Watching a nation mourn

MBC had live coverage of the funeral of former South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun yesterday evening. I watched until about two in the morning, at which point the formal ceremony at Gyeongbokgung and the public rites at City Hall were over, and the hearse was making its way out of Seoul.

It was incredibly moving. Roh Moo-Hyun was clearly beloved by the people of South Korea. The video tributes played at both ceremonies show a man of warmth and humor, approachable and down-to-earth. Roh's story tells of a man unafraid to stand up to corruption and the self-interests of other nations (including the U.S.), one who loved his country and people above all.

It is small wonder that the allegations of corruption he himself faced, which also threatened the peace of his family, affected him so deeply. I don't know what the investigation into his apparent suicide will bring to light, but I do know that his loss has cut to Korea's core.

You learn a lot about a people by watching it mourn. The outpouring of pure grief that I watched yesterday confirmed what I already know about the Korean people: that they love deeply and are unafraid to show it.

I extend my sympathy to Korea and its people, offer my prayers for the spirit of Roh Moo-Hyun and his family.


Su said…
Thanks for your sympathy. As you already knew, it is deeply sad and his death means so much to us Korean. I tried to explain what is the meaning of his death when I met adoptive parents having Korean children a few days ago. I wanted to share the story since it would be a significant part of Korean history apart from Korean's feeling of loss. Good to know you watched his funeral.

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