South vs. North

Here's a message that came over CoolMessenger this morning

(I've taken the habit of translating about half my messages--I skip the ones that are death notices, as I can recognize the format of those, and can never understand what they died from anyways. Point being, it helps keep me more in the loop, so I learn fewer things at the last minute.)

I love that my family is so unconcerned.  Allow me to quote my mother from this morning:

“Oh hey, did you know North Korea was bombing over there?”

Why, yes, I heard that somewhere.

Here’s the thing.

From what I’ve seen and heard, most people are either A) unconcerned because this kind of thing happens all the time and all that ever happens is more threats but it never actually escalates, B) ready to either follow through on the threats to retaliate, or C) just have the U.S. cut ties with South Korea altogether.

Among Koreans, there’s a general mood of this-isn’t-a-big-deal mixed with uncertainty.  On the one hand, this happens often.  My coworkers have told me they were unconcerned when the sinking of the Cheonan happened, and this is the same.

But they follow that statement up with, “But this is different, because they attacked civilians.”  And two of those civilians have been confirmed dead, to add to the two military deaths.

So who knows.

A few–paraphrased–comments from my coworkers

I’m not worried. This happens all the time.

We think this was planned.

The people of North Korea have been unhappy with the government.  Now that the power is changing to make the son the new dictator, we think North Korea just wanted to show that they are still powerful for the loyalty of their people. [This is a very popular view, by the way. Keeps coming up.]

They have never attacked civilians before.

Attacking civilians is a very cruel thing to do.

We should retaliate.

That last comment came from a man who is, as far as I know, the only person at the school with a son currently in the military.

So there you go.

I haven’t been worried all day.  Although the addition of the civilian casualties adds more tension to the mix, you know?  Of course it doesn’t change the political scene: NK doesn’t have the military power to sustain themselves if it turned to war and yadda yadda.

I hate politics.  They’re so pointless, and problematic, and cause pain for the people they’re supposed to protect.  But that’s another subject for another time.

[11-25 edit: The last civilian deaths in this conflict were in 1987, as you can read here and here, and it is listed in the time-line in this article.]

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One response

  1. I wrote about this as well as I ascertained similar sentiments among my Korean colleagues and friends, in addition to those in the community. It has not fostered a huge worry, it’s rather a normal state of affairs. Good post!

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