[Letter to the editor]Stop blaming survivors

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[Letter to the editor]Stop blaming survivors

“Gott ist tot [God is dead],” the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche stated about 200 years ago. It is still echoing in people’s ears today in Korea.
I didn’t consider it seriously when I first heard the news from Afghanistan that more than 20 South Korean men and women had been captured by an unknown militant group. “There they go again. Don’t worry, those naive idiots will be released after we pay a huge ransom,” I thought. So it came as a surprise when two of the hostages were shot and killed a few days later. It had become too serious to ignore.
The papers and the Internet just went wild, blaming everyone. They craved more news and blame. Koreans, who are noted for blaming each other mercilessly over anything that goes wrong, proved they are the same this time as well. Christianity became the ultimate target of their blame and curses. The hostages were volunteers from the same church, attempting to help Afghans, with missionary objectives. No wonder they were criticized for their careless work and deeds; they disregarded several crucial taboos in a country full of danger.
What makes me sick , however, is the way people criticized the survivors. They would have stoned the [kidnapping] victims if they had a chance to meet them. So-called netizens seem to have forgotten “netiquette” in their writings in most Internet portals.
Christians have become the focus of criticism and now they are being blamed for everything they have done and even things they haven’t done.
People say Korean churches must drop their future missionary efforts. That is ridiculous. This country was rebuilt after the Korean War with help from other countries and missionary efforts. Schools were built and hospitals were operated by those angels with blue eyes who offered everything they had; some even lost their lives on this foreign soil. Without their sacrifice, this country’s prosperity would have been much slower.
Koreans are reluctant to give. Charitable donations in Korea totaled about $0.2 billion in 2005. In the United States yearly donations are about $200 billion. We must keep giving what we have and sharing what we hold dear. Some overzealous efforts will need to be limited, like this Afghanistan incident, but that doesn’t mean holding onto what we have and giving nothing. If you want to stone someone, stone the Taliban -- but be the first to do it if you have no sin.
Samuel J. Hahn, Seoul
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