Apologizing to Your Countrymen

I just read this article about the released South Korean missionaries’ somber homecoming:

Relatives of the two men held their portraits as they stood on either side of one of the remaining 19 hostages, Yoo Kyung-sik, who apologized to the nation during a news conference.

“We went to Afghanistan to practise sharing love,” Yoo said. “However, we were kidnapped accidentally, and caused the whole country to worry. We also apologize to the government.”

Good for them. Anybody who acts irresponsibly and requires their government to expend resources–particularly extraordinary resources–to rescue them ought to publicly apologize.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rescued out-of-bounds skier or hiker apologize for their behaviour. Maybe they do and it doesn’t get reported? I also think they should pay every penny of the cost of their rescue. I guess that price tag would be pretty huge for those 19 Koreans.


  1. If I remember correctly, when three Japanese nationals were taken hostage in Iraq there was a public outcry in their home country. They were seen as selfish for their actions in going to the country in the first place and were humiliated upon their return. I think they even had to go into hiding and their families had to apologize to the rest of the country for the former hostages’ behaviour. The government also billed them for their flights back to Japan.

  2. Although no one will admit it, the word is that the Korean government paid about $40 million for the hostages. What is public knowledge is that instead of going through the elected government, the Koreans decided to negotiate directly with the terrorists. They also agreed to remove their military and aid workers from the country.

    So, it might be the Korean government who needs to apologize. Let’s say, for starters, to the families of the Canadians fighting in Afghanistan. The Korean government’s actions, at the very least, gave a lot of political strength to a terrorist group. At worst, they directly funded future attacks on Canada’s military.

    In your entry, you wrote “rescue.” They were not rescued. Offers were made by other countries to help rescue the hostages, but Korea decide to pay instead.

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