[FOUNTAIN]Hearst syndrome in Korea

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[FOUNTAIN]Hearst syndrome in Korea

If you have become a hostage without any reason, it is only normal that you detest the kidnappers. However, some people end up defending and siding with the kidnappers, and such a tendency is called “Hearst syndrome.”
In February of 1974, Patty Hearst, 19-year-old heiress to the Hearst publishing empire, was kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California. The kidnappers demanded that the Hearst family donate $6 million to help the poor. Although the Hearst family was struggling with financial deficits, they distributed $2 million worth of food around the slums in California. The kidnapping surprised many Americans, but the country was completely turned upside down two months later, when a tape of Miss Hearst’s voice was delivered to a radio station. She called the Hearst family capitalists who exploited the populace. Three days later, she was photographed by a closed-circuit camera, wielding an automatic M1 carbine rifle and robbing a bank. After 16 months on the run, she was arrested in September 1975. While her defense attorney argued that she had been brainwashed, the jury did not accept the claim. Miss Hearst received the maximum sentence of 25 years for the robbery, plus an additional 10 years for the use of a firearm.
Kim Jong-il, the strongman of North Korea, has been demanding food and money by taking Korea as hostage. He has often threatened with missiles and nuclear weapons. He is as evil as a hostage-taker can get. President Roh Moo-hyun has acceded to most of Pyongyang’s demands. His predecessor, Kim Dae-jung and the Roh Administration, have handed over 7.3 trillion won, about 7.6 billion dollars, in aid so far. The United States, the self-appointed police of the world, said North Korea deserved to disciplined, but Seoul did not listen. Instead, the Korean government reproved the United States, or the police, and sided with North Korea, the hostage-taker. In 2004, the government said that North Korea’s nuclear possession was reasonable, and when Pyongyang launched missiles in July, it misrepresented the missiles as a satellite and then called it “not a threat but a negotiation tool.” It is hard to find a hostage more docile and convenient than South Korea.
North Korea carried out a nuclear test in the morning of Oct. 9, and later in the evening, a cargo ship was being loaded with 4,500 tons of rice to be sent to North Korea as aid at the port of Ulsan. A radio show host said that we still need to help the North because we are brothers. An increasing number of Koreans are suffering from the Hearst syndrome, perhaps imitating the president.


by Yi Jung-jae

The writer is a deputy business news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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