What do you do when a foreigner who is far more knowledgeable than you are about the history of your own country decides to write articles which do serious damage to one of your most cherished national myths? If you're a reasonable person living in a free country, you might challenge said foreigner to a debate after doing your own homework: if you're an internet denizen of South Korea, on the other hand, there are ... other ways to defang this accursed foreigner upsetting the national consensus.
I had planned to write two more pieces for my series on Dokdo/Takeshima, but the president of the university I work for in Incheon has asked me not to post anymore about “Dokdo” on the Internet. He told me that it was a sensitive issue in Korea and that he had been contacted by individuals complaining of my postings on the subject. He said that he was worried about the school’s reputation.South Korean nationalists strike another successful blow in the battle to convince the world that Takeshima belongs to Japan! If I ever had any inclination to stay on the fence on this issue in the past, this provides all the push I need to steadfastly oppose Korean claims to a supposed "Dokdo" from now on.
Therefore, I will not be posting anymore about “Dokdo” on this site.
What's really sad about this development isn't the petty harassment tactics adopted by the deranged Korean netizens, however, but that a university president should think it "damaging" to his institution's reputation for it to be employing an individual associated with historical views that are out of the national consensus, as if fostering original thinking wasn't the single most important reason for the existence of universities. With attitudes like this so commonplace, it's hardly a surprise that Korea's universities fare so poorly in the global rankings, or that the Hwang Woo Suk saga should have unfolded as it did: one can expect nothing else in an environment of such stifling conformity and saturated with poisonous nationalism.
PS: See JapanProbe for more on this nauseating development. The petty Korean (or is that "Corean") nationalists will no doubt mistake this national disgrace for a victory on their part.
PPS: You know what this latest development reminds me of? The Hwang Woo Suk scandal in miniature. Witness the reaction then to one news organization simply doing what journalists ought to be doing.
South Korea's MBC Television, which broke the story on the investigative program "PD Notebook," was beset by protests from viewers and advertisers outraged by the affront to a national hero. The broadcaster's stock price crashed, and the program was taken off the air for two weeks.Nothing's changed in the meantime, as you can see.
It was nasty stuff. Enraged Hwang supporters distributed a photograph on the Internet of the program's producer, Han Hak Soo, his wife and their 4-year-old child.
"Let's kill those three!" read one message accompanying the photograph.