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Human Shield Bae Says He Feels Shamed of Being Korean

Posted April. 03, 2003 22:23,   


Bae Sang-hyun (27), one of Korean anti-war activist who stayed in Iraq as a human shield, has returned from war-torn Baghdad and criticized the government decision to send troops to Iraq to support Americans.

Bae and two other peace activists Im Jong-jin (36) and Im Young-shin (34), a brother and a sister who had stayed in Amman Jordan, held a press interview at the Incheon International Airport on April 3. Bae and Im Young-shin said during the interview they felt ashamed of being a Korean and would give up their Korean nationality.

˝We have decided to give up Korean nationality to protest against the government decision to join the murderous Americans,˝ they lamented. ˝When the troops are sent, we will seek an asylum to a third country willing to accept us.˝

Their announcement soon sparked controversy over the Internet. At the homepage of the Korean Peace Team, a number of people left messages. ˝I admire your decision. Hope people will realize the truth about this war,˝ read a message. ˝Does this mean that you are going to deny your blood when you disagree with your parents?˝ some others begged to differ.

The three peace activists then went to Chong Wae Dae and asked for a meeting with President Roh, insisting that the government withdraw its decision. During the interview, Bae said of killings and destruction taking place in Iraq as he witnessed.

˝Americans are bombarding Baghdad days and nights, maiming and tearing little children into pieces. I saw it with my own eyes,˝ said Bae. ˝I feel I am a sinner as one of Koreans who send their troops to help murderous Americans.˝

Bae entered Baghdad on March 14 and joined an international human shield team based in electric and water supply facilities. Then he stayed in Alfarnare Hotel downtown with some 25 international peace activists before leaving the country on March 30. He said he would exert his best to let the truth known to the outside world.

˝Members of the Korean peace team plan to stay in Iraq and Jordan for months to help Iraqi people after the war,˝ said Im Young-shin.

Han Sang-jin, head of the peace team, is now staying in Amman after kicked out of Iraq and Yu Eun-ha is still in Baghdad. Park Gi-bum (31, children`s book writer), Shin Sung-guk (43, priest) and Suh Ui-yun (24, college student) are reportedly heading to Baghdad from Amman.

Hee-Jae Park min07@donga.com