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The Korea Times runs article about Gerry Bevers

January 7th, 2007 . by Matt

Here is a story from the Korea Times about Gerry, reproduced below. The school claims that Gerry’s writings about Dokdo has nothing to do with him being let go but come on, we all know what has happened here. Read on and lets hope this article helps Koreans see the importance of this issue.

College English Teacher Claims Job Loss Over Dokdo Comments

By Park Chung-a

Staff Reporter


Gerry Bevers

An American English instructor at a Korean university claimed he was not rehired because of his views on Dokdo, the disputed islets between Korea and Japan, which Tokyo calls Takeshima, in an interview with the Korea Times last week.

“I was informed late last month that my university would not be rehiring me as an English instructor due to my views on Dokdo,’’ said 51-year-old Gerry Bevers. Bevers has been working as an English instructor at Gachon University of Medicine and Science for the past six years. His one-year contract was renewed every year _ until this year.

The e-mail he received from the department head informing him of the decision was sent to him on Dec. 23.

It read: “ This morning, at a meeting attended by the president and the deans of the school, your contract problem was discussed, and it was decided that your contract would not be renewed. I think there is little doubt that the school made this decision because of the Dokdo problem. It also hurts me to have to relay this news.’’

Since mid-August of last year, Bevers has been writing a series of articles on Dokdo. In them, he expresses his view on the islets based on his own research. They are titled “Lies, Half-truths and Dokdo Video’’ and are available at www.occidentalism.org, a blog run by an Australian.

One of his articles posted on the Web site reads: “There are no Korean maps or documents before 1905 that refers to any island in the Sea of Japan as `Dokdo,’ including the 1900 Korean Imperial Proclamation mentioned by the American law professor. Therefore, every time the video claims that a Korean map or document says `Dokdo,’ you will know that it is a lie.’’

Bevers also runs his own blog, titled “Korean Language Notes,’’ on which he also posts his views on Korean history.

In early November, the university announced an open recruitment system for new English instructors. The university needed to hire more teachers when it transformed into four-year university from a two-year college last year.

As a result, Bevers had to reapply for the position.

The dean of planning had told him that since he was a good teacher, he should not worry about the recruitment process, and the interview for getting rehired was just a formality, according to Bevers.

Not long after the announcement, he was called to the president’s office in mid-November. He thought the meeting was about his job, but it wasn’t. The president said that someone who saw Bevers’ writings on the Internet complained to the president, saying that it’s improper to hire such teacher in a school whose motto is “Humanity, Service and Patriotism.’’

“The president told me that I should stop writing about Dokdo on the Internet,’’ Bevers said about his meeting with the university president. “He gave me a history book that I appreciated. I told him that I wouldn’t write any more.’’

Bevers had an interview with the rehiring committee at the end of November.

About a month later, he was informed that he would not be rehired.

To find out the reason for the school’s decision, he went to the office of one of the administrators from the school from the rehiring committee. Bevers secretly recorded a conversation with the administrator, because he thought he might have to sue the school.

In the recording, the administrator said that although he had no problem with his teaching skills, the school’s dean of planning had said that the “Dokdo problem is too great’’ to rehire him and other members from the committee agreed.

“I realized that Dokdo is a sensitive issue in Korea, but has it become so sensitive that people cannot even freely discuss it?’’ he said. “The motto of my university is `Humanity, Service and Patriotism.’ But is it patriotic for a university to censure free speech or punish people who have a different opinion?’’

Choi Mi-ri, the dean of planning of the university, flatly denied Bevers’ claim, saying that his view on Dokdo was not the reason the school refused to rehire him.

“Although we like Gerry very much, there were so many other good teachers who applied for the position. We made a decision based on objective evaluation on his teaching skills. As our school expanded, we thought it was time for a change,’’ Choi said.

The administrator from the school, who was recorded by Bevers, refused to comment.

Bevers said that it is his hobby to study and debate on Korean history, including Dokdo issue.

“About two years ago, when anti-Japanese sentiment was at its peak in Korean society, I happened to come across the book by Korean Professor Kim Byung-ryul, which was about the Japanese side of the story on Dokdo. It was different from the Korean side. Since then, I started to research on my own to learn more about the issue and posted my thoughts on Internet hoping I could discuss it openly with people,’’ he said. “ I have lived almost half of my life in Korea. I love the culture. I love the language. I love the people. Just because I disagree on Dokdo, I don’t think that makes me an anti-Korean, which a lot of people assume.’’

Bevers said that although he told the president of the school that he would not write about Dokdo anymore on the Internet in November’s meeting, as he was not rehired, he doesn’t feel the need to abide by what he said and hence restarted to write on the issue a few days ago.

Bevers first came to Korea in 1977, when he was in the U.S navy.

He then went back to the United States and earned a degree in Korean language and literature from the University of Hawaii.

He has spent most of his life in Korea since then, working at joint-venture companies, Asiana Airlines and several universities.


37 Responses to “The Korea Times runs article about Gerry Bevers”

  1. comment number 1 by: Slick Willy

    Kudos for Korean Press for covering this. Happy to see that!

  2. comment number 2 by: Richardson

    I think the KT did an excellent job on this, printing direct quotes from Bevers, calling the school, etc. Very damning for the school, IMO.

  3. comment number 3 by: polysics

    wow. a non objective new piece from KT…. impressive. I love smart journalism

  4. comment number 4 by: mattrosencrance

    That’s pretty ballsy of KT.

    Congrats to them.

    Good luck Bevers!

  5. comment number 5 by: myCoree

    The administrator from the school, who was recorded by Bevers, refused to comment.

    This is the end of the report. The rest is omitted(not printedin its 2nd edition). I’m not sure you can see it.

    Gerry and university both can have some reasons. But, I hope he should win the game.

  6. comment number 6 by: Matt

    This is the end of the report. The rest is omitted(not printedin its 2nd edition). I’m not sure you can see it.

    Gerry and university both can have some reasons. But, I hope he should win the game.

    Thanks for the good wishes, myCoree. I am having trouble with the PDF. Is the link correct?

  7. comment number 7 by: Errol

    Gerry’s photo shows him to be a very handsome, dignified man. I’m certain he will find more success in the future.

  8. comment number 8 by: myCoree

    Matt,
    Sorry.
    To open the PDF file, you need to log in hankooki.com.
    There can be a ploblem about the limit of the newspaper space.

  9. comment number 9 by: Matt

    Matt,
    Sorry.
    To open the PDF file, you need to log in hankooki.com.
    There can be a ploblem about the limit of the newspaper space.

    myCoree, can you send it to me by email? [email protected]

    I will put it up on my server so people without logins can see.

  10. comment number 10 by: Ichigobatakekakashi

    Hello Matt,

    I linked this article to my Japanese language blog, In the Strawberryfield.

    I don’t know if you can read Japanese. I will try to cross post it on my English language blog later.

  11. comment number 11 by: stumpjumper

    This is awesome! This is the way it should be, a change from the inside.
    Kudos to Korea Times! I believe Korea Times does understand Gerry’s
    love for Korea. Yup, some things can only be seen by foreigners and
    some of them should not be ignored.

    FYI, I do not care much about Takeshima / Dokto issues, but I do care
    about rational discussions and freedom of speech.

  12. comment number 12 by: pacifist

    Gerry seems to have an advantage over the university. If he looses, it will surely be a proof that Korea is still not a democratic country without freedom of speech.

    BTW, the article depicts how Gerry loves Korea. We, many Japanese including me and ponta and so on, love Korea too as a neighbouring country. We want Korea to grow as a democratic country and our partner. So please Korean people, become aware of this unreasonable situation in your country. Only you can correct the situation.

  13. comment number 13 by: ponta

    Gerry’s photo shows him to be a very handsome, dignified man. I’m certain he will find more success in the future.

    I agree.

    This is the way it should be, a change from the inside.
    Kudos to Korea Times!

    I agree.

    But, I hope he should win the game.

    I agree.

    p.s. pacifist a happy new year!

  14. comment number 14 by: surabaya johnny

    Great. Gerry gets canned for exercising free speech and Roh calls American GIs “niggers” and not even the Chosun Ilbo will report it. What rot!

    http://www.independent.co.kr/gomzip01/board.php?cate=issue&mode=view&id=indeold&no=115474

  15. comment number 15 by: Matt

    Great. Gerry gets canned for exercising free speech and Roh calls American GIs “niggers” and not even the Chosun Ilbo will report it. What rot!

    Was he referring to all GI’s as niggers, or was he targeting black GI’s for his invective?

  16. comment number 16 by: surabaya johnny

    Matt,

    My friend told me about this speech that her husband had heard 2-3 weeks ago. Probably the speech when he insulted all the generals. She said that he had used the offensive word and that it was so over the top that no one would touch it. (Even as much as they hate him, the Press sanitizes for Roh for the sake of Team Korea.) It outs there in patches on the Korean Web. The offensive statement was, “미국 껌디 껌디 뒤에 매달려서 형님 형님 …” (껌디, as the link (above) instructs, is Kyungsang-do dialect for 검둥이)

    From that admittedly lack of context it looks like its referring to Americans generically.

  17. comment number 17 by: kimdwan

    i’m happy you got canned. now your asiaphile ass can go home and perhaps get a job at taco bell.

  18. comment number 18 by: Brian

    Looking at the comments section does make me reflect on my past post that had me pre-judging some of the content of this site. I am glad some people do see that there is responsilbe journalism in Korea. At the same time, I find people here judge Korea for things that are common is ALL countries such as nationalism. Yes, perhaps Korea can make some changes, but they are also changes that countries like Japan could also implement and benifit from.

  19. comment number 19 by: Tony Lawless

    Gerry:

    Why don’t you take up the President’s challenge and publish something on the issue in an academic journal? In case you are unaware, you do not need a PhD to do this. If you wrote an article and signed yourself as being with a certain university, this would be enough. I think you should: putting the old money where the mouth is, as it were.

    Tony

  20. comment number 20 by: ponta

    Brian
    I am glad you showed some understanding.
    It is really hard to defend the universal statement such as (all the) Koreans are such and such. The burden of proof is on the one who state such a statement. I think it is really easy to refute such a statement.

    Brain, one reason Korea is bashed from non-koreans, in my opinion, is that some koreans, native or ethnic, keep spitting non-Koreans in a vulgar way
    Loving Korea is absolutely no problem. but spitting other while covering up the same mistakes they themselves has made is no, no.

    And keep in mind that it is on this blog that I met some intelligent Koreans, which changed my perception of Korea. I hope you belong to this class.

  21. comment number 21 by: Fantasy

    Brian,

    I find people here judge Korea for things that are common to ALL countries, such as nationalism.

    There may be nationalistic tendencies in each and every country, but as a German citizen (albeit not an ethnic German) I disapprove of nationalism wherever it rears its ugly head. Because German (as well as Japanese) history has made it all too obvious where nationalism leads to.

    Patriotism however (i.e. the expression of well-intentioned affection for one’s own country and society without the corresponding disdain for other countries or societies) is a good thing and essential to every comunity, including the ROK. If the Koreans were to manage to swap the former for the latter all would be fine !

    P.S.: I genuinely believe that the Germans of 2007 are, in their vast majority, free from the scourge of nationalism.

  22. comment number 22 by: myCoree

    surabaya johnny
    Matt

    You have wrong information. I heard his address.
    He didn’t say this.

    “미국 껌디 껌디 뒤에 매달려서 형님 형님 …”

    He said :

    미국 엉뎅이 뒤에 숨어가지고 형님 백만 믿겠다?
    Should we only believe Big Brother Uncle Tom’s power hiding behind his ass?

    There are many anti-Roh parties in Korea. You got some twisted information from them.
    C U

  23. comment number 23 by: shadkt

    Brian,

    This is not “a problem seen in other countries” type problem.
    This article is talking about Gerry’s problem in exercising free speech in Korea. There are professors of N.Korean citizenship in Japan who vocally bash Yasukuni and what not, but they aren’t the ones losing their jobs.

    Also, while I do agree that anti- folks should be meted out what are their due, Gerry is obviously not anti-Korea.
    He is only saying that there seems to be a problem, a lack of proof on Korean side of the Dokto/Takeshima issue.
    The Dokto issue has become such a sacred cow that Koreans can’t allow even someone discussing the possibility that Korea may have erred in Dokto/Takeshima occupation.
    A very good example of a bad nationalism, I must say.

  24. comment number 24 by: sqz

    現在、その記事の韓国語版が見つかりません。
    Now, I can not find a Korean version article of that.

    Why?

  25. comment number 25 by: GarlicBreath

    Brian Said:

    Looking at the comments section does make me reflect on my past post that had me pre-judging some of the content of this site

    .

    Yep, you were wrong. You were overemotional and arrogant without any facts.

    I am glad some people do see that there is responsilbe journalism in Korea. At the same time, I find people here judge Korea for things that are common is ALL countries such as nationalism.

    Responsilbe journalism in Korea? You mean the chest thumping like this or this Yes, Koreans invented “mad cow” safe cows, and then kept it a secret, with only a FRAUD like Hwang woo suck knowing about it. And Yonsama is going to invade hollywood.

    The Korean newspapers will even write about this plastic bitch even though NOBODY in Korea listens to her. Koreans only care about her because the Japanese like her.

    And no, not all countries do that.

    Yes, perhaps Korea can make some changes, but they are also changes that countries like Japan could also implement and benifit from.

    Please go ahead and tell all japan can learn from Korea? Please… go ahead..

    waiting…

    still waiting..

  26. comment number 26 by: surabaya johnny

    myCoree,

    Thanks for the clarification. I did some more trawling and I saw the line as corrected. My inadequate Korean is a real millstone! I hope – and think – that you are probably right.

    I was worried that if even the Chosun Ilbo wouldn’t report it correctly then things really are hopeless. (Hence my disparaging remarks about “Team Korea.”) Thanks again.

  27. comment number 27 by: surabaya johnny

    Gerry,

    The bit with the old maps always leaves me dry, but I do salute you (and your adversaries) for your “perspicketiness.” I hope you do choose to put this stuff into a scholarly and/or popular work.

    My suggestion would be that you take on the part from 1905 to the present and show how this issue has been used as an instance of hateful and propagandistic nationalism. My impression is is that part of the tale is still not well understood. Excelsior!

  28. comment number 28 by: myCoree

    I said :
    Should we only believe Big Brother Uncle Tom’s power hiding behind his ass?
    I’m sure you are wise enough to know that what I mean by “Uncle Tom” is “Uncle Sam” or “Rambo”.

    My terrible misterpretaion -_-
    Have a good night, everyone.

  29. comment number 29 by: HanComplex

    sqz Said:

    現在、その記事の韓国語版が見つかりません。
    Now, I can not find a Korean version article of that.

    Why?

    I tried looking, too, but couldn’t find one, either. That is really gutsy of KT to publish this story, but I’d still be a little disappointed if they purposefully didn’t bother to put up a Korean version. If that were the case it’d be as if they were trying to hide not only the injustice but also the opposing viewpoint of the argument.

    GarlicBreath Said:
    Responsilbe journalism in Korea? You mean the chest thumping like this or this Yes, Koreans invented “mad cow” safe cows, and then kept it a secret, with only a FRAUD like Hwang woo suck knowing about it. And Yonsama is going to invade hollywood.

    I know what you mean. This arrogance is really off-putting, if not just plain annoying. Countless times have I heard some Koreans claim that sumo, samurai, sakura came from Korea. Heck, some even go so far to claim that Chinese characters came from Korea and that Confucius is Korean. It’s so absurd it’s pathetic. But rarely do you hear them being corrected by other Koreans who (or should) know better. And when a non-Korean corrects or merely question such a claim, they get all emotional and irrational as if you’ve insulted their parents. As someone has mentioned before, it’s best that they learn self-correction rather than an “outsider” so they don’t embarrass themselves/lose face.

    One really needs a lot of patience dealing with this ingrained, brainwashed way of thinking.

  30. comment number 30 by: Jason

    I’m sorry to hear what happened to you, Gerry. This deserves broader attention. The Chronicle of Higher Education, one of the most highly regarded papers of the highest education, would run a story about this.

  31. comment number 31 by: Ichigobatakekakashi

    Hi Matt,

    This story seems to have struck a chord for many Japanese. Since I posted the story in my Japanese language blog In the Strawberryfield, I am getting higher than usual traffic. Thanks a million for the story.

  32. comment number 32 by: Matt

    Hi Matt,

    This story seems to have struck a chord for many Japanese. Since I posted the story in my Japanese language blog In the Strawberryfield, I am getting higher than usual traffic. Thanks a million for the story.

    Lets hope it raises awareness of the situation.

  33. comment number 33 by: koreanmaster

    There are no Korean maps or documents before 1905 that refers to any island in the Sea of Japan as `Dokdo,’

    Maybe somebody should tell Gerry, that there are no maps showing the island in the east sea as “Takeshima”

  34. comment number 34 by: koreanmaster

    BTW. in my opinion the university fired him, because he wrote SHIT on the internet. If he is anti-korean, it would be okay, but the dean saw the bullshit on the internet and decided, “the iq of that gerry guy is too low for our university”.

  35. comment number 35 by: Matt

    A big thank you to myCoree for this PDF of the article about Gerry.


  36. […] Have any of my readers in Japan got into trouble for blogging? Hopefully nothing as serious as an American resident in Korea who got sacked for blogging about how Korea’s view on one aspect of history may not be correct. Q1: Do your subordinates blog? (Sample size=330) […]

  37. comment number 37 by: StolenCopperWire

    hahahahhahahaha

    Fucking chickenhawk Bevers. Just like a fucking liberal isn’t it. To talk shit all over the internet and finally be exposed to public, only to bitch and moan about a so called “indignity.” Indignity my ass, this is called justice, Bevers. Take it in, you aging prune.