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Korea and Algeria’s History Behind Non-violent Protests: the Impacts in the Modern World

Jeeweon Moon

Korea International School Jeju, jiwonmoonnn@gmail.com

1. Introduction On March 10th, 2017, the judges of South Korea’s Constitutional Court brought their final verdict: the impeachment of President Park Guen-hye, the 18th president. President Park, now with the dishonorable title of the first South Korean president to be impeached, stepped out of the presidential palace, awaiting future trials for her charges on bribery, corruption, and extortion. 1 The citizens of South Korea, who had marched out onto the streets for months, had succeeded in their candlelight vigil. South Korea’s recent movement, also known as the Candlelight Protest, was multi-dimensionally novel. Considering other successful and unsuccessful protests of the past, South Korea’s demonstration holds particular value in its non-violent nature. A Harvard Professor, Paul Chang, replied in his interview with the Harvard Political Review, that “what stood out most [from South Korea’s movement], other than the incredible scale of course, was how civil the protest was…[because] there was not even a hint of possible violence.” 2 A contrasting example to Korea’s non-violence is another recent protest in Algeria that is considered a part of the Arab Spring movement. In 2011, Algerian protesters confronted with the national security in their capital, Algiers, were inspired by Egypt, a country that successfully removed their long-serving president. 3 Yet in Algeria, the movement was extinguished as early as January of 2011, and only small riots that demanded basic infrastructures, wage, and water continued. 4 In one riot, more than 300 protesters were injured during the clash with the police force, demonstrating violence.

The juxtaposition of these two different protests and their contrasting results can be attributed to each nation’s unique history of protesting, and their history of political and religious ideologies. This paper will compare the history of Korea and Algeria, and determine how each has distinctively impacted the protests of modern day society in both nations. The reason that Algeria was particularly chosen to be compared with South Korea was due to the similarities between the two countries in population, gender ratio, and age distribution. In 2017, Algeria’s population was reported to be approximately 40 million; 5 South Korea was close to 50 million. 6 The comparable population would signify that the scale and the scope of the two different protests would be relatively similar. The social demographics also resemble each other. In South Korea,

about 45.52% of the population are aged 25 to 54 years, 7 and in Algeria, about 42.93% of the population are, 8 demonstrating that the proportion of working population is almost identical in both nations. The gender ratio for both countries are, on average, one to one (male to female). 9 These analogous social demographics suggest that other radically different factors between the two countries--such as religion, politics, and economy--can be given more attention when comparing the protests. This paper argues that there are two distinctive components from each country’s history that led one country to end its protest in a peaceful manner and the other to erupt into violence: the practice of pro-democracy movements in Korean history and their transformation into candlelight vigils, and the deeply rooted cultural confucianism and collectivism of the Korean society that contrasts the violent oppression of demonstrations in Algerian history, and their fragmented political and religious identity.

2. Defining Non-violent Protests in History The first important discussion for any social movement is the distinction between a “revolution” and a “protest.” Revolution is a “a novel structuring of society, [and] a new and millennial order,” which means that for an event to be labeled as a revolution, there must be “a change in the fundamental laws or conventional norms of a political system.” 10 That is why the Arab Spring, in which several authoritarian leaders were replaced with free and democratic elections, is also known as the Arab Revolutions. However, both the demonstrations in South Korea and Algeria cannot be called the Candlelight Revolution or the Algerian Revolution. Even though South Korea successfully substituted their leader with a more liberal president, it did not overthrow and introduce a novel government system-- the structure, the administration process, and the constitution stayed intact. 11 The Algerian protests of 2011-12 also did not incite a major change to their government. 12 Both movements, therefore, are designated the name “protest,” and need to be distinguished by a different factor: whether the protests were nonviolent or not. A nonviolent protest is not simply defined by the absence of violence. Though violence is the key in determining a protest’s nature, a non-violent protest has to fit additional criteria. 13 The definition must extend to include specific behaviors people take in nonviolent protests, such as “civilian-led action in which unarmed persons confront

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opponents using coordinated, purposive, sequences of nonviolent methods.” 14 Therefore, there is a clear difference between the practice of pure nonviolence, which often refuses any form of aggression with its basis in ethical and religious reasons, and “strategic nonviolence,” in which nonviolence is consciously chosen as a way to oppose due to its advantages. 15 Examples of nonviolent resistance include “protests, strikes, boycotts, and demonstrations.” 16 Throughout this paper, strategic nonviolence, nonviolent resistance, unarmed struggle, and nonviolent protest will all be referring to the concept above. In history, “nonviolent” protest was associated with words that have connotations for being “passive,” “weak,” and “pacifist.” Violence seemed to require more awareness and attention due to their scale of trouble and urgency, thus distracting historians from properly studying minor and major peaceful struggles. 17 Recent studies of history yield a better evaluation of unarmed struggles. The studies’ first rationale is that nonviolent protests respect commonly accepted moral beliefs people tend to adhere to. The demonstration of political dissatisfaction represents people’s right to speech, but at the same time, it also upholds the protection of human life and dignity with its nonviolent methods. 18 Often, people associate nonviolent protests with “an indication of ‘human


evaluated as actions that advance human rights. 20 The idea that it does not go against the morals, but is also a sense of human progressiveness, hugely appeals to the public. Another ground behind such positive evaluation of strategic nonviolence is due to its relatively successful results in history. Past incidents have proven that nonviolent protest is able to, and is highly likely to, bring out change

with the minimum number of casualties. For example, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, the authors of the book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, gathered “Twenty-Five Largest Resistance Campaigns, 1900-2006” and found that nonviolent protests were 70% successful, whereas for violent protests, only 40% were successful. 21 Examples of these successful protests include “Bolivia (1977, 1982),

Sudan (1985), Haiti (1985), Philippines (1986), South Korea (1987), Chile (1989), Poland (1989), East Germany (1989),

Czechoslovakia (1989),

(1998).” 22 There are three reasons why nonviolent protests often yield superior results to violent protests. First, it appeals better to the public, thus bringing out greater participation and mobilization. The lack of safety risks or costs motivates more people to join, and there are less physical limitations for women, elderly, or teenagers. There are less casualties for people, and the prospect of being able to return to their ordinary lives quickly comforts many people. 23 The social barrier also allows greater participation. The festive-like atmosphere brings out unity among people, and with less violence, people are able to turn their political cause into humor or entertainment through singing, street


empowerment.’” 19 They are


(1996), and Indonesia

theater, and art. This helps bring down fear or uncertainty in people’s minds, thus motivating them to take part. 24 This greater access to protest ultimately results in a larger membership, which is one of the key factors in bringing out a successful opposition. The second reason that attributes to the success is that nonviolent methods create more backlash for the regime. Compared to when the regime oppresses a violent, disorganized crowd, its retaliation against an unarmed group brings out harsher condemnation from international community, the nation’s population, and even the regime’s own supporters. The leadership often has greater risks in countering nonviolent protests because their actions may produce dissent and fragmentation of their own supporters, and an increased “external support for the resistance.” 25 This external support is created by a negative media portrayal of governments repressing nonviolence, or sanctions from foreign states. Often, nonviolent protests are much more effective in provoking sympathy compared to physical opposition. 26 For example, when the footage of Israelis suppressing unarmed Palestinians was broadcast in the 1980s, it had a significant impact on American society, arousing sympathy among the American citizens. 27 Therefore, it is less likely that a government will brutally react to repress a peaceful movement for their fear of extensive backlash. The final reason that makes nonviolent struggles more potent is the higher possibility for the protesters to form a compromise or bargain with the regime. Chenoweth and Stephan claim that the higher chance of arriving to a resolution is due to shifting loyalties. In contrast to violent movements, nonviolent movements “do not physically threaten members of the security forces or a regime's civil servants,” 28 which means that certain members of the regime will have less hostility and may actually shift in favor of the resistance group. These shifting sentiments immediately undermine the power of regime, thus motivating them to be more willing to cooperate. 29 However, Stephen Zunes, one of the leading experts of strategic nonviolence in the United States, argues for a different cause. He argues that the government is simply less concerned about nonviolent movements compared to those that require immediate physical reprisal. Therefore, they are less likely to put significance in the consequences of their compromises with the dissenters. 30 This general study of protests is later helpful to understand how certain historical factors either enable or impede nonviolence. Now, this paper will observe the history of pro-democracy demonstrations in Korean society during the 20th century, and how they have contributed to the recent breakout of the Candlelight Protest.

3. History of Pro-Democracy Movements and Non- violent Protests in Korea South Korea’s history of pro-democracy movements dates back to the days after the devastating Korean War (1950-53). The first few movements, mostly led by university students, inevitably broke out into violence;


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yet, the patterns of Korean protests gradually developed into one of nearly complete nonviolence. The first major social uprising in South Korea was in 1960: the April 19th Revolt. It was a large scale pro- democracy movement that was sparked by university students against Korea’s first president, Syngman Rhee. Rhee was determined to maintain his power in the government. He amended the constitution in 1954, allowing himself to run for presidency after his second term. After 12 years of his continued presidency, however, the citizens of South Korea were discontent with the government. The public’s political opinion was shifting towards Rhee’s rival political party, Minjudang. It was especially the students, who looked to the Western democracies as effective and successful forms of government, that voiced their criticisms against Rhee’s government. 31 In 1960, Rhee’s flagrant rigging of the vice-presidential election sparked the already existing sentiments into action, driving students into the streets to voice for a fair electoral process and democratic principles. On April 11th of the same year, the movement developed into a full-blown demonstration when a student’s body was found in Masan Bay, burnt and badly injured by police. The “violent hysteria” of the people in Masan resulted in 15 deaths and more than 170 injuries. 32 After days of organizing, more than 50,000 students from over 30 different colleges gathered to protest in front of the National Assembly. However, they were soon faced with uncontrolled open fire by the police, which transitioned the movement into a violent upheaval. On April 19th, more than 186 people were killed, marking the day as the “4.19 Revolt.” Due to international pressure from the United States, on April 27th the president resigned. 33 This first example of social uprising in Korean history is not an illustration of nonviolence, yet the public’s reaction to a student’s death in Masan is the first indication of intolerance towards the government’s violent oppression. The next democratic transition was in 1980: the May 18th Gwangju Democratic Movement. Despite the relatively successful 4.19 Revolt, in 1961 the South Korean government fell under the control of Park Chung Hee. Park remained in his office for 18 years, creating a “virtual dictatorship” by strengthening presidential powers and repressing any political oppression. He was also the father of President Park Guen-hye, the recent president that was impeached after the Candlelight Protest. However, Park was assassinated in 1979. This sudden void of dictatorship created anticipation for a truly democratic government that swept over the citizens. The excitement was soon shattered when an internal coup succeeded in December, creating the next dictatorship by Chun Doo Hwan. As the anguished political sentiments culminated among social activists, students, laborers, and ordinary citizens, Chun’s government declared martial law. 34 On May 18th, the students in Gwangju rose to actively resist the imposition of Martial Law. The government responded to this by brutal military oppression, killing 165 citizens and injuring many more. 35 Though this

movement failed to bring an immediate transformation of the government, it acted as a catalyst to Korea’s democratic movements and those in surrounding Asian nations. Dandeniya Gamage Jayanthi, a political activist in Sri Lanka, described the May 18th movement as “a great source of inspiration in the human rights struggle… [that helped] demolish conventional impunity omnipresent in East Asia.” 36

The protesters of the May 18th Movement could also not avoid violent interactions with the government. However, the movement was yet another indisputable exemplification of the pro-democratic values persistent in Korean society. The fact that such values were reiterated after the April 19th Movement was enough to transform the political atmosphere in South Korea. In the 2000s, the fervent spirit of resistance began manifesting itself in a nonviolent form--most prominently, in candlelight vigils. The history of South Korea’s candlelight protests dates back to 2002, when thousands of Korean citizens held up candles in vigil for two teenage girls killed by American soldiers. When the court trial concluded the soldiers to be innocent, the vigil turned into a protest for a fair verdict 37 and an amendment of U.S. and South Korea’s Status of Force Agreement. 38 Ever since this incident, mass civil movements in Korea have taken the form of candlelight protest that signifies the opposition to injustice. Another major candlelight protest occurred in 2004 when citizens protested against the impeachment of President No Mu Hyun. More than 200,000 people came out to the streets, consisting of both groups who agreed and disagreed about the impeachment, but the protest ended in peace with no casualties. 39 In 2008, another public outcry was measured against the government’s agreement to U.S. beef imports. As the public concern for food safety -- and the dangers of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, also known as Mad Cow Disease -- intensified, 40 more than 500,000 citizens gathered in downtown Seoul (the capital city of South Korea), returning again to the method of candlelight vigils. 41 Candlelight was engraved in the citizens’ minds as the symbol of justice. The frequent recurrence of vigils and protests that use candles provided citizens with practice and training for any political uprising. It was implicitly agreed within people’s minds that holding candles was the key to representing public opposition. This historical practice of pro-democratic movements and their gradual development into a solid practice of nonviolence became an irreplaceable basis for the recent Candlelight Protest against President Park, which will be further elaborated in the latter parts of this paper.

4. History of Anti-government Movements and Non- violent Protests in Algeria Algeria’s anti-government movement can be dated back to the late 1980s (this paper does not include the Algerian War of Independence in 1962, as decolonization wars hold completely different social traits than internal uprisings against a national government). In 1978, Chadli


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Bendjedid, the new president of Algeria, took office. 42 However, throughout the late 1970s to mid 1980s, Algeria met national challenges of growing unemployment and a drop in oil price (1985), resulting in economic instability. 43 In October 1988, the crisis overwhelmed the youth of Algeria, and they took to the streets against the Front de Libération Nationale (FNL), the single party ruling the country.

The FNL reacted with brutality and heavy violence:

the protesters were arrested, the media was systematically censored, and there was even outright torture to keep the public at bay. 44 Yet the young population continued to protest against “the absence of presidential term limits; a mismanaged socialist economy; and a tyrannical secret service.” 45 The demonstrations soon turned to riots. The rioters attacked “public buildings, airline headquarters, and a nightclub” 46 until the actual army was positioned around the city, and a state of siege was decreed by the government. The riot ended with approximately 500 deaths. 47 Despite the violent progression of the protest, the results seemed successful. It had ended the single-party system that was persistent in the nation for more than a decade, and introduced political pluralism. 48 Yet, this political transition did not last long. In 1992, only four years after the violent uprising, a democratic election in which the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) party had significant advantage was nullified. The dramatic economic and political reforms after 1988 were immediately undermined in an explosion of civil war. The military that had temporarily fallen into the back of Algerian politics reasserted its control again. The Algerian security forces brutally reacted against the equally aggressive Islamist parties, and the violent upheaval continued for nearly a decade. Approximately 150,000 to 200,000 Algerians were killed, and more than 10,000 “disappeared,” who were believed to be abducted by either sides forces. 49 This era was also called the “Black Decade.” 50 Compared to the history in South Korea, Algeria’s experience with political transition was more radical and violent. The series of protests did not simply result in a transformed government; the new form of pluralism, created by people’s demonstrating, ended up with the outbreak of a civil war. This contemporary history, still vividly evident in different parts of the country, “left Algerians with a deep fear of instability.51 As will be mentioned further in this paper, the nation’s history ultimately stifled the recent Algerian protests in 2011, as both the government and the citizens’ fear for another war was greater than their hope for change. 52

5. The History of Collectivist Ideologies and Culture in Korea

When trying to find a cause for a modern day phenomenon, though it is beneficial to look at sequential events and how one has led to the other, it is equally important to observe the history of ideologies and culture. The cultural basis of a society is fundamental, meaning that

its impact cannot and should not be underestimated. The most prominent culture in Korea is perhaps its Confucian

tradition and collectivist ideologies -- both of them leaving permanent marks in the country’s progress towards democracy. The first aspect of culture is the Confucian tradition in South Korea. Confucianism first originated in China, but is unclear when it was brought into the dynasties in Korea -- the rough approximation is that it originated from the import of Chinese classics in 108 BCE. Confucianism is considered

a branch of philosophy, a political system, or a religion.

Though interpretations may vary, Confucian traditions nonetheless left a profound impact on Korean history. 53 Confucianism was developed from the teachings of

Confucius (551-479 BCE). The core of its doctrine is “to be human,” focusing on the ethical and social roles people have.

It emphasizes human virtues like Ren (benevolence and

love), or Ye/Li (propriety). Another key aspect of the ideology is people’s social relationship and respect to the

family, especially parents (filial piety). 54 The Five Relationship (Oryun) between parent and child, husband and wife, sibling and sibling, friend and friend, and finally, ruler and subject, was emphasized as the basis for a stable and harmonious country. 55 To Koreans in history, such harmony and stability was necessary for them to persist through hardships. Korea had frequently suffered through invasions as a country surrounded by prominent empires in history such as Mongol, China, and Japan. Withstanding national insecurities, a certain mentality called ‘han’ was developed.

It was formed in accordance with Confucianism traditions,

transforming that permanent repression and inability felt within an inferior country into desires for discipline and group unity. 56 This national mentality that developed is demonstrated in various traditions and artifacts of Korea, the most prominent one being the Tripitaka Koreana. Also called the Janggyeong Panjeon, it is a collection of Buddhist text engraved on 80,000 wooden blocks by hand. The purpose of its construction was to defend the Koryu Dynasty from Mongol invasions between 1237 and 1248 through national unity. Worked on by countless monks and protected by the people, Tripitaka Koreana is one demonstration of the nation’s collectivist values. 57 With more than centuries cultivated in such Confucian traditions, even the modern Koreans see “reciprocity in human relationships as an indispensable daily value,” 58 and it has created a majorly ‘collectivist’ society. Collective culture refers to the prioritization of group and the interdependence of members in society. 59 Even before and after the rise and fall of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897), the last dynasty of Korea, the value of collective social harmony in Korea “has been highly promoted by central governing institutions,” like educational facilities. 60 In both family and workplace structures, efforts to achieve ‘we-ness’ and arrive at a consensus of opinion thrive. 61 The two most prominent examples of collectivism is the country’s national education system and its compulsory military system, as mentioned by Dr.Tan Soo


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Kee in the International Journal of East Asian Studies. 62 National education systems like Membership Training (MT) gather college freshman students on a mandatory trip, doing teamwork-building activities and games to “promote friendship and community spirit.” 63 The compulsory military conscription also creates this sense of communal identity, as all male members of society are forced to build relationships with new people, following discipline -- though often perceived as being harsh -- directed towards a common goal. Referring back to the definition of nonviolent protests as using “coordinated, purposive, sequences of nonviolent methods,” 64 the success of nonviolent protests relies on the strategic nature of the protests. Working in a group is not an unfamiliar concept in Korea -- in fact, it is most commonly exposed to all generations, especially the youth, with education and military. Considering that the Korean public was more accustomed and experienced in strategic group behaviors, it is a factor that cannot be overlooked when examining the causes of such a mass scale social movement.

6. The History of Fragmentation in Algerian Political and Religious Ideologies In contrast to the collectivist norms of South Korea, the historical culture and ideologies in Algeria are not homogenous. The main justification behind this is the power struggle between multiple Algerian groups after their independence from France in 1962. In the summer of 1962, nationalist leaders gathered in the Soummam Congress to distinguish different roles during the process of gaining independence. The main distinction was made between two factions: the political branch and the military branch. Toward the end of the Algerian war, the struggle between the Gouvernement Provisioire de la République Algérienne (GPRA) and Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) grew. It ultimately ended with another conflict, and the army who took control “marginaliz[ed] the political authority that had negotiated independence with France.” 65 Because of such antagonism between the two factions, the experience of struggle was a collective one, but the sense of ownership during the postcolonial period was disjointed. 66 The country had lost a pivotal moment in history to provide a foundation for a nationally united sense of identity. Another major cause of the country’s fragmentation can be found in the 1980s. Despite the draconian government, Algeria was seemingly stable with its economy during the 1960s and 1970s, mainly due to its heavy reliance on oil revenues. In the late 1980s, however, the government faced a steep decline of oil revenues, and was forced to take on new ways of liberalizing the country. 67 In 1989, the new revision of the country’s constitution began allowing the participation of multi-political parties other than the already existing single political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN). This led to the rise of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which also acted as not only a political catalyst but a religious one in the midst of an Islamist social movement. 68

Islam was constantly associated with conflict in Algeria -- during the French occupation, Islam provided a common ground for anti colonial resistance. 69 In the postcolonial era, it opposed the secular militaristic regime of FLN. It stepped in again in the late 1980s when the country’s hidden issues were unveiled, including soaring inflation, an unsettled youth population, and the growing wealth gap between the people and the corrupted officials. 70 As this religious activism attempted to confront the authoritarian government, it created three partisan movements: The Movement for Society of Peace (MSP), the Al-Nahda Tendency, and the FIS. The most important out of all three was the FIS, gaining electoral success in both local and regional areas, and criticizing the FLN party of its secular governing. Threatened by their growing success, the military dismissed the results of the election, creating powerful religious unrest and ultimately causing the ‘Black Decade’ mentioned above in this paper. 71 This incident rattled the numerous radical religious activists and political parties to their core, and these factions still remain today as the basis of Algeria’s society. The “mutual distrust” among those who have similar intentions of opposing the government creates a weak anti-government front, 72 which is one of the primary factors that would have hindered the development of a non-violent protest, in which unity is the key. Comparing this progression of history to South Korea, in which the overwhelming majority of the people both intentionally and unintentionally adhered to the Confucian traditions that motivated “unity and harmony,” Algeria’s political and religious unrest provided a weak foundation for a non-violent protest.

7. The Effect of History in Two Recent Protests Until now, the paper has compared the parallel history of two nations. Various factors were considered, including how the anti-government movements progressed, the nature of such movements, and the existence of violence in them. The discussion was then extended to the development of traditional unity, in the case of South Korea, and the process of political and religious fragmentation in the case of Algeria. The purpose of such comparisons was to determine how the practice of anti-government movements and the history of unity and fragmentation each contribute to the development of non-violent protests in contemporary society.

South Korea’s Candlelight Protest mainly began with President Park’s scandal with Choi Soon- sil. In the summer of 2016, Choi was pointed out by several news

outlets to have connections with the government, especially after her wealth and her daughter’s preferential admission to

a university was revealed. The tension that was gradually

building finally erupted into a mass protest in October, when

a news organization, JTBC, found the abandoned computer

of Choi, with all of the country’s private national documents. 73 The documents, the so-called “Choi Files,” contained various government legal documents, from presidential speeches and personal schedules to human


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resources and diplomatic records, revealing how the president had give Choi illegal access to the national government. 74 In October 2016, the first candlelight protest against President Park broke out. At first, the protesters called for President Park’s resignation. When she refused, the citizens began to advocate for the impeachment of President Park. On December 19th, the National Assembly of Korea passed a bill to move on to the voting procedure for Park’s impeachment, and thousands of citizens celebrated this progress. For 134 days, people continued to light up their candles in large public squares, like the Gwanghwamun Square, until finally, on March 10th, the president was impeached. 75 The protest had lasted for ten weeks, recording 1.5 million people on the fifth protest, and ending with an accumulated number of 10 million protestors, 76 a large feat for a country with a population of 50 million. The protest included an extremely diversified group of people ranging from the elderly, adults, and students, to children, families, and celebrities. There was no political party that dominated or led the protest, and the high participation rate of ordinary citizens was noted by the foreign media. Most notably, however, the protest was completely nonviolent. The atmosphere of the protest was described as one like a festival. On various protests, famous Korean celebrities and singers performed. Large stages, lights, and sound facilities were set up in the streets. People created satirical shows, posters, and art by mockingly dressing up as Choi, or using sarcastic humor to criticize the president. 77 Considering the gradual development of South Korea’s anti-government protests and its trend, this Candlelight Protest was a predictable extension of the already existing history of candlelight vigils. To the people of South Korea, the act of protesting against the government, like the dictatorship and military regime of the 1980s, was familiar. The majority of the participants in this protest, from youth to the elderly, were also accustomed to the style of candlelight vigils. The older generation had observed the development of the candlelight vigil tradition, and the younger generation was also frequently exposed to them after the 2000s. The most recent candlelight protest before this was only three years ago in 2014, as people came out into the streets to mourn the sinking of a ferry with more than 300 students. 78 ‘Candlelight’ itself has become a symbol of struggle and opposition in the country, and therefore it was natural for the nation’s citizens to seek this nonviolent method instead of breaking off into violent protests. After the scandal, people immediately created organizations like Bisang 2016 that were responsible for informing specific venues and dates to citizens, showing how experienced they were in dealing with a national crisis. 79

South Korea’s homogeneous traditions and ideologies that stemmed from Confucian traditions, continuing into the modern military and college culture, also effectively created a sense of ‘collective determinism’ in the


protests. By November, the support rate of President Park plummeted to 5%, which meant that almost 95% of the citizens, an extreme majority, was opposed to Park’s presidency. 80 The political front was largely unified for the same cause, which was the president’s impeachment, and even the left and right parties unanimously agreed upon the necessity of such a decision. This collective goal can be assumed as a major catalyst behind a quick spread of the movement across the whole country, which ultimately led to adding substantial weight behind the citizens’ demands even in the absence of violence. On the contrary, the way Algeria’s protests progressed reflected their own history. The Arab Spring was first ignited in Tunisia, with the self immolation of a grocer named Mohamed Bouaziizi, who was harassed by local officials. 81 The movement of pro-democracy in Tunisia spread rapidly to other Arab nations like Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Libya, and Algeria. The spontaneous surge of revolts were attributed with the word ‘revolution,’ all the while maintaining its own distinctive meaning and value from other historically upheld Western revolutions. 82 On February 12th, 2011, protesters gathered in the country’s capital, Algiers, chanting for their president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to leave. However, the protests soon turned to riots and violence; video footage was released of the police dragging and beating civilians. 83 The opposition was weak, as only about 2000 gathered in Algiers, and it simply ended up in a local, small scale expression of resentment rather than a political act. 84 Algerian society was too politically unstable and fragmented for a joint action. Even 30 years after the ‘Black Decade,’ or the Algerian Civil War, the public was not ready to face another mass scale movement. The civil war had left too many casualties for a political opposition to be successful, which contrasted how past protests left clues for Koreans to follow in its path for nonviolence. The vivid history of violence and opposition actually hindered the movement in Algeria from gaining momentum, as the fear and distrust was still evident among the nation. Unlike Korea, in which the people were reassured of the power to create change via non-violent methods, in Algeria, “[the] continuing failures of political dialogue….and heavy-handed repressive tactics ensured an atmosphere of mutual distrust in the country.” 85 Another major difference Algeria had with its parallel example, Korea, was the society's fragmented history, as thoroughly explained above in this paper. The regime exploited this deeply rooted division of the Islamists against the Democrats, and the military against the public. For example, Bouaziizi’s regime bribed more than 30,000 policemen to ensure they oppose the civilians and remain loyal. 86 The protest also had its limits in the division between the capital and other provincial areas; unlike Korea, in which the protest spread simultaneously to ‘provincial

urban centers’

protest simply ended in Algiers. The fact that the political and ideological divisions existed made it harder for it to gain a regional support. Therefore, when the government

all around the country, 87 Algeria’s major

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announced several compromises like price reduction for food imports, the movement faded away, not reignited in other areas of the country. 88 However, even with the limits, the 2011 protests of Algeria have more implications than just a hasty condemnation of the nation’s history. Most importantly, this protest showed a sign of the younger generation’s growing participation in marching, something that has not been witnessed until recent. 89 This could signify a potentially positive outcome for future uprisings, as the youth could gradually replace the older generations still entrenched in the memories of the nation’s civil war, bringing out a more active and pressing political dialogue. An illustration of this is the Barakat! (Enough) Movement of 2014, an opposition against Bouteflika’s running for the fourth term in presidency. The movement was mostly led by youth activists, gaining support in social networking sites and public demonstrations in universities. The National Youth Council was also formed, that aimed for “the political and economic engagement of youth.” 90 These recent trends that continued from 2011 to 2014, and the rising involvement of the youth in an attempt to change the country’s political atmosphere, imply how Algeria might be in the course of overcoming the historically derived obstacles it previously faced.

8. Conclusion Though seemingly unrelated in their history, South Korea and Algeria have created distinct patterns in history that are comparable. When analyzing the two recent protests of South Korea and Algeria, one successful and nonviolent in its nature, and the other dismantled and oppressed, the history of the two countries’ anti-government movements, and their development of national unity and ideology juxtaposed one another. South Korea’s pro-democracy movements starting with the April 19th Revolution in 1960, and the gradual development of the ‘candlelight vigil,’ unique to the country’s unified and collectivist culture, greatly contributed in bringing out a successful protest to impeach the country’s 18th president, President Park. Algeria’s anti-government movements after the country’s independence, on the other hand, was series of violence. The politically and religiously fragmented aggression reached its climax with the ‘Black Decade,’ resulting in a tragic massacre. There is a clear correlation shown in the impacts a country’s political history and unification could have on recent, modern day demonstrations. This comparison and observation, however, is not complete. It did not consider the more recent factors that cannot be attributed to the nation's history, like the widespread usage of media as a communication and public reporting method in South Korea. 91 Additional research on more identical case studies of other Asian and Arab nations would have confirmed whether certain characteristics unique to these cultural spheres, like Confucian traditions in East Asian society, or Islamist Social Movements in Arab nations,


actually influenced a particular protest, and if so, how and to what level it did. Despite its limitations, however, the implications of this paper cannot be undermined. The fact that history can be held accountable for a modern day phenomenon once again proves that a nation’s past behaviors and events must be recognized for their significance. It also leaves an implication that when studying these characteristics, if a particular historical trend is to be found in a positive correlation with a progression of nonviolent protests, it could signify the capacity to apply it to different social and cultural contexts. Thus, different outcomes of social movements can be predicted, or at least be anticipated, to a certain degree. In this rapidly growing politically conscious atmosphere, this could become a vital change to bring out nonviolent protests, the power stemming from not only the absence of violence, but the continuing symbol of justice and morality.


1. Sang-Hun Choe, “South Korea Removes

President Park Geun-Hye,” The New York Times, March 9, 2017, accessed March 28, 2018,



2. Andrew, Kim, “Protest: The South Korean

Weapon of Choice,” Harvard Political Review, Harvard

University, April 8, 2017, accessed March 28, 2018,


3. “Algeria Protesters Push for Change,” Aljazeera,

February 13, 2011, accessed March 28, 2018,



4. Kamel Daoud, “The Algerian Exception,” The

New York Times, May 29, 2015, accessed March 28, 2018,


exception.html. 5. “Algeria,” The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, 2018, accessed March 28, 2018,



6. “Korea,” The World Factbook, Central

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7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Isaac Kraminick, “Reflections on Revolution:

Definition and Explanation in Recent Scholarship,” History

and Theory 11, no. 1 (1972): 2663,


11. Alexis Dudden, “Revolution by Candlelight:

How South Koreans Toppled a Government,” Dissent Magazine, 2017, accessed March 28, 2018,

May 15, 2018, Moon



12. Kamel Daoud, “The Algerian Exception.”

13. Kraminick, 30.

14. Joel Day, Jonathan Pickney, and Erica

Chenoweth, “Collecting Data on Nonviolent Actions:

Lessons Learned and Ways Forward,” Journal of Peace Research 52, no.1 (June 2014): 129-133, doi:


15. Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, “Why

Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent

Conflict,” International Security 33, no. 1 (2008): 744.

16. Erica Chenoweth and Kathleen Gallagher

Cunningham, “Understanding Nonviolent Resistance: An Introduction,” Journal of Peace Research 50, no. 3 (2013):


17. Kurt Schock, “The Practice and Study of Civil

Resistance,” Journal of Peace Research 50, no.3 (May

2013): 277-290, doi:


18. Russell J. Dalton and Christian Welzel, The

Civic Culture Transformed: From Allegiant to Assertive

Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2014), 318.

19. Ibid., 40.

20. Stephen Zunes, “Nonviolent Action and Human

Rights,” PS: Political Science and Politics 33, no. 2 (2000):

18187, https://doi.org/10.2307/420888.

21. Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, Why

Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2012): 33.

22. Zunes, 182.

23. Chenoweth and Stephan, 38.

24. Ibid., 36.

25. Ibid., 225.

26. Ibid., 37.

27. Zunes, 184.

28. Stephan and Chenoweth, 13.

29. Ibid., 11.

30. Zunes, 184.

31. Quee-Young Kim, “From Protest to Change of

Regime: The 4-19 Revolt and the Fall of the Rhee Regime in

South Korea,” Social Forces 74, no. 4 (1996): 11791208,


32. Ibid., 1185-87.

33. Ibid.,1189.

34. Chong-suk Han, “Kwangju Uprising,”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, May 11, 2018, accessed March

28, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/event/Kwangju- Uprising.

35. “Human Rights Documentary Heritage 1980

Archives for the May 18th Democratic Uprising Against Military Regime, in Gwangju,” UNESCO & Heritage, Korea

National Commission for UNESCO, 2011, accessed March 28, 2018, http://heritage.unesco.or.kr/mows/human-rights-



36. Ibid.

37. Sun-Chul Kim, “South Korea’s Candlelight

Protests a Peaceful Force,” The Asia Times, accessed May

14, 2018, accessed March 28, 2018,



38. Hyekyu Jung, “Exploded Anger of the Citizens

after the Death of Misun and Hyosun,” Voice of Public, June

11, 2012, accessed March 28, 2018,


39. “From the 1987… Candlelight as the Sign of

Peace,” Chosun.com, Chosunilbo, December 6, 2016,

accessed March 28, 2018,



40. Jennifer S. Oh, “Strong State and Strong Civil

Society in Contemporary South Korea: Challenges to Democratic Governance,” Asian Survey 52, no. 3 (2012):

52849, https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2012.52.3.528.

41. Jiyeon Kang, “Corporeal Memory and the

Making of a Post-Ideological Social Movement:

Remembering the 2002 South Korean Candlelight Vigils,” The Journal of Korean Studies 17, no. 2 (2012): 32950.

42. “Algeria Profile,” BBC News, January 8, 2018,

accessed March 28, 2018, sec. Africa,


43. Benjamin Stora, Algeria, 1830-2000: A Short

History (Cornell University Press, 2004).

44. James D. Le Sueur, Algeria since 1989:

Between Terror and Democracy (Zed Books Ltd., 2013).

45. Kamel Daoud, “The Algerian Exception.”

46. Stora, Algeria, 196.


Ibid., 196-209.

48. Rabah Ghezali, “Why Has the Arab Spring Not

Spread to Algeria?” Huffington Post (blog), April 3, 2011, accessed March 28, 2018,



49. Dalia Dassa Kaye et al., eds., “Algeria,” in

More Freedom, Less Terror?, 1st ed., Liberalization and

Political Violence in the Arab World (RAND Corporation, 2008), 12342,


50. Vish Sakthivel, “Political Islam in Post-

Conflict Algeria,” Hudson Institute, November 2, 2017,

accessed March 28, 2018,



51. Kamel Daoud, “The Algerian Exception.”

52. Ibid.

53. Edward Y.J. Chung, Korean Confucianism:

Tradition and Modernity (Seongnam: The

Academy of Korean Study Press, 2015), 19-143.

54. Ibid., 26.

55. Ibid., 77.

56. Jong Park, “The Experience of Elderly

Koreans’ Han and Its Implication for Spiritual Care: In the


May 15, 2018, Moon

Canadian Context” (Ph.D diss., Wilfrid Laurier University,


57. “Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the

Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks,” UNESCO World Heritage Center, 1995, accessed March 28,

2018, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/737.

58. Chung, Korean Confucianism, 79.

59. Diana D. Ahn, “Individualism and

Collectivism in a Korean Population” (senior thesis, Scripps College, 2011), 6-7.

60. Tomasz Sleziak, The Role of Confucianism in

Contemporary South Korean Society, vol. LXVI (Committee on Oriental Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, 2013).

61. Ahn, 7.

62. Tan Soo Kee, “The Role of Korean

Collectivism in South Korea’s Industrialization Process.,”

International Journal of East Asian Studies 4, no. 1 (December 1, 2015), http://repository.um.edu.my/108381/.

63. Sin Sup Kim, “Where Should MT Culture

77. Dudden, “Revolution by Candlelight.”

78. Sim, “Ever Since 1987.”

79. “2.25 17th Protest Mass Meeting,” Bisang

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80. “South Korea Leader Set to Be Questioned,”

BBC News, November 13, 2016, accessed March 28, 2018,

sec. Asia, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37966494.

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accessed March 28, 2018,


82. William V. Spanos, “Arab Spring, 2011,”

Symplokē 20, no. 12 (2012): 83119,


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the Next to Fall?,” Time, February 14, 2011, accessed March 28, 2018,


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84. Ghezali, “Why has the Arab Spring Not



64. Day, Pickney, and Chenoweth, Collecting Data

on Nonviolent Action, 129.

65. Edward McAllister, “Immunity to the Arab

Spring? Fear, Fatigue and Fragmentation in Algeria,” Journal of New Middle Eastern Studies 3, (January 2013).

66. Ibid., 7.

67. Ray Takeyh, “Islam in Algeria: A Struggle

Between Hope and Agony,” Journal of Middle East Policy

Council X, no.2 (2013), https://mepc.org/journal/islamism- algeria-struggle-between-hope-and-agony.

68. Robert Mortimer, “Islam and Multiparty

Politics in Algeria,” Middle East Journal 45, no. 4 (1991):


69. Ibid., 575.

70. Takeyh, “Islam in Algeria.”

71. Sakthivel, “Political Islam in Post-Conflict


72. Ghezali, “Why has the Arab Spring Not


73. Youngyik Han, "Butterfly Effect," News Join,

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Sign of Peace," Chosun.com, December 6, 2016, accessed

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76. Jihan Yoo, "5th Candlelight Revolution,"

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87. Nan Kim, “Candlelight and the Yellow

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89. Karima Bennoune, “Algeria’s Long Haul

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