More and more people in Korea are voicing their worries and opposition regarding the impending American war of retaliation against Afghanistan.
Immediately following the terror attack on the US, the Korean government ordered the military to be on special guard, and decided to hang out the mourning flag on September 14. The Committee on Peace and Reunification of the Christian Citizens' Society issued a statement on September 12 to comment on the strangeness of the government's move, pointing out that "no other country in the world has taken any military measures in response to the incident."
Before the US made any request, President Kim Dae Jung sent out a message "expressing total support for any counteractions taken by the US and promising all necessary cooperation and support." The Korean president's response to the incident is a complete contrast to that of fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela, who clearly stated his opposition to war by saying, "The US must avoid any course of action which will be as unpopular as that of the terrorists."
The emergency press conference scheduled for September 17 near Seoul City Hall by 23 civic and social groups was cancelled due to armed suppression by the police. All the representatives of the participating groups were arrested, leaving priest Mun Jeong Hyun surrounded by policemen to conduct a lonely one-man protest holding white chrysanthemums and a placard saying 'America should not go to war.'
Meanwhile, Korean citizens had their fill of CNN broadcasts whenever they switched on their television sets all week. Moebius, a media critique group, sarcastically remarked, "It was impossible to know what was happening in Korea." Through its commentary, Moebius pointed out that "the Korean media has blindly dichotomized the issue, painting the US as the absolute good and Islamic states as the absolute evil." The critique called on the Korean media to "stop acting as mercenaries for the US."
The Lawyers for a Democratic Society issued a statement on September 18 saying that "the unilateral declaration of war against the independent state of Afghanistan without damning evidence is a wrongful military threat according to international laws." The lawyers' statement also stressed that "international laws and global cooperation should be the tools in hunting down the terrorists."
The Citizens' Network for Peace on the Korean Peninsula, together with Internet users, is sending continuous letters to President Kim asking him "not to support the war of retaliation in any way." The Society of Women for Peace has joined hands with an on-line press named Ohmynews in conducting an 'emergency peace message relay by Korean women.'