The View from Korea on Operation Protective Edge…it’s a complex picture.

My original intention for my blog contribution to ToI was to just focus on Jewish life in Korea, landscape architecture and other lighter topics. I try to avoid politics and the problems in the world as much as possible. I do my best to just focus on where my interests are; making the world better through landscape architecture and the comedic adventures I get myself into living in Seoul and working as a copy writer and a translator while pushing through graduate school in a foreign language and being a first time parent. I’m not a politician, I’m not a media celebrity, I’m not anywhere near being famous enough to actually make a huge difference in anything except my immediate environment. However, it’s becoming harder to just sit back and not report on the matzav from Korea, regarding Operation Protective Edge. It’s becoming harder and I’m quickly loosing faith in nearly 98.37% of humanity, both east and west.

It’s well known what the public opinion in Europe is when it comes to Israel. With such stellar, and that is a sarcastic stellar, news reporting coming from the continent and their own new political-demographic reality, it’s understandable. When you have sizable portions of your “population” violently protesting, especially in France, what are they  to do? Placate sic surrender and submit naturally. I mean, it’s France and I say this as a Canadian of French extraction. I’m largely convinced that Europe has just gone insane. A cultural malaise and almost suicidal depression has blanketed that part of the world. Moral relativism and the cultural equivalent is tearing their house down from within, from every philosophical sophism spewed from their opinion and editorial pages to their cowardly and morally bankrupt but equally terrified politicians. The problem is infecting Canada, the United States and everywhere else where Her Majesty’s domain once stretched. This is why I moved to Asia. I was convinced the west was doing itself in and maybe the east would fare better. I’m now thinking there may be no place left on the planet.

So, as it’s known, I live in Korea. Korea, on the surface with Israel share many similarities. Both fought terrible wars against insane aggressors, (one with like every NATO and UN ally helping) the other on their own. Both are technological powerhouses and invest in education and economies based on tech and the digital world. Both have to worry about the North Korea-Iran axis relationship. But that is about it. It ends there. There is nothing more. Many in Korea, much like the west, drink the same kool-aid as the people at Britain’s most biased “news”paper.

I’ve often been amazed by how refreshingly upbeat articles on Israel are in Korean business magazines and tech publications. The daily news here, that’s another story. The articles are for the most part balanced and not filled with any egregious slanders but it is what they don’t say that speaks louder than any headline they can post. Most Koreans I talk to and from the comment sections and just the news articles themselves don’t know the whole picture. In Korea, like the UK or Canada, Israel is painted as the aggressor murdering innocents without care. The news makes little to none about Hamas’ use of human shields, terror tunnels and rocket attacks intended for civilian Israelis. This saddens me. I had thought that maybe in Asia, save for a few countries that in my opinion are actual apartheid states (Why don’t Hindus and Buddhists get a say in government?) would have a bit more clarity and understanding on the issue. They don’t, the news agencies mostly reshuffle the same stuff coming from the AP and unfortunately as many Koreans have studied graduate and undergraduate programs in the US, Canada and Europe, they too have drank the kool-aid, and that same infectious thought is here too. “There is no good and bad.” (Except for Israelis)

I always read the talk-back sections of articles to judge what a sample of the news reading trolls are thinking. Similar to the west there are the usual cheerleaders for both sides sounding off in the halls of cyber debate, and there are the really nasty ones. I’ve read a lot of comments comparing Jews to nazi Germany, articles saying we are not following Judaism because of the killing (apparently the author of that article doesn’t know Jewish law permits self-defense), saying our true origins are garbage, etc etc. In a part of the world with no real Jewish presence or history they same lies are spreading here that plague Europe and beyond. The irrational hatred and inability to see what is very clear. Israel and its Jewish population are fighting a defensive war against murderously insane zombies. I’m not sorry but when I think of Hamas and their supports all I think of is ‘The Walking Dead.’

This is all so saddening because I hoped that there was still some sanity left in part of the world. That Israel is castigated by the nations for doing what any self-rational nation, let alone person would do,  is beyond appalling, it’s depressing. I was hoping that there would be this awesome era of Israeli-Asian co-operation and prosperity. While Korea’s economy and society does much better than the west’s, regarding a moral voice amongst the nations, it’s not there.

I pray for Israel everyday. I pray for Gaza too. I pray for Korea. I pray, but my heart hardens. I’ve lost faith in our species. All optimism is gone.

About the Author
Jarod Guillette is originally from a small town in Maine near Canada. He met his wife, who is Korean, in Canada and they wound up in Korea. There, he is a graduate student of landscape architecture, a husband and now a father. He runs a small design/media thingy that does environmental research and comedy all related to landscape architecture and the environment.
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