Gloria Steinem is in the middle with the sunglasses and yellow sash. To her left is Christine Ahn, the primary organizer.
I have to say that I am amazed at how controversial this ‘march’ across the Korean DMZ became. My essay below speculates on why this obscure event – which will almost certainly change nothing, because the geopolitical split between the Koreas is now deeply baked-in – nonetheless provoked a huge fight among Korea-watchers for the last month.
The march got coverage on CNN, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and a whole host of other places. A lot of the relevant links are in my essay below, but here are a few more, so you can make your own mind:
the ‘Women Cross DMZ’ website (watch the introductory video by Ahn on the homepage)
Josh Stanton, arguably the march’s most vociferous critic
I also thought this recently published critique was a good one. The author writes, “ironically, the symbolic crossing has provoked a stark division between its few supporters and many more detractors.” That is my impression too. While march supporters were passionate, the backlash (of which my essay below is a part) struck me as greater and quite widespread.
Now Ahn says they are going to try again next year, so I guess we can we argue about this every year now. Hoorah!
The essay below the jump was first published here, for the Lowy Institute.