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South Korean Beheaded

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Anonymous (not verified)
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South Korean Beheaded

This is just an article that I found about how there seems to have been some miscommunication about the Associated Press not mentioning the name of the person (Kim Sun-il) who was beheaded.

I know that this event happened a while ago, but the Korean community in Los Angeles was very upset about what happened. Even though many Koreans live out here in LA, the events of Korea have an impact on those who live away from Korea. Personally, this event just made me think about some issues such as: Should the Korean president have done something to save one life? Is the American government responsible in some way? What other preventative measures could the government (Korean or American) have taken?

I was just wondering what others (Koreans and non-Koreans) thought about happened?

Clay Dube
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Message from Clay Dube

Geny raises many difficult questions. The US has had relatively few allies in its Iraqi campaign. The kidnapping of Filipinos caused the Philippines government to withdraw its soldiers from Iraq. The Philippines is an important ally in the war on terror and the current host of many US anti-terrorist special forces on the island of Mindano.

CNN article:

Earlier, several Japanese hostages were taken. After their release, the Japanese government criticized the hostages and their families, with some officials going so far as to suggest the hostages were willing collaborators in an effort to force Japanese soldiers and others from Iraq.

CNN article on the release:

A Catholic source, has a follow-up story:

Anonymous (not verified)
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Message from dcho

In response....

The apparent financial incentive still seems to exist for people to go and work in Iraq. As long as that incentive is there and people are aware of the potential dangers, then for the people who go there to work, they have to take some amount of responsibility I suppose. My father worked for Hyundai for many years and he was sent to the Mid East numerous times. These days, some American companies are willing to pay workers 100,000 US dollars without income tax which is quite a great pay.

As far as the article is concerned ...

I hoped to have found in the CNN srticle a greater explanation and even more statistics on the Filipino people's views and opinions. It simply seemed like President Arroyo succumed to protestors on the streets of Manila but I don't think those vocal few always represent the entire nation. I also would have liked to have seen why the Koreans did not pull out inspite of the beheading. Was or is there some pro bono type of deal between US and Korea so Korea does not have to pull out?


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Message from ldriscoll

I think what was most surprising with the beheading in Iraq of the Korean man, is that it is apparent that there is a strong anti-US sentiment. But I think with the Korean man was beheaded it became very apparent that the people responsible for this crime were willing to select any ethnic groups of people who they felt supported the US troops. I'm not sure if the negative sentiment is now aimed at any foreigner or foreign government that is supporting the US troops. I would be interested to see if there are any articles that have focussed on that key point.

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Message from jflinn

this is a VERY belated reply, but since I was in Korea at the time . . .
the reaction was very mixed, with some groups (particularly older people, and conservatives) saying that this meant Koreans needed more resolve to become and stay involved in the situation in Iraq. on the other hand, younger and more liberal Koreans became very vocal in saying that Korea should stay out of Iraq. Much of the rhetoric from the latter group was explicitly anti-American, and overwhelmingly anti-Bush. It would be fair to say, though, that Korean involvement in Iraq is viewed unfavorably. The incident put the Noh administration in a very tight fix: on one hand, they were elected primarily by young, liberal voters who view the relationship between South Korea and the United States and unequal and exploitive of Koreans. On the other hand, once in office Noh and his team had to deal with the fact that SK is in fact very dependent on the US politically, militarily, and economically. It was these latter concerns that lead Noh to promise Korean troops would go to Iraq, and the former that delayed their deployment.
Along with provoking many demonstrations of all political persuasions, one of the most problematic issues was censorship of internet and video footage of the Kim Sun-il's beheading. The South Korean Ministry of Information decided the footage was too sensitive, and took steps to block websites that carried it. Equally unfortunate, they were very heavy handed in their approach, and ended up blocking many sites that had never provided access to the video. This move took the foreign community particularly hard, because there was wholesale blockage of many blogging sites, such as, typepad, etc. It took weeks for the sites to be accessable from Korea again. In the meantime, the ban did virtually nothing to stop distribution of the footage ~ virtually everyone I knew had seen it
This also brings up another disturbing idea ~ Kim Sun-il's death was deemed too disturbing and sensetive to be shown to the Korean public, but in the past other disturbing images of violence and death have not only been allowed, but have circulated wildly. In particular, the death of two middle school girls near Seoul as a result of being hit by an American armored vehicle was publicized in a series of graphic and disturbing crime scene photos, along with the pictures used in their memorials, and used in demonstrations, posters, and seen on TV. Some people have suggested a gendered difference in who's body and who's death can be made public ~ men's bodies are not to be seen, but women's bodies and women's deaths are available for public gaze and consumption. Women's bodies can be exposed, seen, and by extension turned into symbols, while men's bodies cannot. Or it could be that wrongful death at the hands of Americans is to be treated differently than death at the hands of other foreigners. Obviously this issue should be very seriously examined and analyzed . . .

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Message from mwilkins

I was saddened to read in your post that yet another innocent person has been beheaded in Iraq and that yet another country, South Korea, feels exploited by the United States. The war in Irag has become both the domestic and the international albatross around our neck. When will we ever be able to wrench that albatross from our necks? Many countries and former allies now view us unfavorably and every day we lose more of our young men to senseless and seemingly ceaseless roadside bombs and kidnappings. My heart goes out to the 4 soldiers currently missing. It is hard to understand what we are gaining as a nation in this war.