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Attack of the Norks

December 1, 2010

Yeonpyeong Island

I was sitting at my desk on an otherwise unremarkable day at work last week (Tuesday, November 23rd) when word first came through to me on a popular social networking website that North Korea was attacking the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong with artillery fire. Fortunately, mass panic did not immediately ensue, however, when I enquired of a Korean colleague how serious the situation was he smiled broadly at me and said, “Very serious”. Local news channels soon displayed images of houses ablaze and columns of smoke billowing into the sky from the coast of the small island as the initial reports came in. The bombardment commenced at 14:34 local time when North Korea fired some 170 shells at Yeonpyeong, hitting the military base there and the surrounding civilian areas, causing damage to homes and other buildings, and killing two ROK marines and two civilians. The South Korean forces on the island retaliated with artillery fire of their own, firing some 80 shells at the North Korean gun positions but it remains unclear precisely how much damage they inflicted in return.

Speculation as to why North Korea carried out this attack has ranged from the idea that it is consistent with their decades-long tactics of committing belligerent, provocative actions in order to capture the attention of the international community and extort aid, concessions and support, to the notion that this latest move is aimed at galvanising the current leadership transition in North Korea. The North Korean heir-apparent, Kim Jong-eun, is rumoured to be widely despised by an increasingly disillusioned populace that is showing signs of growing frustration with the abject failure of the economy. Dissent is reportedly on the rise in North Korea and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong may have been conducted in order to rally the North Korean people behind the new leader in the spirit of the Songun (“military first”) philosophy of the totalitarian state.

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2 comments

  1. Dude, the first thing I thought when I heard about this on the radio was, “Oh, shit. David!”

    Then I hopped onto Facebook real quick to see if there was any word from you and saw that you posted “Cunts!” on your wall, in response to the Norks.

    I breathed a sigh of relief. Haha

    The news that the people of North Korea are beginning to express their dissent en masse are encouraging. I just hope the nutjobs at the top don’t cause too much damage if they’re on their way out…


  2. Ha, yeah South Korea really seems to take this kind of thing in its stride, although the evacuated people of Yeonpyeong island are now living as refugees in Incheon and there were a few raging street protests where North Korean flags and pictures of Kim Jong-il and son were burned.

    Exciting times.



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