The killing led to the country's first candlelit vigils, and raised hopes that American forces would be thrown out of South Korea, paving the way for unification with the North. But ten years later, there is considerable disappointment on the left that the girls' deaths haven't been politically exploited as they should have been.
However, there has been further disappointment for The Hankyoreh newspaper on the anniversary of the deaths this year. When their reporters phoned up the mother of one of the girls to tell her they were coming on June 6th to stir up memories of the incident, she replied "You don't have to come. It's not anything good. You don't have to come." When reporters went to their small village anyway and further suggested she attend a tenth anniversary memorial being held in Seoul to revive those painful memories, she said "I don't want to go."
"When I look at it now, it doesn't seem like the USFK was in the wrong. Our children made a mistake." said the mother. The Hankyoreh believes that she may have assigned "some blame" to the victims out of a desire to see the reporter off.
Disappointed with this reaction, reporters then chased her frail husband out of a field and into his house. He didn't say a word, but made it clear through the use of hand gestures that he didn't wish to speak, despite the considerable trouble the reporters had gone to to travel to their house. But the newspaper believes that he developed cancer after seeing his daughter "die before him".
After failing to obtain helpful quotes from the first family, the reporters then traveled to demand the second family speak to them, but the second girl's older brother was equally unhappy to see them, saying for some reason "I've often felt used". The girl's father, who tries to avoid meeting with the press, was apparently not at home - perhaps because he had heard reporters were roaming around the area.
The newspaper expressed its disappointment at how their minds had apparently changed so radically since they attended the first memorial in 2003.
According to the Ministry of Public Safety, when confronted by a Hankyoreh journalist, you should stand your ground and not run, as running will stimulate the journalist to attack, since this is how most prey animals respond in such situations. Try to stand tall, do not look them in the eyes or speak, and back away slowly.
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