Headline July 17, 2018/ " 'SOUTH KOREA SONAR' "


FAKE REFUGEES GO HOME RIGHT NOW : Anti - immigration activists protested in Seoul, South Korea one Saturday last, against a group of asylum seekers from Yemen.

South Korea endures in enduring racism.

SEOUL - SOUTH KOREA : Hundreds of desperate Yemenis fleeing  civil war - more than 550 -arrived on the South Korean island of Jeju and applied for asylum between January and May.

In response, more than half a million South Koreans have petitioned President Moon Jae-in to turn away all refugees.

Online platforms have become grounds for refugee-bashing. An actual anti-refugee demonstration took place one Saturday in downtown Seoul.

South Korea has long been intolerant of outsiders, but the outrage triggered by this small number of Yemenis arriving on these shores shows how deep xenophobia runs here.

For all the South Korea's success as a democracy and as a thriving economy, compassion and humanitarian instincts are in very short supply. And the government bears much of the blame for fostering this selfish mind-set.

As of 2016, slightly more than two million foreigners were living legally in this country. Even when an estimated 210,000 undocumented migrants are counted, foreigners account for only around 4 percent of the total population of about 51 million.

And the number of refugees is negligible. South Korea has accepted only 2.5 percent of all  asylum seekers it has screened since 1994 { not counting  North Korean defectors } according to Human Rights Watch.

By comparison, asylum seekers as a share of the population in South Korea were  0.02 percent in 2017, while the figure in Germany - one of the most popular destination countries for refugees - was 0.24 percent that same year.

The reaction against the Yemenis, while shocking is not a surprise.

Almost a decade ago, in 2009, an Indian scholar in Seoul pursued a criminal complaint against a  South Korean man who hurled racial and sexist slurs at him and his female South Korean companion {who was insulted for being with a dark skinned man.}

The incident prompted much hand-wringing over the enduring hostility to foreigners, especially those who come from less developed countries or have darker skin. Not much has changed since.

In a more recent egregious example, in June 2017, a bar in the popular Itaewon district of Seoul refused an Indian customer :

"No Indians," the bouncer was heard to say. "It is a rule, No Kazakhstan, No Pakistan, No Mongolian, No Saudi Arabia, and No Egypt  "

None of this is surprising given South Korea's education system.

For decades, children, this author included, were taught to believe that this is a single-blooded nation - dubbed domi minjok in Korean.

This myth of racial purity was promoted to foster national unity.

Only after 2007, when the United Nations urged South Koreans to stop promoting the racist notion, did the school curriculum change.

With respectful dedication to Human Rights Watch, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya  all "register" on The World Students Society and  Twitter - !E-WOW! - the  Ecosystem 2011:

"' Racism & Rights "'

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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