I still have three posts to write on Japan (yes, I've already divided the story into three pieces and I've outlined them in my head. me = so dorky), but I wanted to acknowledge the current affairs in Korea before everyone saw it on the news and freaked out.
North Korea fired artillery rockets at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong earlier today. One South Korean soldier is confirmed dead, while at least a dozen others are injured. Many civilians also sustained injuries, and according to a few reports, they've evacuated the island. According to an email sent out by the US Embassy about an hour and a half ago, the firing ceased around 3:30 today, and the US is watching the situation closely.
I'd be lying if I said I'm not panicking a little. I'm from a country that is habitually at war but never, ever on its own turf. Although the US has plenty of enemies, I never once worried that someone was going to bomb Cincinnati. Here, however, I'm in the capital city of a country that has a vicious enemy just a stone's throw away, and it's honestly a little terrifying. People who are far more knowledgeable than I am agree that North Korea is getting desperate, and it's a pretty well-known fact that they have nuclear weapons. I'm comforted by the fact that there are a significant number of American troops here and that Japan will also come to our defense should the need arise. Unfortunately, no number of soldiers can prevent the devastation that a nuclear bomb would cause, but hopefully North Korea recognizes that if they begin a war, they will not win.
While it's quite simple to label the Koreans who had the misfortune of being born north of the DMZ as monsters, that's not entirely true. Yes, I am in a country that has been torn apart with war for over sixty years, but that's not because every last human in North Korea is bloodthirsty. They're ruled by a desperate man, and they live in a country that is just barely hanging on. Experts have referred to North Koreans as "the world's most brutalized people", having suffered through atrocities reminiscent of the Holocaust at the hands of their own government. North Korea is a broken and suffering country, and painting the entire population as evil is as pointless as it is untrue. North Korean citizens need to be rescued, not feared.
I don't want to see war in Korea. Obviously, the biggest reason is because I'm in the center of the city that Kim Jong-il will likely attack first, and if they send a nuclear weapon, there's really nothing that can be done to stop it. However, my own safety isn't the only reason I'm praying for peace here. In a country that's been brutally divided for over half a century, there are people just north of the border that protects me who are being tortured. They don't deserve to be destroyed any more than I do, and war here will lead to millions of unnecessary deaths. War doesn't determine who is right, only who is left.
All that to say: please don't worry about me. The Korean War "ended" in 1953, and they've had issues many, many, many times since. I'm protected by the same military strength you unfailingly trust to protect you from terrorists in the Middle East. And, as people have been doing ceaselessly for the last sixty years, pray for peace in Korea. I firmly believe that God doesn't want to see this nation devastated by war any more than I do, and the only thing that's in my power right now to do is to beg for protection. That, and watch Glee while eating M&M's and folding my laundry. Because in the face of fear, the best response I have is to tell God I'm scared and go on with life. Please, please do that too. Right now, there is literally no fighting going on, and if things escalate, the US government has promised to evacuate American citizens as quickly as possible. I'm going to be fine.
But pray anyway, just in case. :)