Saturday, December 07, 2002

SEOUL, South Korea –– About 15,000 people carrying candles protested across the street from the American Embassy on Saturday, in the largest show of anti-U.S. sentiment in years.

The protesters, upset with what they say is preferential treatment to American soldiers in Korea, booed and chanted "President Bush apologize!" and "Let's drive out the murderous American GIs!"

About 9,000 police armed with helmets, batons and plastic shields spread out in districts around the embassy. Police buses surrounded the embassy compound.

If 15,000 (and was it really 15,000? estimates of crowd sizes are notoriously unreliable) constitutes "the largest show of anti-U.S. sentiment in years," then perhaps the U.S. has less to fear than I previously thought. Still, I think that in the long-term the U.S. ignores this issue at its peril.

Another quote:
Protesters distributed leaflets urging citizens not to buy American goods including Coca-Cola, Marlboro cigarettes and McDonald's hamburgers.
Reminds me of the protests I saw in the 1980's: "American cigarettes cause cancer!" (but Korean cigarettes are safe? Perhaps they took a cue from old Phillip Morris ads

UPDATE: Anti-American protests also include hunger strikers:
CAMPAIGN IN S KOREA," 12/06/02) reported that a group of 25 Roman Catholic
priests has entered the fifth day of their hunger strike near the US
embassy to protest the deaths of two schoolgirls hit by a US military
vehicle in June. Nearby, a group of 20 Buddhists led by a monk carried out
an elaborate ritual prayer for the souls of the two teenagers, bowing,
kneeling, and touching the ground with their foreheads. The priests from
the Catholic Priests' Association for Justice (CPAJ) were camped out at a
street corner some 50 meters (yards) from the US embassy, protected by wire
fences and lines of riot police. "For the past 58 years of their presence
in this country, they have not changed at all. They have no guilt feeling
for their crimes," said the Reverend Mun Kyu-Hyun. "The innocent deaths of
the young girls aroused South Koreans to the growing question -- what are
the US troops doing in this country?" he said.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: Of course since in this case the picture is a picture primarily of words, I don't know if the old adage fits or not. Anyway, it is clear that some South Koreans are far from pleased with recent American behavior.

MUST-SEE WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Anyone who has worked in a corporate environment (in an earlier incarnation, I worked for MBNA) or anyone who has stepped foot inside a Franklin-Covey or other planning/motivaitonal store will enjoy Their collection of demotivators is priceless!

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