Asians Unite to Send Message to American Voters
By Hyun Kim
SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) — South Koreans, along with other Asians, may not have the right to vote for the next U.S. president, but some of them are determined to tell Americans who they don’t want to see as president.
As the United States is set to go to the polls in November, a campaign is converging in South Korea and other Asian countries to defeat President George W. Bush, whom they claim to be a “warmonger.” The pan-Asian Defeat Bush Network for Global Democracy civic campaign (www.bushout.net) wants to tell people in the United States that another America is possible by not voting for him.
“The U.S. presidential election is no longer only a national issue,” said Cho Hee-yeon, a sociology professor at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul and one of the initiators of the campaign.
“What we are trying to say is that people in l have such an outcome, somehow, with the American presidential election also,” said Choi Jae-hun, a member of the Korean House for International Solidarity, one of the civic groups participating in the Asian campaign.
South Koreans formed a coalition late last year and sought ways to expand their cause with other Asians, who they believe share their regional sentiments about the world’s most powerful country just across the Pacific.
It was January in Mumbai, India, when the movement became truly Asian, as civic activists, scholars and environmentalists from Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, India and Japan, who went there for an international nongovernmental conference called the World Social Forum signed onto the campaign.
“Bush has gone to war in Iraq, he has been very cruel, very anti-Palestine and at the same time the targeting of Muslims has become more widespread,” said Chandra Muzaffar, president of the International Movement for a Just World, a non-governmental group bas and same with Pakistanis, that will have an impact in America,” Muzaffar said.
However, these people are not the voters, after all. Critics say the campaign could naturally be seen as an attempt to interfere with Americans’ sovereign right to choose their own head of state.
“Persons from other nations are free to express their opinions on what should happen, but they should not try interfere with the exercise of sovereign power by the people in another nation,” Paull H. Shin, a Democratic senator from the state of Washington who is a Korean American, said in an e-mail interview.
“In the end, the election in November is for the citizens of the United States exercising power over their government,” he said. “It would not be right for people from other nations to try to influence the outcome.”
Political experts in Seoul agreed with that view, but also indicated that anti-Bush campaigns outside the United States should be understood from a global perspective and accepted as an intern United States to survive and the South Korean government is obliged to send troops to Iraq,” said Chen Kuan-hsing, professor of cultural studies at National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan, who is representing a Taiwanese group in the anti-Bush network.
“Because the (Iraq) war is not a legitimate one to begin with, there’s tremendous opposition to this war and a tremendous gap between the governments and their people,” he said.
South Korean activists say they will not just be wishing away the next six months while waiting for the election outcome. They will focus on building a network with those who cross their way to unite in the name of global democracy.
“To win or not, it’s not really important for us. It’s how you play the game,” Cho, the South Korean member, said.
“We want to show that ordinary people can overcome their borders and set an agenda to punish a political leader detrimental to the world, as the coalition troops united to oust Hitler in the Second World War,” he
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The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on June 18th 2004