TimothyS 
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Re: “Understanding North Korea

I spend part of my youth in South Korea (1959-1961) and have been writing about Korea and the US for more than 30 years. I will never forget a trip I took to Seoul in 1972. It coincided with the first-ever visit to the South of government officials from North Korea, sparked by a short-lived initiative of the Park Chung Hee government. I had always thought people in the south were fearful of the north; but my impressions were shattered one afternoon when the delegation from the North came through Seoul. Thousands of people lined the streets, joyously welcoming the North Korean visitors; many wept. I learned then that reunification and reconciliation were extremely important to Koreans despite the years of rancor. Which leads me to comments on this article

Those who attack Christine Ahn and other activists seeking to end the division of Korea and 60 years of war and conflict are only deepening the suspicion and hostility that has caused so much grief on the Korean peninsula since 1945. For decades all we've seen in the mainstream press are distortions and lies about the origins of the Korean War and the costs to the Korean people of their division. The role of the United States - including its stupid and cruel decisions in the aftermath of WW2 to keep collaborators with Japanese colonial rule in charge of South Korea and its murderous bombing of North Korea during the war - are rarely mentioned in the press and completely ignored even by peace activists.

Pointing out the problems in American policy and the need to seek peace and reconciliation between North and South should not, and does not, equate to blind support of the North Korean government. Ahn and her colleagues deserve enormous credit for their courageous stands. I too have been attacked and red-baited for years for writing the truth as a I saw it in Korea; during the 1980s, after reporting for the first time that student activists in South Korea were raising the issue of reconcilation with North Korea for the first time, a "liberal" writer for the Village Voice ridiculed even the fact that South Koreans believed the North wasn't evil carnate and attacked me as a Kim Il Sung stooge. In 1996, after I exposed the true role of the US in supporting a military coup that led to the terrible events in Kwangju in 1980, I was attacked again, as pro-North and pro-communist.

That line of attack is the last line of defense of cowards and the ignorant. Those who want to keep the tensions up in Korea and refuse to understand the deep yearnings of Koreans south and north for an eventual end to their division are only prolonging the conflict. Kudos to the Express for highlighting Christine Ahn's work and commitment, and for daring to write about a topic that most reporters refuse to face. Hopefully this article can spark some real dialogue among Americans about the realities of Korea and our responsibility for its past and future.

Tim Shorrock
Journalist
Trade unionist
Washington, DC
www.timshorrock.com

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tim Shorrock on 11/06/2009 at 8:41 AM

Re: “Understanding North Korea

Those who attack Christine Ahn and other activists seeking to end the division of Korea and 60 years of war and conflict are only deepening the suspicion and hostility that has caused so much grief on the Korean peninsula since 1945. For decades all we've seen in the mainstream press are distortions and lies about the origins of the Korean War and the costs to the Korean people of their division. The role of the United States - including its stupid and cruel decisions in the aftermath of WW2 to keep collaborators with Japanese colonial rule in charge of South Korea and its murderous bombing of North Korea during the war - are rarely mentioned in the press and completely ignored even by peace activists. Pointing out the problems in American policy and the need to seek peace and reconciliation between North and South should not, and does not, equate to blind support of the North Korean government. Ahn and her colleagues deserve enormous credit for their courageous stands. I too have been attacked and red-baited for years for writing the truth as a I saw it in Korea; during the 1980s, after reporting for the first time that student activists in South Korea were raising the issue of reconcilation with North Korea for the first time, a "liberal" writer for the Village Voice ridiculed even the fact that South Koreans believed the North wasn't evil carnate and attacked me as a Kim Il Sung stooge. That's the last line of defense of cowards and ignorant people. Those who want to keep the tensions up in Korea and refuse to understand the deep yearnings of Koreans south and north for an eventual end to their division are only prolonging the conflict. Kudos to the Express for highlighting Christine Ahn's work and commitment, and for daring to write about a topic that most reporters refuse to face. Hopefully this article can spark some real dialogue among Americans about the realities of Korea and our responsibility for its past and future.

Tim Shorrock
Journalist
Trade unionist
Washington, DC
www.timshorrock.com

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tim Shorrock on 11/06/2009 at 8:32 AM

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