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Why the Orange Colored Clothing?

Posted June. 23, 2004 21:15,   


When he first appeared on Al Jazeera TV after being kidnapped by the terrorist group “Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad (Monotheism and Holy Struggle)” on June 20 around 11 p.m. (June 21, 4 a.m. Korea time), Kim Sun-il was wearing a shabby grey shirt.

However, in the videotape right before his execution reported by Al Jazeera at approximately 8:40 p.m. on June 22 (June 23, 1:40 a.m. Korea time) Mr. Kim was changed and dressed in orange clothing. His eyes were covered.

Orange is the same color that the American Paul Johnson, who was murdered in Saudi Arabia on June 12, and American Nicholas Berg, who was executed on May 11 in Iraq, were wearing.

It is difficult to view the act of the terrorist group ordering the three captives (two Americans and Mr. Kim) to wear the same colored clothing right before their execution merely as a “coincidence.” In other words, it can be interpreted that the terrorist group is trying to leave a coherent message.

The orange clothing, in particular, is the same as what Al-Qaeda members detained in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and in the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba wear.

Considering the fact that the kidnappers of Mr. Berg requested retaliation against the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and that the captors of Mr. Johnson demanded the release of 700 Al-Qaeda members detained within Saudi Arabia, the orange color seems to connote the meaning of “retaliation against persecution.”

Therefore, it can be analyzed that the selection of a Korean as the first foreign subject for decapitation apart from Americans and the “enactment” of dressing him in orange colored clothing are reflections that the terrorist group recognizes Korea as a “hostile country” on the same line as the U.S. Three captives wearing the same clothes right before their execution is a critical point informing that the terrorist group who murdered the captives is being ordered by the same group or similar “high-ranking officials” (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi).

Ho-Gab Lee gdt@donga.com