BY STAFF REPORTER
KOREAN CATHOLICS at a Mass for a South Korean citizen beheaded in Iraq have blamed US President George W Bush and the South Korean government for the killing.
Forty members of the Catholic Priests’Association for Justice celebrated the Mass at a park in Seoul, reported UCA News. About 100 other religious and lay people prayed for Kim Sunil — a Protestant who was studying Arabic with the intention of becoming a missionary — at the outdoor Mass as about 5,000 other people maintained a candlelight vigil not far away.
Kim’s beheaded body was found on the road between Baghdad and Fallujah June 23. The 35-year-old translator, who worked for a South Korean trading company supplying goods to the American military in Iraq, was killed the night before, according to officials in Seoul. His captors, members of a militant group opposed to foreign forces in Iraq, threatened to behead him if their call for ending the Korean military presence in the country was not met.
Fr Paul Moon Kyu-hyun, association president, said: “An innocent young man was brutally killed in the dirty war. Despite his shout, ‘I want to live,’ the South Korean government wrong fully confirmed the dispatch of troops and let him be killed.” Catherine Lee Myung-jin, 33, a high school teacher, told UCA News that Mr Bush killed Kim. “Bush started the dirty war for oil and is killing enormous numbers of innocent people brutally for his interest,” she said.
Lee also expressed anger at the Korean government, which she said “did nothing” to save Kim. She blamed the government “for the nonsense of confirming the troops”.
Catherine Hwang Junghee, 64, said she pitied his mother. She said: “I feel sorry for him and hope this Mass helps him rest in peace.” Fr Matthew Cho also placed responsibility for Kim’s death with the U.S. and South Korean governments. “We too should be blamed for it, since we couldn’t stop the troop dispatch,” he said.
In a letter released at the end of the Mass, members of the priests’ association expressed their “grave concern about the government’s decision over the additional dispatch of troops to Iraq”.
The priests said South Korea should send a reconstruction corps of civilians, rather than military troops, in order to help Iraq “grow the seeds of democracy” and the United States “find its right way to contribute to the world”.