(I’ve talked about related issues here and here and here, if you want the full story through the eyes of the wonderchicken…)
Anti-American sentiments are on the rise in Korea once again, on the heels of the ‘axis of evil’ script read recently by The Little President That Could. There is a real and legitimate fear that the ill-considered bad-cop posturings of the American speechwriters could push the peninsula into another war. These fears are not ameliorated by reports that the Pentagon believes that the most likely spot for a large-scale regional war in the near future is outside my window. (Aside : Bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, that, isn’t it? Considering the inroads made towards lasting detente, if not outright peace, by President Kim in the last 4 years, gains that have been systematically knocked back by the antics of W, it’s interesting that this report has been released now. By ‘interesting’, I mean interesting in the sense of manipulative, pernicious and propagandistic, of course.)
Anti-American protests have been a feature of the political landscape for about 20 years here. The first real wave of them occurred in 1980 and lasted for over a decade, as a result of the widespread belief that the American government backed General Chun Doo Hwan in his military coup and in the massacre of civilians at Kwangju. Despite the clear need for such a presence, protests have also focussed around the presence of the 37,000 American troops stationed here, and more recently, new revelations from a BBC documentary eye-catchingly entitled “Kill ’em All : American War Crimes in Korea” about the incidents at Nogun-Ri during the Korean War, one occasion (at this point 61 separate incidents involving the killing of civilians by US forces have been registered with the South Korean government) on which American troops were ordered by their commanding officers to open fire on unarmed refugees. A quote from that report :

“There was a lieutenant screaming like a madman, fire on everything, kill ’em all,” recalls 7th Cavalry veteran Joe Jackman, “I didn’t know if they were soldiers or what. Kids, there was kids out there, it didn’t matter what it was, eight to 80, blind, crippled or crazy, they shot ’em all.”

Coming at the same time as Shrubya’s lumbering, hamhanded comments recently, which have already stirred up resentment about America’s role in matters key to Korea’s very survival, this new BBC documentary has not helped matters much.
So the man in the street here in Korea is angry about what he sees as the American government arbitrarily derailing more than 4 years of work toward peace and reunification by President Kim, for which (I reiterate again for the benefit of the new-to-Waeguk) he was given the Nobel Peace prize in 2000, believing the motivation to be Bushy self-aggrandizement mixed with an unhealthy swath of darker, more colonial purposes. This resentment dovetails nicely with the anger Koreans feel at outside interference in their internal matters of state and culture, and the flames are being fanned by things like the recent controversies over dogmeat and the new revelations about Nogun-Ri. (I talked about the roots of that resentment in the context of the dog-meat ‘controversy’ here – long story short : Japanese occupation and more than 900 invasions in Korea’s recorded history).
Signs of hope are there, though. The North Koreans are reacting cautiously, and seem to be willing to resume dialog. Interestingly, during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics today, when the president of the Salt Lake committee mentioned at beginning of his speech the ‘9-year old boy in Seoul, Korea’, that was the only part of the speech which was not simultaneously subtitled in Korean. It would seem to be have been a last minute addition, a small, politically-motivated olive branch perhaps, but a charmingly American one, for what it’s worth.


Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. um…..america. wut can i say, ou presidents a moron who says the same thing over and over again.you attack small countrys to make your self look big.know im not sying im pro terroist i hate them to but without america the world woud me a better place.the middle east should be gone to.

  2. Yes…JIM is an idiot and needs to learn how to spell! Maybe he should concentrate less on nation bashing and more on phonics!! Come on JIM, if you can’t spell what you are saying, then keep your thoughts to yourself…doesn’t the world have enough ignorant people in it?????????

  3. Over the past few months, I started expanding my sources of collecting news. This included from going to all the different American news websites, conservative and liberal, all the way up to Pravda and even People’s Daily, and to tell you the truth, what these “other” people have to say does have a point sometimes.
    As a nation, we seem to not have settled on the fact that we cannot keep on going it alone, and that we have to sometimes act on behalf, and with the world community on issues. Isnt this, afterall, what the UN was created for?
    As for the impending War on Iraq. Our president keeps saying that we have indisputable proof that Saddam is developing WMD’s. The only reason I actually believe that now is because of the empty, mint condition canisters found, along with the fact that no politician would commit suicided and base his whole plan on a hunch. I mean, no president would be that stupid, right? But alas, I find it puzzling that he hasnt given us the evidence, and it’s the 11th hour now. Maybe he is just lying to us and this could just be a grab for oil. I dont know yet.
    But what I do know is that as a nation, if we actually want to be around the next 100 years we need to get in line with everyone else or this resentment will never end and could lead to our demise.

  4. Your views are sick, If you dont like America stay the FUCK away from us. stay in your pathetic little countries and blow each other up!!!!

  5. Li’l Shrubya and his idealogical owner Ariel Sharon — two warmongering, bullying hood-ornaments who’ll be remembered as the root cause of a lot of bad things.
    Then again, those who allowed these two bloody-minded, arrogant provincial retards into positions of authority have some ‘splainin to do as well.
    When all’s said and done, this world isn’t a place for good people, and death might be the only way out. Yes, it might very well be the -only- way out.

  6. I think most of the problems of the US come from the fact that we support Israel. No offense to any jewish people, but they have been in clear violation of the UN for over 30 years and nothing happens to them. Then after 12 years (which yes, I do agree was time enough), we attack Iraq? Americans “WHY do they hate us?” Rest of the world, “BECAUSE YOU GUYS ARE HYPOCRITES!”

  7. i’m not completely ant-american. i got a lot of respect for the american dream, even i’m socialist. if the american had respect for other ways of thinking, instead of trying to destroy a world lot older than the american way of life, their presence in this world would be peaceful. as americans persist in puting themselves into external matters they will only awake violence against them. and that was the formula of september 11. in portugal we have a proverbe that says: quem semeia ventos colhe tempestades. that stands for who plants wind, get storms for the taking.

  8. ok, iraq? afghanistan? these things are simply the first steps in elimanting potential threats to america, then, make them bases and you have direct acess to the rest of the world, and thats what we want, control of the world, one way or another, its all here if you care to look —-> newamericancentury.org no its not some conspiracy site, its a site created by the people in office today, written in the early ’90’s and it outlines their plans, jeb bush is one of the people in on it, and gore wasnt, raise any questions? if you want some other stuff to piss you off look up the skulls and bones group. oh and how does everyone feel that the entire economy of the world rests upon the oil of a unstable monarchy in saudi arabi, where a few key bombs could bring the whole world of money crashing down?
    america? why do people hate america? hmmm probably because we only accept one way of thinking, one way of living, we clear the way for our corporations to americanize the rest of the world. not to mention our entire country was created upon the murder and exile of the people already living here! ha, land of the free my ass, whoever told you that is your enemy! its nothing new though, trace our history back far enough and you will see where it all started, the quest for world domination, wipe out any who oppose, of course its not so bloody now, its all consumerist, and money matters now, why kill them, you can intergrate them in the system! but then when they dont accept it, or even maybe fight back, they are terrorists! and must be taken care of (im not talking about the muslim ones here) you see the “first worlds” are based on the assumption that money, material possessions, and looks matter more then anything else, and all these “third world” countries are just trying to imitate us so they say, more liked they were forced to…….oh well, we have 2 choices, accept it or fight it……what do you want to do?

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