The administration of The Korea Times, an influential newspaper published in the English language has been fired after the paper published disgusting cartoons mocking the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro. The publishers fired chief editors of the newspaper after the publication of the second cartoon.
The first of the two cartoons (it has been deleted from the newspaper website) was published on March 30, the second one followed on April 2. The first of the two drawings depicts a train on the station. The train has a skull instead of the driver’s cabin. Passengers, all dressed in white, are rushing into the carriages. One of them is wearing black clothes and is carrying a scythe.
The second drawing (click to see) shows an exploded train. Bloody bodies of passengers are seen near the train. A weeping brown bear wearing a winter fur hat is seen above the picture of the explosion.
To add more fuel to the fire, the newspaper published an absurd column of a Canadian journalist, Gwynne Dyer, who offered readers to perceive extremists from the Caucasus as fighters for independence rather than terrorists. Mr. Dyer apparently believes that exploding people in the metro is a very good method to fight for independence. If he does, he needs to have his head examined.
The new editor-in-chief of the newspaper said that the publication did not want to offend Russia with the cartoons.
The Korea Times is one of the oldest and most respectable publications in the region. Published since 1950, its monthly circulation reaches two million copies. The comments published on the website of the newspaper show that Russian readers are highly concerned about the cartoons. Many of them urged to boycott Korean goods in Russia.
Konstantin Asmolov, a senior specialist with the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that the publication of the cartoons about the Moscow subway bombings could hardly be referred to as just a silly mistake.
“This style of illustrations in South Korean newspapers is not rare. From time to tine the Korean newspapers publish specific cartoons on various disasters in third world countries. The newspaper published the column with the brown bear cartoon on April 2, when Moscow opened a large-scale festival of Korean culture to mark the 20th anniversary since the beginning of the Russian-Korean diplomatic ties. The burning feeling of national pride is very typical of the Koreans. This feeling comes close to a very painful reaction to any similar attacks against Korea,” the scientist said.
About 200 people were injured in a terrorist act in the subway of the city of Daegu (S.Korea) when a mentally unbalanced individual set a carriage on fire in February 2003. About 200 people were injured in the accident. If a Russian newspaper published a cartoon on the subject, the South Korean government would never leave it out of its attention. However, it did not happen.
The appearance of the above-mentioned cartoons in The Korea Times gives every reason to believe that some political forces in Seoul intend to ruin the progress achieved in the relations between Russia and South Korea.