Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tenth Anniversary of Girls Killed by US Military

It has been ten years now since two young Korean girls were run over by an armored US military vehicle on June 13th 2002 while walking side by side along Rural Road 56, tragically ending their short lives. It was an incident that raised questions in the left-wing media about the basic nature of the South Korea-US alliance, and one which enabled them to sell more newspapers.

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.

Related Links
Tenth anniversary of girls killed by US military vehicle
The 2002 USFK tank accident, ten years later
Remembering the 10th Anniversary of the 2002 Armored Vehicle Accident
Korea still the worst for pedestrians
Campaign to Identify Sources of Car Accidents
Hankyoreh Claims North Korean Torpedo “Peace Offering”
Left-Wing Journalists Say Hankyoreh Most Trusted Media Source
What to do if confronted by a bear

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