In fact, there were many demonstrations, so-called candle vigils, that demanded an apology from George W. Bush since June 2002. If you are a Korean, it's certain that you will remember the spectacle of many candle- light vigils. Have you ever taken part in a candle vigil? What do you think about the vigil as a tactic?
Those demonstrations demanded not only punishment for the two acquitted U.S. soldiers, but also demanded the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the two countries. "We started the candle vigils to honor two schoolgirls and to ask revise SOFA. The withdrawal of U.S. troops was not the original aim of the vigils." said Park Suk-woon (53), a head of the committee for candle vigils. But the anti-U.S. military sentiment has replaced the candle vigils original aim.
At first, the Bush administration ignored Korean demonstrations, but now they try to put down Korean's anti-Americanism. And some conservative American are saying that U.S. forces should leave because they are no longer wanted. Also, the U.S. conservative press reported that the candle vigils are expressions of the old Korean anti-Americanism. Newsweek reported that "Anti-Americanism was instigated by North Korea, which is developing nuclear weapons." And CBS News portrayed the candle vigils as another way of saying "Yankee, Go Home." In Korea, some articles in the conservative media also are commenting on the side-effects of anti-Americanism.
This winter, South Koreans worried about the side-effects, which maybe why the number of people joining the candle vigils began decreasing. It is difficult to understand why people were seduced by the distorted information.
It is certain that the girls' deaths will be never compensated for, and the acquittal of U.S. soldiers disgraces Korea. As you know, the unfair SOFA policy is a humiliation. Thus SOFA should be revised. The candle vigils represent a demand to revise SOFA. And Koreans demand punishment for the two U.S. soldiers. It is a matter of honor.
Park Min-hee firstname.lastname@example.org
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