In 1980s South Korea, hundreds of protesters were maimed and blinded by tear gas grenades fired by police. But the demand to stop the state’s use of tear gas soon itself became the focus of protests — a fight against police brutality which rallied millions of South Koreans behind the pro-democracy movement.
Max Balhorn is a PhD student at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, where he is researching South Korean environmental history in the postwar era.
Bong Joon Ho’s film Parasite has been hailed for highlighting the class divides that split South Korean society. But its portrayal of working-class life also demonstrates a deeper ill of capitalism — the way in which the constant hunt for a job undermines our basic human dignity.