baseball, poetry, and kim chi

Saturday, August 13, 2005

a soccer game

The North and the South are having a friendly soccer match today to mark the celebration of independence from the Japanese (august 15th. Monday). The supporters are not going to be allowed to wave South Korean flags. They have been encouraged to wave blue unification flags instead.

In other parts of Seoul there will be Unification rallies, but the South Korean government is a bit worried that civic groups would crash some of the events and burn North Korean flags. They have been warned not to.

``But it is awkward that Lee should have made those remarks. He did not raise his voice when the flags of the United States, more than 50 years an ally to South Korea, were being torn and trodden upon.’’ An anonymous South Korean official

There is a lot of hand wringing in Seoul. For them to cut down on citizens civil liberties bc of the oppressive North is sad. Every time I see a rally against the United States, I see it as a compliment. These protestors are free to protest bc of the ROK, United States and other like minded States that fought here some 50 years ago. Had the South not been supported, Seoul, and the entire peninsula, would be under the rule of the North Korean government, and protests would be out of the question.


Blogger Sean Mac said...

yet from what i've heard for most of their history s.korea was an authoritarian US puppet-regime - so protests quickly turned violent with overwhleming police and military suppression, running riots, real high level hostility. a friend was telling me that in 45, when the russians overran korea, all the conspirators witht he japanese regime in the north were rounded up and imprisoned as counter-revolutooanry traitors. as with any country, these conspirators had formed the middle and upper class, who found it inconveniently expensive to not do business with their japanese masters, national idenity and racist oprression aside.
but in the south, these same conspirators were handed the reins of government by the US, who just wanted the japs out, but had no problem with the structures of japanese rule - which was, of course - a conscious model of conservative european tradition. so to the common people of the south, this "liberation" must have seemed somewhat fishy, as if the Vichy were given back the keys to a "free" france.

such a complicated situation. made so much more so by the intervention and manipualtion of this small country by the "giants" around it - china, japan, russia, US, for centuries. if shit does go down with WMDs or such from such a small, "out-of-the-way" place, like Bosnia in 1914, and we all get stung, the powerful elite of the world will - upon reflection - find - while trying to extricate the stinger - that they too have had their fingers in that honey pot for a long long time - pushing both N and S korea on their own eccentric orbits, making reunion that much ore difficult and obscure...


on this note, jim, have you seen Team America: world Police, from the Southpark boys?

6:00 PM

Blogger JWG said...

The United States was definitely involved in South Korean politics and often times made decisions based on national interest instead of ROK interest. At the beginning the US installed a leader who had spent time in the Japanese army, and Russia installed a leader who had spent time as a revolutionary in China and Russia. As things wore on, the US tried to influence the South to improve human rights, but never to the extent that the south would be destabilized. The most important thing was keeping South Korea functioning and independent of the north. When Park took dictatorial power, the US protested, but again, what could the US do? If you ask Koreans today, most are happy with the Park legacy. He developed the economy and won the Olympic bid. Korea is now one of the largest economies in the world. The people live well. This is in sharp contrast with the North.

I do not believe South Korea was a puppet regime of the US. From what I’ve read, for the most part, the south, when it gained enough power to do so, acted independently and often times frustrated the US government. Our recent histories are very linked, and the US was influential in decisions, but the Koreans were calling the shots. Again, the US always pushed for open and direct elections, it was the South, and her military leaders that abused their power.

It is very easy to call any government involved with the US a puppet regime. At times they certainly are. For the most part though, the South was not.

Reunification is a sticky subject. Everyone wants it. But how do you do this until the North is ready to act like a real state? there is no way Kim is willing to give up the reigns. In my mind it is very obvious where the finger should be pointed when wondering why reunification has not happened yet.

10:11 PM

Blogger Sean Mac said...

yes, i would not choose to live in north korea, i would be freaked to even visit.

4:02 AM

Blogger JWG said...

If you have any desire to learn more, i am reading a book called "the two koreas". excellent book. Also read a book called "the aquariums of pyongyang". writen by a guy who escaped NK after 10 yrs in a camp. not as well writen, but you certanly get the idea

5:05 AM


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