[ from Jamiel ]
In October 2019 we hit South Korea after Cambodia and while there were thousands of photos taken at kpop concerts as media that we were apart of ( in the blog section), in the Jongno-gu province we ran into what we believed was a small protest.
As I made my way out of Jongno Tower from the train, the crowd became massive. We were headed to Gwangjang Market and figured , “why not find out more?”
As I made my way through the street, the energy was much different than before. As a minority in town people would turn their noses up to us or stare but in a sea of people, mostly older generation, they were more kind. They allowed me space to shoot, some even came up to me and asked if I could take their photo, asked if I was American, and explained what was going on.
One women told me that they were fighting for their freedom with China. They enjoyed the relationships up until they believed too much was being changed and no one was taking notice to that change or rather the political system was ok with the change.
They felt as though they were losing their country. She said they want their freedom like America, but being from America, freedom is a slippery slope these days with Chinese companies buying up so much in US and Canada. China was the first leg of our trip, and while I have so much to say about that (I will save for another time), what I can say is many of the people we encountered have no idea what freedom looks like, meaning with it or without it, they wouldn’t notice. They were happy in their lifestyle which was naturally inclusive to their own culture. Only if you’ve left the country do you truly get to see the difference. This is just an assessment from Shanghai and Beijing. Of course I can see the difference but who am I to tell them what “Freedom difference” feels like when their streets are clean, all ages both male and female are working, No uber yet 50,000+ cabs, parents picking their kids up from school, and the malls and restaurants are full of shoppers. You can only hope they are as happy as they look as almost every person walks around with their cell phone in their face.
Freedom doesn’t mean your life or city will remain clean and civil or perfect to your ideals, but it does allow you to dream big, do big things, and not hold back on that dream. If this is what South Korea is holding on to, then I stand with them. I just hope with that dream, they be inclusive to more nationalities aside from just the culture and style of others, this was something I didn’t expect.
Without going too deep into this, here are some images from the protest. Since I have yet to see any news or world coverage on it, this may be your inside look for now.
photos by Jamiel Boling