Saturday, 5 June 2010

Catching Up: Cheonan Memorial

A few weeks ago, on the weekend of the Cheonan boat tragedy funeral, I wandered around City Hall.  I took a nice picture of this couple:

and then I came across the Cheonan memorial by City Hall.

I haven't commented much on the Cheonan sinking here: I usually don't get THAT political at Roboseyo, but here are my basic thoughts:

1. I'm glad the South was so rigorous in investigating and proving it was a North Korean torpedo: without that rigor, we're in "emotional retaliation" territory instead of "strategic response" territory.

2. I wish China would just get on board... but given that half the North Korean refugees will be heading for the Chinese border if North Korea ever collapses, I can see why they're trying to maintain stasis.  China benefits from the existence of North Korea because it's a buffer between them and the US "proxy state" South Korea, and also because if international attention is on North Korea, it's less on China, and whatever they've got going on in the East-Asian theater.  As long as North Korean concentration camps are running, there's less outrage to go around for China organ harvesting political prisoners and stuff.

3. The best response South Korea can do is... explained better by blogs like One Free Korea or ROK Drop than me... but if South Korea gets back into the information war - dropping satellite cellphones, air-ballooning pamphlets and broadcasting radio signals, cellphone signals, and anything else they can into North Korea, to break the citizens' isolation from the truth, that'll hurt the North more than any military strike could; after the failed currency reform mess, the people are close to the limit, as far as I can tell from here, with the blogs and newspapers I read.  A military retaliation would galvanize the public against an outside enemy, and increase the military's influence, both bad things.  Leaving North Korea to fester, and leaving that bloody revolution to brew, looks weak, but it's the most strategic move if we ACTUALLY want change in the North.

4. Yeah.  Jon Stewart was out of line.

Anyway, I took some pictures of the Cheonan memorial by City Hall.  It was really sad: most of the soldiers who lost their lives were younger than 24


I can't remember what Canadian/Western public memorials are like (this memory of Princess Diana's memorial came to mind), but I think it's sweet and interesting that Korean memorials are covered in post-it notes that people write to the dead.


Photos of the excavation, the soldiers, and the President attending the memorial, as well as photos of US Military personnel helping Korean military folks with the excavation and investigation, were also on display.


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