Skip to comments.Rallies in Seoul Differ on U.S., Highlighting a Generation Gap (liberal slant alert)
Posted on 03/02/2003 2:15:51 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
March 2, 2003
Rallies in Seoul Differ on U.S., Highlighting a Generation GapBy KEITH BRADSHER
EOUL, South Korea, March 1 ?South Koreans took to the streets today for two large demonstrations that underlined a deep generational divide here in attitudes toward North Korea and the United States, as tensions between those countries continued to rise.
A rally at noon in front of Seoul's City Hall turned into the largest pro-American, anti-North Korean gathering in recent memory. Up to 100,000 people, most of whom appeared old enough to remember the Korean War, showed up to hear speeches by prominent conservatives and retired generals and to sing hymns, in an event organized by veterans groups and many of South Korea's influential Christian churches.
Five hours later, thousands of young people took their turn. They marched from the site of an unsuccessful protest against Japanese colonial rule in 1919 ?an event commemorated by a holiday today ?to a site near the American Embassy.
The younger demonstrators sang anti-American songs and, in interviews, voiced sympathy for North Korea and doubts about American assessments that North Korea is moving swiftly toward the production of nuclear weapons. They also questioned the wisdom of their grandparents and sometimes their parents in continuing to support close ties with the United States ?a sign of how much things have changed in an East Asian country where the aged are often still deeply respected.
"Older people have lived in times in which they got a lot of pressure from America and toward Americanism and militarism and obedience," said Park Yong Jun, 27, an office worker who held a sign calling for an end to all wars.
At the pro-American rally, a rare event here, distaste for the politics of young people bubbled out from many of the demonstrators, who waved American and Korean flags.
"All my friends like America ?the young ones, they don't know anything," said Lee Dae Yung, a 67-year-old who fought in the Korean War and is now a real estate agent.
South Korea's new president, Roh Moo Hyun, warned in a speech today that he "adamantly" opposed steps by North Korea to develop nuclear weapons. He called for a peaceful resolution of the issue.
North Korea's official news agency accused the United States today of conducting spy plane flights infringing on North Korean airspace almost daily since Feb. 21. Stephen M. Oertwig, an American military spokesman here, declined to comment, citing an American policy of not responding to what he described as North Korean propaganda.
Here on the streets of Seoul, young and old demonstrators alike agreed that changes in the schools had contributed to the generational split in attitudes toward North Korea and the United States. The American role in ending Japanese colonial rule in 1945 and in halting the North Korean invasion five years later is barely taught in the schools these days.
Chung Young Sook, a 33-year-old middle school teacher at the demonstration this evening, said North Korea was less of a threat to peace than the United States. "It's not fair that only the U.S. can have nuclear weapons ?the U.S. is not the police of the world, it does not represent democracy in the world," she said.
The anti-North/pro-American rally outnumbers the pro-North/anti-American one by 50 to 1, even using the NYT estimate of 100,000. I think that this estimate of 100,000 is even conservative. I think that it is 300,000 or higher, judging from aerial shots from video feeds and accounts of participants. There was also a separate rally by Christians in the Yoido Plaza, which drew anwhere from 70,000 to 100,000 and had the same theme as the one in front of Seoul's City Hall.
It should be also noted that the story of huge anti-North/pro-American rally is buried under the headline of the generation gap, diluting its implication to readers. But NYT readers like it that way, I suppose.:)
As we get closer to the general elections watch the stories that might be construed as unfavorable to Republicans begin to move above the fold....
I have seen them alredy. Thanks for your post.
This should be a wake up call to those who think liberal educators aren't a threat and that young people will just grow out of it. We are witnessing here how leftist/anti-americans can completely destroy a society in a single generation.
Exactly. The NYT is nothing more than a cause trying to demoralize America because 'if they are demoralized the people will vote some other way...'
There is one NYT article I was thinking about posting but didn't because it made me sick.
CNN is no better.
Here's a link to an AP article on the same item. They seemed to do a better job: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030301/ap_wo_en_po/as_gen_skorea_rallies_2