Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Saturday, September 13, 2003

9/11 in Korea

I realize that I missed posting on the anniversary of the atrocities of September 11, 2001, but let me offer a few thoughts now.

Being in Korea, far from home, on that tragic day, gave me insights not into terror, the nature of Evil, nor the resiliency of the American people, but rather into some disturbing characteristics of the Korean people.

Of the more than 100 students I had at the time, only one offered any kind of condolences on September 12th. One would think that knowing that I was from New York State, more that one might ask about the safety of my family and friends. I was extremely disappointed.

A few days later on Sunday at a Korean Anglican church I was attending at the time, I was treated to an anti-American sermon from a bearded guest priest complete with quotes from none other than Noam Chomsky (nappeun nom Chomsky, for a pun only Korean speakers will understand). His essential point was that America was to blame. After Mass, the priest's son derided the U.S. soldiers that occasionally come into town. He specifically joked about the black soldiers. The boy's father, the Chomsky-quoting priest, went so far as to visciously mock the "Black is Beautiful" slogan, effectively saying, "How could black possibly be beautiful?"

[This story has a happy end; this was one of the many experiences in that church that helped me finally to leave Anglicanism behind and join the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that Christ Himself established.]

Apparently I was not alone in having such feelings here in Korea. Donald MacIntyre. in an article entitled, "Seoul Searching: Pointing the Finger" in the Sepetmber 21st edition of, says:

There has been little expression of popular sympathy here, not many spontaneous gestures, and few wreaths laid at the U.S. embassy in Seoul.

He goes on to show how many Koreans and the Korean media were "pointing the finger" and saying, as that radical Anglican priest had said, that America was to blame. MacIntyre responds to this kind of thinking by saying:

Suggesting the U.S. should take its share of the blame is akin to telling a rape victim she had it coming to her because she was wearing a provocative skirt. I remember right after the attacks a group of Palestinians laid a wreath outside the U.S. embassy in Israel. Two days earlier they had been demonstrating against U.S. policy outside the same embassy. The gesture shows they understood the difference between politics and mass murder. At the risk of sounding arrogant, maybe some Koreans don't see the big picture here -- we are all Americans, and we could all be victims.