers the intent is not to cause material destruction or the injury of others. Similar to a hunger strike, the self-inflicted suffering serves as a form of protest, where the own death is not necessarily intended, but deliberately taken into account. The crucial difference, however, is the fact that the chances of survival of self-immolation do hardly exceed 30%, while a hunger strike only very rarely ends fatal. The sacrifice of the own life is meant to support a protest movement, to add more weight to its demands and to strengthen the protestors by providing a reason to maintain the movement honouring those who are perceived as martyrs. [Source: Michael Biggs, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford]

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