Atlanta Spa Shootings Reverberate Across South Korea, Long a U.S. Ally

murders took place over 7,000 miles apart. But for many South Koreans, the Atlanta shooting began not far from home. The victims were Korean mothers, the headline in the country’s largest newspaper read on Sunday.

Of the eight deceased, six were Asian women, including four of Korean descent, aged 51 to 74. One of them was a South Korean citizen.

Georgia’s atrocities affected 52 million people who had deep and lasting ties to the United States in the decades following the Korean War. They are allies and have close cultural ties.

It often seems that every Korean knows someone who has family or friends living in the United States South Korea sends more of its children to study in America than any other country.

Lee Myung-kyu, a 55-year-old office worker, says he knows many South Korean families who have dreamed of emigrating to the United States in hopes of a better life. His own daughter wants to study in America. But Mr Lee said he now has his doubts.

I keep wondering if something like that could happen to him… Lee.

Demonstrators call for an end to anti-Asian violence in the United States

This weekend, protests and vigils were held across the country to call for an end to violence against Asian Americans

A rally in Washington, D.C., on Sunday called for the safety of Asian communities.

Olivier Doors/ Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

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A rally in Washington, D.C., on Sunday called for the safety of Asian communities.

Olivier Doors/ Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

According to local police, the white man from Georgia, who is charged with murder in the case, stated that he was motivated by what he called a sexual addiction. Authorities say they are investigating whether the killings were racially motivated.

The attack has stoked fears as police and government officials in New York and other U.S. cities have stated that the number of hate crimes against Asian Americans has increased since the Covida 19 pandemic began in China.

Han Ye-rim, 32, said she has long idealized the United States as a diverse society. But looking at the list of victims that look like her, Ms. Han wonders how she can leave Seoul.

When I heard about the Atlanta incident, that was a wake-up call for me, Hahn said. I realize that I could be a target because I am different when I leave this country.

The Atlanta disaster was compounded by the fact that South Koreans and Korean-Americans have been doing well in the United States lately.

US Secretary of State

Anthony Blinken

and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Korea on his first foreign trip. Just under a year ago, the South Korean film Parasite won the Best Film award at the Oscars in unprecedented fashion. BTS, a Korean pop group, recently performed at the Grammys and reached number one on the Billboard album chart.

1,09 people gathered in Atlanta on Saturday.


Shannon Stapleton/Reuters.

Meanwhile, South Koreans flocked to local box offices to see the American film Minari, which stars a new Korean immigrant family in rural Arkansas and was recently nominated for several Oscars.

It’s a really weird kind of dichotomy, he said.

Abraham Kim,

executive director of the Council of Korean Americans, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., with a celebration of Pop culture on one side and what he calls Asians targeted for violence on the other.

The South Korean media has covered the Atlanta shooting extensively. In an opinion piece published Thursday, the Kyung Hyang Shinmun, a left-wing newspaper, called American society defenseless against racist attacks. The Segye Ilbo, a right-wing newspaper, called on the United States to take effective measures to prevent crimes against humanity from taking root.

President Biden lamented Friday that the investigation is ongoing, the victims and said hate cannot have a home in America.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the killings in Atlanta shocking.


Jewon Heon-kyun/Associated Press

President of South Korea

Moon Jae In.

called the killings in Atlanta shocking, while the US State Department expressed support for the US government’s efforts to combat hate and violence. Such a crime is unacceptable under any circumstances, the State Department said in a statement Saturday.

Walking with a friend a few blocks from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, where the American flag remains flying at half-mast in honor of the shooting victims, Yoon Ji-ah thinks back to life in California during her childhood. She says her parents have had some problems with racism. But the events in Atlanta took them by surprise.

It’s scary, Ms. said. Yoon, a 20-year-old college student.

According to U.S. figures, about 1.8 million Americans are of Korean descent. The largest Korean populations live in the major cities of Los Angeles New York City and Washington, D.C., according to the Pew Research Center, which analyzes data from the U.S. Atlanta is in seventh place.

Jean Lee has two children in the United States but she only learned of the Atlanta shooting when local media began reporting on weekend protests and vigils in nearly two dozen U.S. cities. The 48-year-old now fears her children will be targeted.

There was a lot of hate speech when people started calling the coronavirus the Wuhan virus, and it is unfortunate that this issue was raised in the wake of the shootings, Lee said. Too late for Asians who have been discriminated against for so long.

Jenna Lee, the 25-year-old owner of the online store said she lived in Atlanta for two years as a teenager. In recent days, she said, she has seen Minari with her story about struggling immigrants, and it made her wonder if Asian Americans would always be strange and always invisible.

Asians are more than just people trying to assimilate into American society, Lee said. And she says this shooting shows how vulnerable we are to discrimination.

E-mail Timothy W. Martin at [email protected] and Dasle Yoon at [email protected]

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