by Dyne Suh, JD UCLA and Korean-American activist
I was born in South Korea. My family moved to the United States in pursuit of better opportunities. My father grew up in poverty in post-war South Korea but was the first to go to college from his village and eventually came to the U.S. in pursuit of a PhD with my mother and me when I was three years old. Still, we went back to visit family as much as we could, and I consider South Korea to be my other home. All but three of my family members still live in Korea, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews…. I have my friends who live there as well, all kind, loving, big-hearted people. My father and my stepmom moved back to Korea and my dad has a little garden plot there where he likes to grow organic vegetables … he studies and teaches neurology trying to find cures for brain diseases to help improve the health of people all around the world … The vast majority of my friends and family as well as half of all people in South Korea live in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. It is located about 30 minutes from the North Korean border. If the U.S. goes to war with North Korea, it will easily mean annihilation and destruction for South Korea as well. It will throw South Korea into complete devastation and chaos while the U.S. merely watches from TV screens, hardly feeling a thing. The border will not incubate South Korea from the effects. South Korea will be on the front lines of the war. North Korea will not launch its missiles against the U.S. in retaliation – it will be at Seoul, where half of South Korea lives, where my friends and family live. All men in South Korea are required to serve in the military, so all boys from all walks of life in South Korea will be forced to take up arms and die for Donald Trump’s belligerent mistake. Donald Trump has made clear many times that he doesn’t give a shit about South Korea – he didn’t know about the history of the conflict dragging on over half a century, and has reportedly asked many times why the U.S. can’t just nuke North Korea. He sees South Korea as a burden to the U.S. economy when it is the country of Samsung, of Hyundai, of so much culture that has worldwide reach and effects. He sees North Korea as defined by Kim Jong Un, who is really just a reflection of Trump and all that Trump aspires and longs to become. But North Koreans are South Koreans’ literal sisters and brothers, they are our long-lost relatives divided by this arbitrary line drawn by politicians. An arbitrary line that has separated life from death, from nourishment and starvation, from life under authoritarian control to life under democracy. South Koreans have been organizing to repair relationships with North Korea, even seeking reunification – without the U.S.’s involvement. South Korea just elected a new president who, unlike his U.S. puppet predecessors, has vowed to repair relations with North Korea. While the two countries have sought to move towards peace and reconciliation, the U.S. has been a menace, especially since the election of Donald Trump. Please, I beg each and every one of you, do not let my family, friends, and all the precious lives in both South and North Korea be destroyed by Trump’s belligerence. Please do not let the U.S. start a war with North Korea! We need each and every one of your voices and your actions to stop this. Do not let this be the beginning to World War 3. We have enough suffering in the world as is. Thank you.