Good luck with that

Steinem march

In case you didn’t know, Gloria Steinem, Christine Ahn and a variety of other useful idiots women’s activists will go for a walk in Korea. The DMZ peace march has already been extensively criticised elsewhere, so I won’t rehash the arguments here. However, one particular statement by Nobel prize-winning Mairead Maguire caught my eye:

“In 48 hours, women from every continent will board international flights to support peace and reconciliation of Korea. We cannot continue to be on hold. Both governments should make every effort to cooperate over our DMZ crossing.”

It’s not just the particularly unpleasant brand of entitled, middle-aged, baby boomer self-indulgence on display here that deserves highlighting, or even complete pointlessness of the exercise in itself (“I want to prove my sagging liberal credentials, so many busy people with other important things to do must immediately move heaven and earth in order to permit me to do so”).

It’s the fact that from a Korean point of view the ‘peace march’ is a totally bewildering business. Even if both governments were amenable to the basic aims, it would have no success because it shows no understanding of Asian political culture.

Or, indeed, any political culture dating from later than around 1989.

Part of the problem is, of course, that these people decided that they were radicals fighting against the man when they were 19 years old, and are convinced that they are still radicals fighting against the man now that they are the man. The main issue, however, is the fact that this sort of thing just isn’t done in Korea. In the West, acting out and generally expressing oneself freely is seen as an end in and of itself. In Korea, unless what you are doing has an almost 100% chance of having some practical success, it is best to stay silent. These women will not be seen as a modern equivalent of the anti-Vietnam flower power protesters.

Flower power

They’ll be seen as demented old bats whose families should keep them under proper control.

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