Archive for April 18th, 2007

The Ramifications of SK’s Apologies

I’m getting increasingly concerned that the media’s identification of Cho Seung-Hui as “South Korean,” combined with the apologies of South Koreans in America and the South Korean government, will lead to a public conclusion that Cho’s deranged mind and violence were products of Korean society – essentially letting America (and its virtually nonexistent gun-control laws) off the hook.

NYT Blogger Mike Nizza’s post tonight, pointing out similarities between the video Cho sent to NBC and the South Korean Film Old Boy, won’t do much to help.

But there are two key things to remember here: 1) Cho spent his developmental years in the U.S., arriving here in ’92 when he was only eight, and 2) The apologies offered by South Koreans are taken out of cultural context. Korean society is collectivistic, based on the central notion of “we”-ism or jibdanjueui. And so these apologies come as an expression of sorrow that such violence came from one of the parts of the whole, a fellow “South Korean,” rather than as an admittance of fault.

Just my two cents for tonight – it’s been a long day.

(Edited: 04/19/2007)


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