Dokdo is Ours!!!

17 Feb

217 km of the east coast of Korea there are these two small islands, more like two big rocks.  At first glance these rocks might seem insignificant even unimposing!  But these two volcanic rock formations are far more impressive than you could ever imagine.  Without any real value these rocks can easily be a symbol and representation of the Korean culture.  The Koreans call these rocks Dokdo and claim it as theirs.  The Japanese call them Takashima and also claims the sovereignty of the rocks.  The rest of the world calls these two rocks the Laincourt Rocks and really can’t be bothered who they belong to.

There is an ongoing dispute (among many others) between South Korea and Japan over the sovereignty of the rocks.  Although for all practical reasons the rocks belong to South Korea as they have 2 Koreans who permanently live on the islands.  Also there is a rotation of about 40 people (police officers, light house operators and other random folks) who lives on the islands.  South Korea has set up 2 cell phone towers, a helicopter pad and a giant South Korean flag that can be seen from the sky!  So the island belongs to Korea, get over it.  But Japan does not want to retract their claims of the rocks and that infuriates Koreans even more.  I completely get this because Korea has a lot of anger in them for all the wrongdoings by the Japanese in the past.  Koreans really suffered under Japanese colonialism, so much so that it was forbidden to speak Korean on the streets.  So I completely get their frustration when Japan continues to claim soemthing (even if it is a pair insiginificant rocks in the middle of the ocean).  But instead of just accepting the fact that Dokdo belongs to Korea in their hearts and move on, Koreans get very obnoxious and heated up whenever the topic is raised.  Like I wrote in a earlier post, one of my students actually threw me with her pen after I joked about Dokdo belonging to Japan.  Pictures of Dokdo is everywhere.  If you are in Korea and you read this, start looking out for these idyllic rocks.  On cars and buses bumper stickers that read (in English) Dokdo is ours, Giant stickers on restaurant windows, giant framed pictures in the subway stations.  Dokdo is everywhere.  Almost like in a dictatorship where the face of the leader is absolutely everywhere.  In fact Dokdo dictates so much of Korean thinking.  They get so passionate about something so ridiculous.  They get offended so easily by these rocks that they turn to violence.  They lose all rational thinking capabilities when Dokdo is mentioned.  It’s frightening.

During my vacation in Malaysia I met the nicest Korean couple.  They are both from Seoul and work as tour guides (the guy is actually a Korean tour guide in Malaysia).  And as the conversation jumped from one thing to another it quickly ended up at Dokdo.  The girl soon told me that it is my task and responsibility to tell everyone I meet that Dokdo belongs to Korea.  Because people need to know this.  I didn’t know what to say.  So I just smiled and changed the topic.  But that’s how they think.  They think if the whole world agrees with them that these two useless rocks belongs to them and not Japan that it will make any difference.  I’m sure the starving children in Sudan and the political prisoners in Iran are really concerned about this.  The Koreans are so high on Dokdo juice, there are even ‘dokdo riders’.  People going around the world spreading the Dokdo message.  Yes Dokso is pivotal to our existence.

I read on Wikipedia that when Japan announced that one or other day will be known as Takashima day Koreans went nuts.  They protested in front of the japanese embassy.  They decapitated pheasants, one man lit himself on fire and a woman actually cut off her fingers.  This all for two volcanic rocks in the middle of the ocean.  To make matters worse, these people have probably never even been to Dokdo because it is ridiculously expensive to go there!  Another thing that can be seen during these protests are Koreans eating the Japanese flag.  In Korea it is illegal to burn a country’s flag, so here they eat the flags to show their disrespect.

But Dokdo is Korea and Korea is Dokdo.  Everything that those two rocks symbolizes is a perfect representation of the Korean way of thinking and their culture.  They have a very troubled history and it is a continuous fight to leave their mark!

Dokdo belongs to Korea!

Cheers from Dokdoland!


2 Responses to “Dokdo is Ours!!!”

  1. jackie February 18, 2011 at 00:31 #

    Loved this!!!!

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