If you ever read about Greco-Roman mythology, you will know that most of the gods are grumpy and bad-tempered. Meanwhile, Demeter, the goddess of fertility is a very rare figure with gentleness and authority at the same time. The myth does not cover her much, maybe she is too kind for her hot-tempered fellows. However, her role is really important as she presides over grains and the fertility of the earth, which is deeply related to the cycle of life and death.
When her daughter, Persephone, was abducted, Demeter put everything else aside and searched for her daughter in vain. Her sorrow and anger burnt down all the crops on earth, and lands soon became barren. Upon Demeter’s curse, great drought and consequently famine arrived. Only after Zeus, king of the gods, came to soothe her anger, all mortals managed to avoid extinction.
Demeter has silently watched and supported the growth of mankind from the ancient Greek era to contemporary society. Indeed, agriculture, her greatest gift to the human race, is the foundation of the civilized world we see today. It still is a key industry which cannot be replaced by anything. However, Demeter’s anxiety to Korean agriculture is getting deeper these days.
We see less green than ever before. The total farm land area has been declining due to the urbanization and industrialization. People indiscriminately import cheap foreign farm products, weakening the competitiveness of Korean produce. Most of all, young people are not interested in farming. And that is the biggest problem as they are the leaders of future.
Whether we want it or not, future is always before us. We will soon have to take action to solve the problems which the present human race is facing. Avoiding them is no different from handing over a time bomb to our children. So then, what can we do?
The only things that can brighten up the future are the courage to fight against what we fear and the passion to learn about what we are not familiar with. The Argus hopes readers have time to ruminate about the value of agriculture, realizing that it is not just a distasteful drudgery, but the source of today’s richness and glory. God bless all farm workers through these tough days.
By Na Geum-chae