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[Editorial] Tears for Kim, Rage for Government

Posted June. 27, 2004 22:26,   


The entire nation greeted Kim Sun-il’s remains with a sad heart last week. His bereaved family wept bitter tears, watching his silent return after his brutal death. Thinking of the misfortune that this young man faced only because he is Korean, the nation cried with the family. It pained their hearts. I pray for his eternal rest in this nationwide mourning.

Kim’s case is not something we can just shed our tears over and then move on. How can we accept the unbelievable fact that the incompetent government and its officials looked away from a citizen in trouble and thereby played a part in his death? We can condemn in the name of humanity the Iraqi terrorist group who murdered Kim. Yet, how can we express our anger toward our own irresponsible government?

The government should kneel down before the spirit of the deceased. The terrorists’ crimes against Koreans were predicted. Despite the murder of the employees of OHM (Ohmu) Electric and the kidnapping of seven missionaries, the government failed to prevent Kim’s tragedy, and it does not have the right to say, “We prepared for the terrorist threat.” Furthermore, the terrorist group murdered Kim because of our troop dispatch. The nation’s rage is rightly directed at the government for such inappropriate actions in such a pressing situation as that of the impending additional troop dispatch.

Things might not be so miserable now if the government had coped well after initially learning of the kidnapping. The Foreign Ministry, which is responsible for Koreans’ safety overseas; the National Security Council (NSC), which handles general security issues; the National Information Service, which is in charge of guarding against terrorism; and the Defense Ministry, which is in charge of the army dispatch: what did they all do after they were informed of Kim’s kidnapping?

On top of this, the Foreign Ministry has disgraced our nation. It fooled the nation for 36 hours, even after the Associated Press disclosed in a concrete manner that they had called the ministry regarding this incident; the ministry thus let our national prestige plunge. The official who had a phone conversation with the AP belongs to the Middle East Department. He is a diplomat in a department where officials are supposed to wake up even in the middle of night when they hear the words “Korean kidnapping.” However, they carelessly ignored information that indicated Kim Sun-il’s abduction, and now the Foreign Ministry defends itself by saying that that information was not reported to the upper level. They deserve the nation’s reproach urging their suicidal self-explosion.

It is hard to believe that Foreign Ministry officials are back to their everyday mentality even though they confessed about the phone conversation. They have not yet clarified the exact content of the conversation and the number of the phone calls received. If the ministry is to pay even a little for its mistake, it should clearly disclose the truth even though it is too late.

The incompetence of the government and its nonexistent countermeasures should not be taken as a few people’s mistakes that brought Kim’s tragedy. The Foreign Ministry has been receiving major blame, but it is not a problem that can be resolved by bringing out one government office’s mistake. The root of this tragedy is in a government system that does not function and its officials’ attitude about their work.

This government has emphasized its roadmap and systems of reform. Now, because of this incident, it is known to everybody that the government has been incapable of dealing with its own businesses. The Bureau of Audit and Inspection has started its investigation, and the parliament has decided to do its investigation on government administration. Thorough investigations and corrections of the mistakes uncovered should be made first. Then afterwards, there may come a rosy opinion. The government should be changed so that we do not fall victim to terrorists again.