Occidentalism
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The Nora Challenge

July 31st, 2006 . by Matt

nora is kushibo's sock
Socks, anyone?

What do you do when you think that someone is using a sock?

According to wikipedia a sock is –

an additional account created by an existing member of an Internet community pretending to be a separate person.

Just the other day I banned a troll that had been banned before, and had 4 sock accounts here. Fortunately, I was on to him from the start, and was able to ban him in a couple of days.

OK, so what do you do when you think a blogger fairly well known for making comments on other blogs has a whole other blogging sock? You put what you think out there, and let the people decide! Yes, I am taking on the Nora Challenge.

The subjects in question are Kushibo and Nora Park. Here is my take on it – Kushibo and Nora are exactly the same person.

A background – Kushibo says he is an American of partial Korean ancestry (at various times he has claimed other ancestries as well – see below). He often writes apologist-for-Korea posts on his blog and in the comments section of other blogs. He is the head of the democrats overseas in Korea, and is anti-Bush.
Nora is a self proclaimed “lesbian-republican” American of Korean ancestry that writes apologist-for-Korea posts on ‘her’ blog and in the comments section of other blogs. She is anti-Bush.

Kushibo has been around for a while, so I dont think I need to mention him too much, but I first noticed Nora on the comments section of the Marmots Hole. My initial reaction to her coming on the Marmots and proclaiming that she was a lesbian-republican was, “this is bullsh*t”. Of course, I did not realise that Nora was Kushibo right away – that came later. I found that Nora had exactly the same prejudices as Kushibo, and hammered away at the same issues. On Marmots they wrote almost identically as well, except for one thing, which I will reveal shortly.

Anyway, lets get to it. Read these four quotes and ask yourself who wrote it –

Quote 1

who says the average south korean citizen doesn’t consider a north korean attack a possibility? don’t let the leftist demonstrations delude you into thinking the entire country feels that way.

Quote 2

one disturbing thing i’ve noticed about the discourse many non-koreans make about korea is the tendency to take a minority or partisan opinion and then attribute it to the entire country.

Quote 3

south korea returning to the chinese sphere of influence? i don’t think so. i think korea is jockeying for a better position within the rok-japan-usa triangle, but taking the plunge and joining the china camp is not going to happen.

korea looks down on china, while it feels it gets too little respect from the usa. all things considered, if korea were to ever be under another country (if that’s what it really is), it would rather be under the country from which it’s trying to get respect than the country upon which it looks down it nose.

Quote 4

mizarv, i think what you wrote was quite good. the left-wing agenda-driven media machine in korea has been depicting the 1999 treaty as an unfair agreement japan made while taking advantage of a korea weakened by the economic crisis (the so-called ‘imf crisis,’ as if the imf caused it).

i’m glad that the joongang ilbo (and hopefully others) is pointing that out.

If you thought it was classic Kushibo, you are wrong. It is his alter-ego, Nora. The difference between Kushibo’s and Nora’s writing is that Nora always made a point never to use any capitalization, while Kushibo capitalized normally. This gives a feeling of artificial difference between the writing of the two. Put capital letters there, and it is pure Kushibo. It should be noted that on ‘her’ own blog, Nora does use capitalization. It is only in other blogs where Kushibo is also commenting that we see no capital letters from Nora.

Kushibo and Nora have the same experiences.

Here is Nora commenting on marmot

i saw the original broadway cast of les miserables here twice. that was nice. also the original cast of cats (which i thought was overrated). they do need to bring better plays here.

Here is Kushibo on his blog

And everything is so accessible, whether it’s arts, shopping, entertainment, or whatever. I saw the Broadway cast of Les Miserables twice, for example, something I couldn’t have done back in Southern California

Really the only difference here is capitalization. This is the same person describing the same experience. Who among us cannot tell that Clark Kent is Superman?

They even hold the same email address.

Nora gives out her email address, which is [email protected]

The address is the same email address as the democrats abroad address (Kushibo’s DA address). What is “lesbian republican” Nora doing with Kushibo’s democrats abroad address? Are we expected to believe that they share mail addresses? Take a look for yourself! http://kr.democratsabroad.org/contacts/.

Kushibo starts off saying that he is of partial Korean ancestry, but then later claims that he is part Japanese as well. Nora starts off saying she is a Korean Kyopo from America (Kyopo = overseas Korean) but also starts claiming Japanese ancestry.

Nora claims she is part Japanese

kinda funny. some koreans i meet hear the exact same things i say here and think i hate korea and love japan and america because i’m part japanese (which is where sumi comes from) and i was born in california.

Kushibo says he is part Japanese

For starters, I’ve got Japanese blood.

He mentions it here too

The fact that I am very cautious about the Japanese right-wing does not make me a Japan basher (I’m part Japanese for criminy sake!).

Both of them describe themselves as being part Japanese when coming under attack for anti-Japanese comments.

In 2001 on Koreaweb, Kushibo signs himself off as T’NP. NP is the initials of Nora Park of course. In studying the mystery that is Kushibo, I have found that he has many names or assumed names. The NP initials are used by Kushibo, as well as Nora. Here Kushibo is called ‘Nate Kushibo’, and he claims that he is part of the Miryang Park clan. That is where the NP comes from. Nate Park = Nora Park. Note, I am not saying his legal name is Nate Park, just that it is at least one of his many assumed names.

Kushibo and Nora also mess up logins at other blogs. On at least one occasion ‘Nora’ logged in as Kushibo on marmots site, posted a comment with all uncapitalized letters. The excuse was that ‘she’ did not realize that Kushibo was a commenter on marmot.

whoops… that previous comment was supposed to be from me. i was using bo’s desktop and didn’t realise he was logged in. didn’t realise he ever logged in here.

Well, I guess that is one way of explaining it. Another way is that Kushibo forgot he was signed in as himself when he wanted to post as his sock, Nora.

That is the evidence. Now I will answer why I think he does it.

Coming up with all these various identities, ethnicities and sexual orientations is unfortunately an effective way to deflect criticism. People that are generally poor debaters need to rely on some sort of crutch, especially when they are critical of certain countries to the point of revealing their sense of racial grievance. A case in point – Here is the gravatar that Nora uses at the marmots hole, reproduced below.

Nora Park

This is an old WW2 poster of a Japanese soldier dragging away a woman to be raped. This is the gravatar that Nora uses while harping on about issues like the Yasukuni visits, Japan not apologising or compensating (or not apologising or compensating enough!), and so on. If Nora really had Japanese ancestry, that would be a very unlikey choice of gravatar. No, Nora allows Kushibo the ability to express ideas, like the crude image above, that he does not want to be personally associated with or attacked over. If people object then Nora will say she is part Japanese, and Kushibo will log in to drum up the illusion of support.

Nora is also there to bash President Bush. I demonstrated above that Nora’s email address was that of the Democrats abroad in Korea, of which Kushibo is the head man, and to whom the email address belongs. By creating a “lesbian republican” character that hates President Bush and bashes him continuously, I suppose he thinks he is causing some disruption to the republicans. I think many people will have noted the numerous times that Nora bashed President Bush, and by extension, the republican party, by starting off saying that she is a republican – again, just like the racial stuff, it is purely designed to deflect criticism.

Criticism for anti-American statements by Kushibo or Nora is also adroitly deflected by the same method. If you are able to identify anti-Americanism in what they are writing, then they say you are anti-Kyopo and start claiming that you are saying that only a white person can be an American. If you think that Nora sounds nothing like a republican in her criticism of President Bush, and it sounds like she is criticising from the left, you are anti-lesbian. Most of the people reading or writing these blogs are just average people that dont want to be seen breaking racial or identity politics taboos, and Kushibo/Nora cynically exploit this.

There… the Nora Challenge taken up in its fullness, although that was probably not the kind of challenge Kushibo/Nora expected. So… what did the people decide?


Kim Young-sam talks about Roh Moo-hyun

July 28th, 2006 . by Matt

Darin found an interesting Youtube video of a rare interview with former Korean President Kim Young-sam. In it he talks about Roh Moo-hyun and offers some surprising criticism.

Kim Young-sam
“He [Roh Moo-hyun] is an eccentric”

Kim Young-sam
“He hates America and Japan”

Kim Young-sam
“I made a big mistake bringing him into politics”

Kim Young-sam
“I did not think he would become President”

On the issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North Korean regime, Kim Young-sam says that Roh has refused to meet with the families of the victims, and that if the President of South Korea were to meet with them, it would send a big message to the North. He said that he thinks that the order for the kidnapping came straight from Kim Jong Il, considering the power structure in North Korea. He also said it is up to Japan to use its power to force the North Korean regime to return the victims.

Kim Young-sam
“I think Japan should put economic sanctions on North Korea”

Kim Young-sam
“North Korea is relying heavily on Japan [economically]”

Kim Young-sam
“And they have Chosen Soren (General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) and that money goes to the North”

Kim Young-sam
“Its a huge amount of money”

The interview is in Japanese, and Kim Young-sam speaks it quite well. At 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the video, you can see a coherent President Bush talk about the North Korean kidnappings, so just fast forward to that if you cannot understand Japanese.

What former President Kim Young-sam says about Roh is nothing really new to any of us, but having it confirmed by an insider is most instructive.


Legacy of President Roh: Anti-Americanism

June 1st, 2006 . by Matt

Fucking USA
Korean folk singer of “Fucking USA!”

It seems like the lasting legacy of President Roh of South Korea is to be anti-Americanism. This Asia Times Online article quotes US In Korea site owner and Occidentalism commenter ‘Isaac Roberts’.

SEOUL – As the administration of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun winds down and assumes its “lame duck” status, the question of its historical legacy is coming to the fore. Of all the issues that Roh has faced as president, two themes have dominated from the very beginning – the Internet and anti-Americanism.

Blogs and Internet chat rooms were the genesis of Roh’s campaign. They brought a virtually unknown candidate to the presidency. With little background in national politics, without an prestigious education and from a less than privileged background, Roh could not have been elected without an overwhelming youth vote and its Internet coordination.

Today, Roh-Sa-Mo (the Korean-language abbreviation for the Roh Lover’s Society) has become an Internet legend. On polling day, bulletin boards, chat rooms and cell-phone text messages urged eligible voters to vote for Roh, boosting the usually complacent youth vote. Perhaps for the first time in the Internet age, a dedicated band of “netizens” had influenced an election result. But four years on, with the US-South Korea relations under constant pressure, blogs and Internet chat rooms may leave Korea’s first “Internet president” with a less favorable legacy.

Parallel to Roh’s Internet-based victory was the growth of a more sinister form of Internet-based political consciousness – anti-Americanism. After a June 2002 accident involving a US military vehicle, which resulted in the deaths of two South Korean middle-school students, Korean-language anti-American websites, chat rooms and blogs flooded the ‘Net.

Despite apologies ranging from those involved in the accident all the way up the chain of command to US President George W Bush, anti-Americanism continued to spread rapidly. With South Koreans spending an average of more than 47 hours online per month, according to Internet monitor ComScore, making the leap from the Web to everyday life was only a matter of time.

Roh has used anti-Americanism and anti-Japanism cynically in his campaigns. Like Kim Jong Il, I think his popularity in South Korea is based on him being so reactionary, because he is seen as defying the US and Japan.

Anti-Americanism during the period had a darker side as well. Residents recollect shopkeepers refusing to serve them, harassment on subways and even physical abuse. In one widely reported and particularly disturbing event, two American servicemen were abducted from a Seoul subway station by a throng of university students, removed to a university campus and forced to admit to “crimes” against Korea. Anti-Americanism particularly affected those there to defend South Korea, the United States Forces in Korea (USFK) and their dependants.

Since that time American expatriate residents have lived with anti-Americanism popping its ugly head up in every issue under the Roh administration, ranging from the esthetic value of a statue of General Douglas MacArthur in a rather remote park to the relocation of US military headquarters away from Yongsan, in downtown Seoul.

Unfortunately for Roh, the Internet continues to promote anti-Americanism as his most enduring legacy. Translated and interpreted, the Korean-language anti-American websites, blogs and chat rooms that were once at the core of his support base are beginning to filter through to the United States. More and more Americans are catching up with the situation in South Korea. In a country that remains far behind South Korea in Internet connectivity, few care about an Internet-based election victory, but many care about anti-Americanism.

Isaac Roberts (not his real name) manages the website USinKorea.org, a site dedicated to exposing what he views as the hypocrisy of South Korean anti-Americanism. The website is replete with images of anti-American demonstrations, translations of anti-American pop songs, and extracts from the South Korean media.

It receives a steady stream of interest from users in both South Korea and the United States. While Internet statistics show that Roberts’ site is not overly popular, with an average of 2,400 views per day, they also show that users look through a considerable amount of the content.

What started out as a personal project to inform Americans unfamiliar with Korea as to how “the commitment they offer to Korea each year is received in that society” is making the jump from the Internet to politics. Sites such as USinKorea.org have become a source of on-the-ground information for campaigners on the other side of the Pacific.

Roberts’ site provides human-rights campaigners and other lobby groups in Washington with an informed on-the-ground source. Targeted mail by these lobby groups give the website even further reach, until ultimately one 15-minute view by a political adviser sets the political dominoes in action. In reference to images on USinKorea.org, an e-mail from a Capitol Hill staffer posted on one of the now many blogs covering events in South Korea noted, “These continuing developments in South Korea worry people in Washington.”

US In Korea is doing good work. I have promised to contribute some translations of articles but I have been unforgivably tardy in doing so (I will get around to it, promise!). The US and Korea relationship will only get better if there is an honest understanding on both sides. On the US side it is time to drop the delusion that Koreans put value on US actions in the Korean War. Removing the US soldiers should help because their presence hurts Korean pride.


The Metropolitician loses it

April 20th, 2006 . by Matt

In a kind of redux of Michael from Scribblings of the Metropolitician calling Occidentalism ‘racist’, Michael the Metropolitician has struck at Occidentalism again, associating me and this site with everything from slavery, nazism, pedophilia, the KKK, and even going as far as to suggest that I was one of the men that wrote lewd comments on his blog about how “good and tight” Asian womens sexual organs are (See what I actually wrote – no mention of Asian women at all).

The Metropolitician has really lost it on this one, insulting “white bloggers”, and denouncing “American cultural hegemony” as “white privilege” and being “one of the causes of frustration amongst Korean youth”, among many other things.

Apparently Michael the Metropolitician also believes that his post contains valid criticisms of Occidentalism. I trust the readers of Occidentalism and will not insult their intelligence, so I invite every reader here to read what he has written. It is long and much too wordy, but reading it can give insight into an unusual social pathology.

Read the angry tirade here, and feel free to comment here or on his blog.


In Defense of the “White Boy” – Asiapages

April 13th, 2006 . by Matt

fighting 44s racist
The fighting 44s‘ – A purveyor of racist garbage, exposed by Jodi on Asiapages

Here is a must read Asiapages post showing a negative racial undercurrent in at least one Asian American issues forum.

Lately I’ve been a little disappointed in my Asian (American?) brothers and sisters here in cyber space. For I’m seeing a lot of racist garbage coming from them, especially on one Asian American-related bulletin board called “The Fighting 44s” where I am a lurker, not an active participant (for obvious reasons as I’ll soon demonstrate.)

There is one particular thread on this site that I found to be very disturbing and outright racist toward non-Asian participants or those suspected of being “white boys.”

Read it! After you have read it, let the fighting 44s know what you think of their racism!


Documentary – Nuclear Nightmare: Understanding North Korea

February 10th, 2006 . by Matt

Understanding North Korea

The Google video service has another good documentary on North Korea from the discovery channel called Nuclear Nightmare: Understanding North Korea.

Meet Kim Jong II, leader of North Korea – a nation imprisoned by poverty and with a population so hungry, people eat bugs and grass. Now this megalomaniacal dictator is holding the civilized world hostage with what many see as a cunning strategy of extortion, threatening to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons. It’s a strategy by which the United States has indicated it cannot abide.

In a joint production between the Discovery Channel and the New York Times, go behind the headlines to discover the little-understood origins and almost-stranger-than-truth facets of this dangerous confrontation. See a side of Kim Jong Il rarely revealed – his love of slasher flicks and his affinity for prostitutes – and learn why the United States may have no other palatable option than to play ball with Kim, allowing him to continue his weapons development program. It’s quite literally a race against time – if North Korea, as it promises, goes into nuclear production mode, giving Kim as many as 10 nuclear bombs within six months, it would create a destabilizing offensive nuclear capability that could touch off a regional arms race…and even nuclear war. It’s a game of international intrigue and high-stakes military strategy. But more importantly, it’s the story of destitute North Korea and its bizarre leader, and how he has brought the U.S. and the world face-to-face with the unimaginable.

View it on google video here, or follow my instructions to download it from google video. As google video is blocked in Korea, readers in Korea can watch the decoded version of the documentary here.

Enjoy!


Death of the alliance

January 21st, 2006 . by Matt

one free korea

Here is a must read article from One Free Korea about the death of the US-Korea alliance. As usual, Joshua is spot on in his analysis.

Enjoy this and the many other excellent articles on One Free Korea.


What will Koreans do if the US attacks North Korea?

January 9th, 2006 . by Matt

A survey in South Korea conducted by Super-J Channel (6th of June 2005) of Japan asked respondents to choose from three potential answers in regards to ‘what would you do if America attacked North Korea without the Permission of the South Korean government?

attack japan
In answer to what he would do if America attacked North Korea, this Korean man answers “I would attack Japan”

attack japan

Answers to the question ‘what would you do if America attacked North Korea without the Permission of the South Korean government?

31.2% – Support America

47.6% – Help North Korea

21.2% – Attack Japan

Note – The survey above was conducted by a Korean research company, and the man in the first picture was from an informal street survey by Super-J Channel to find out if it was true.

We have heard of Koreans saying they would rather attack America than North Korea before, but it boggles the mind that more than 20% of Koreans would want to attack Japan if America attacks North Korea. Looking at the guy in the picture, he doesnt look insane so he must have formed his opinions somehow. Maybe through the anti-Japanese media or the anti-Japanese education system.

Update: A commenter called void offers evidence that the pie graph is a photoshop.

Hello, I’m new commer here. I’ve enjoyed your articles.
I watched the man in first picture on TV, but I believe the second pie-chart is a photoshop.
The gray part is for “other” answers, not “Attack Japan”.
The picture in following blog may be the near-original.

http://shiratorijun.blog4.fc2.com/blog-entry-21.html

I was shocked by the response of the guy anyway…

Good work, void.


Senator Hillary Clinton: Korea Suffering from “historical amnesia”

October 27th, 2005 . by Matt

clinton
Senator Hillary Clinton is aware of Korean anti Americanism

The Marmot picked up a story from the Korea times that reported that Hillary said that Koreans had “historical amnesia” about America’s positive role in South Korean history.

From the JoongAng Daily

At a Senate confirmation hearing for the new commander of U.S. troops in Korea, Senator Hillary Clinton raised some concerns about the U.S.-Korea military alliance.
Sentator Clinton, a New York Democrat and contender for her party’s presidential nomination in 2008, said she wondered if Koreans had forgotten the importance of the U.S. military presence In Korea and the benefits that Korea had gotten from the half-century alliance.
She said Koreans were suffering from “historical amnesia.”
General Burwell Bell, the nominee to become the next commander of U.S. Forces Korea, was being questioned by the Armed Services Committee.
Senator Clinton told him, speaking of South Koreans, that she wondered about changes in “their understanding of the importance of our position there and what we have done over so many decades to provide them the freedom that they have enjoyed to develop the economy.”

Marmot wrote –

Personally, I don’t think the “historical amnesia” is quite as important as the refusal on the part of some in the United States to realize that as South Korea grows and becomes less dependent on its Cold War patron, it may begin defining its national interests in ways than don’t necessarily coincide with Washington’s.

Who in the US is refusing the Koreans anything? Koreans are able to define their national interests in whatever way they want – they dont need to piss all over Americans with their anti Americanism just to do that, nor do they need to start distorting history.

After the incident with the MacArthur Statue, the Korean media is in damage control, and so this editorial from the JoongAng Daily is urging caution.

The current state of U.S.-South Korean relations was referred to as being the victim of “historical amnesia” by a top U.S. politician, this time Senator Hillary Clinton, who is rumored to be the Democratic Party’s next presidential candidate.
The term was once used by Congressman Henry Hyde, a Republican representative who leads the House Committee on International Relations, when he described the controversy in South Korea over the statue of General MacArthur. Yet within a month, the term was used again by a prominent Democratic politician. The incident shows that both ruling and opposition lawmakers in the United States are feeling uncomfortable and worried about the current state of relations with South Korea.
Until now, some Seoul officials often dismissed American criticism of South Korea and uneasiness and concerns about the alliance by saying that such complaints are made only by Republicans and neo-conservatives. Ms. Clinton’s remarks, however, show that the concerns have spread from Republicans to Democrats. The time has come for Seoul to drop its carefree attitude.

It is about time that lawmakers in the US have opened their eyes to anti Americanism in Korea (although it is several years too late). ‘Historical amnesia’ is one way to term it, deliberate and calculated distortion of history is another. Now that there seems to be some bi-partisan thinking on the issue, hopefully we will see some action on this from the US side.

Joshua from One Free Korea wrote this on the subject, and is well worth the read.


Ungrateful Korea? 恩をあだで返す韓国? 배은망덕 한국?

September 16th, 2005 . by Matt

mac
A drawing of Douglas MacArthur on the front cover of the May 2, 1942 edition of Australian Womens Weekly

In 1945, the allied forces led by the U.S. liberated Korea from Imperial Japan and gave Korea its independence. These forces were led by General Douglas MacArthur, leader of the allied forces in the Pacific. American forces occupied southern Korean, while Soviet forces occupied northern Korea, up to the 38th parrallel. The Soviet Union installed communist Kim Il Sung to rule North Korea, and Rhee Syngman became the leader of South Korea, with US support.

On June 25, 1950 North Korea launched a devestating surprise attack on South Korea, with the approval of Soviet leader Stalin.

In a short time the North Koreans were in control of 90% of Korean territory as the outmatched South Korean army fell back and routed. Seoul was taken and the North Korean army moved on to Pusan, the largest city in the most southern part of Korea.

Called to war again, to help Korea for a second time, General Douglas MacArthur saw the defeated South Korean forces and created a bold plan to outflank the north Korean forces by heroically landing at Inchon, to take advantage of of the fact that the North Koreans and their Soviet advisors would never expect such dangerous gamble.

attack
The soldier scaling the seawall at Incheon is named Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, and he was a member of the Marine Corps. He died for Korea, and for the freedom enjoyed by present day Koreans. Was his life wasted for ungrateful Koreans?

On September 15, 1950, the Allied forces attacked Incheon and was successful. General MacArthur came close to uniting Korea, but the Chinese army intervened to assist the North Korean army.

battle of seoul
The battle of Seoul. More ‘foreigners’ dead for the sake of Koreans

A cease-fire was established on July 27, 1953, and Korea still remained divided. Still, the people of South Korea were spared the hell that was to become North Korea, and owed General MacArthur a debt of gratitude. The people of Inchon were especially grateful, and erected a 16.5-foot bronze statue at Freedom Park in Inchon of MacArthur in 1957.

macarthur
MacArthur statue at the Freedom Park in Inchon. Korean ‘progressives’ want to tear it down

Now many Koreans want to tear the monument down as an ‘obstacle to unification‘. They also say that MacArthur is a war criminal.

“MacArthur is a war criminal who massacred numerous civilians at the time of the Korean War,” anti-U.S. groups said in a plea submitted to South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission last month. “To induce or force children to respect such a person by erecting a statue of him and teaching them that he is a great figure is a national disgrace and greatly injures the dignity of our people,” they said.

Kim Soo-nam, 65, who heads another pro-reunification group, recalled the insensitive behavior of U.S. troops during the war. “They sat in their jeeps and scattered biscuits on the ground. The poorly dressed young children would swarm like ants, and they took photos of that,” he said. He add rectifying “the vestiges of colonialism and our distorted history must begin with removing the MacArthur statue, which is a symbol of imperialism.”

“MacArthur is a general of blood and tears. He can’t stand in this place which symbolizes peace and freedom,” said Yoon Han-tak, 70, a retired schoolteacher.

Mr Yoon, I say to you that your freedom was purchased at the high cost of Allied blood. And now you sell it so cheaply!

Thanks to the kind of education South Koreans recieve at their schools, they think that Kim Il Jong is good, and MacArthur is bad.

This Newsweek article gets it spot on, rare for foreign coverage of Korea.

The Unwanted General
Young revisionists in South Korea are rethinking who the villains and heroes were in the Korean War

Sept. 5, 2005 issue – Fifty-five years ago this month, U.S. Gen. Douglas Mac-Arthur led 70,000 United Nations troops ashore at Inchon on the Korean Peninsula. They attacked North Korean troops, who had penetrated 300 kilometers south, from behind and within two weeks had forced them to retreat. To commemorate the turning point of the war, grateful South Koreans erected a statue of MacArthur in Inchon. But most of those visiting the monument these days do not come to honor the Amer-ican commander. Instead hundreds of protesters have gathered recently to demand that the statue—celebrating a man they see as a warmonger determined to fight communism at the expense of Korean blood—be torn down. “MacArthur started and perpetuated Korea’s division,” says Han In Sup, a civic activist leading the campaign to remove the statue. “He came here to serve U.S. interests, not to save Koreans.”

And then, shockingly to people that dont know the situation in Korea –

In a news-paper survey taken this August, 66 percent of those aged between 16 and 25 said they would now side with Pyongyang if a war broke out between North Korea and the United States. The new civil war may be between allies, not enemies.

Where are these youth getting these attitudes? It must be from the schools and the media. All that is standing in their way is a small group of war veterans that remember what MacArthur did for Korea.

defense
If its only the old people defending MacArthur, then he doesnt have a chance

This CS monitor article makes it clear that this is a ‘generational clash‘ between the young and anti American, and the older generation that actually remembers the war.

INCHON, SOUTH KOREA – A bronze statue of Douglas MacArthur looks over South Korea’s bustling Inchon harbor, a reminder of the American general’s role in driving back North Korean forces in 1950. These days, however, the statue has become a touchstone for an intergenerational conflict about the role of America in modern-day South Korea.

Young radical leftists have led assaults on the 15-foot-tall statue, meeting resistance from South Korean military veterans – some of whom show up wearing military uniforms or civilian garb with medals, ribbons, and old unit insignia. The protest has been building for more than a year and is likely to intensify around Sept. 15, the 55th anniversary of the Inchon landing. At a typical demonstration last month, hundreds of Korean riot police were there both to protect the statue and defend the leftists against the veterans, who threatened to beat them.

The struggle reflects in microcosm a gulf between older-generation Korean conservatives, who remember MacArthur as a hero who saved the South from communism, and younger Koreans pushing for reconciliation with the North.

Some foreigners say that the most anti foreigner and anti American Koreans are of the older generation, but I have found the opposite to be true. The only people I have met spewing anti American hate have been young Koreans, not the elderly. I remember vividly when a Korean foreign student insisted that the American soldiers driving the tank that accidentally ran over 2 schoolgirls in 2002 were laughing after ‘deliberately steering the tank to murder them’.

Now the ‘progressive’ Koreans are going after MacArthur, who is now a villian to Korean youth (does anyone have a Korean textbook to see how he is described?).

I think that it is time for the US to withdraw from Korea. Any help that foreign countries offer Korea will later twisted into some sort of attack by evil foreigners on Korea. Considering the way that US soldiers are treated and thought of by Koreans, its too much to expect them to fight and die for Koreans again.

UPDATE: Congressmen have written President Roh expressing their concern about what is happening. Below is an excerpt –

The House Committee on International Relations, in a letter to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, said the U.S. Congress is “disturbed” by reports of protests around the statue of General Douglas MacArthur, whom protesters describe as a “war criminal.”

“Needless to say, Mr. President, the Congress of the United States and the American people would never subscribe to such a description of a hero who led the Allied forces which liberated the Republic of Korea twice,” the letter said, referring to Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule and the famous Incheon landing that marked its 55th anniversary on Thursday.

See One Free Korea for the full text.

Meanwhile, in response to the letter, the Choson Ilbo has called on the Korean government to ‘take a clear position’ on issue but has also said that –

…phrases in the U.S. lawmakers’ letter like “liberating Korea twice” are apt to hurt Korean pride.

Which really cuts to the heart of the issue. Isnt it for the reason that MacArthur ‘liberated Korea twice’ and that it hurts Korean pride that some Koreans want to take the statue down? An honest person shouldnt feel damaged pride when hearing the truth.

UPDATE II: The Korean media is starting to recognise the danger in these anti American protests. This is a must read JoongAng Daily editorial.

UPDATE III: The Choson Ilbo reports that protestors have attacked police that were stopping them from tearing down the statue of MacArthur.

macarthur
‘Progressive’ protesters illegally try to tear down the statue of General MacArthur

UPDATE IV: In a case of me totally missing the obvious, it seems that the anti American protesters chose 9/11/2005 because in coincides with the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Below is Joshua’s comment from marmot that brought this to my attention.

This is not just about views of MacArthur or Incheon, or the feng shui merits of having his statue on the hill. It’s about a violent attack on a symbol of America, deliberately scheduled to take place on 9/11. This could only have been meant as a rhetorical statement of approval of the mass murder of Americans. Not all of the anti-American violence in Korea recently has been rhetorical, as you know, and few of those behind it have met with serious punishment during Roh’s presidency. And while it may lack the same symbolic potency, the hateful malice of 9/11/05 was no less vile than that behind a cross burning. By just how much of a margin did we avert a direct confrontation between these violent thugs and returning American veterans?

Every nation has its lunatic fringe, of course, and it’s a sure sign of a true democracy when all facets of it speak freely. But speech and violence are two very different things, and Roh earns this criticism because he’s agnostic about distinguishing the two by imposing hard time for political violence–regardless of party affiliation. Even Roh’s own party can’t quite figure out what it thinks of the Redvests and their methods. In a week when we’ve seen some extraordinary herrenvolk ideology coming from both Koreas, a senior member of the Uri party actually praised the 9/11/05 thugs for their “deep ethnic purity.” Last I’ve heard, no one has stripped him of his leadership post or expelled him from the party. I’m sure no one will seriously consider either idea.

As we have seen all too often, Roh is a weak man who instinctively aims for the middle ground between opposing views, almost without regard for the objective merits of each side’s view. We have seen North Korea play this insight brilliantly during the six-party talks. Congress, it seems, has finally figured this out. It perceives Roh’s blindness to the excess of young left-wing Koreans, perhaps because they are his electoral base. It realizes that Roh will take the support of the United States for granted unless it shifts the debate by making its demands public. It probably does not mind embarrassing Roh, or sending a message to Korean voters that the alliance is terminable at will.

Finally, consider the likely political consequence of that statue coming down. If it does, future congresses are unlikely to authorize the President to send forces to protect South Korea. Alliances are based on common interests and values. That basis is called into question if Roh not only “balances” between its protectors and its historical overlords, but also triangulates between violent radicalism and democratic tolerance. Congress is telling Roh to do our taxpayers the courtesy of telling us whose side he is on, and acting as if he means it.

Great analysis, Joshua.

UPDATE V: Some good commentary about this issue by GI Korea.


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