Mike Pompeo Forced Seoul’s U.S. Embassy to Remove a Pride Flag and Black Lives Matter Banner
The US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, was recently forced to take down both a rainbow flag celebrating Pride Month and a Black Lives Matter banner hung in support of the protests against police brutality and the murders of Black men, women and children in the United States. The State Department offices of Mike Pompeo specifically requested the take down.
The U.S. Embassy stands in solidarity with fellow Americans grieving and peacefully protesting to demand positive change. Our #BlackLivesMatter banner shows our support for the fight against racial injustice and police brutality as we strive to be a more inclusive & just society. pic.twitter.com/Y4Thr2MRdw
— U.S. Embassy Seoul (@USEmbassySeoul) June 13, 2020
Ambassador Harry Harris tweeted on June 13, making it clear that hanging the banner was his decision:
저는 존 F. 케네디 대통령이 1963년 6월 10일 아메리칸 대학에서 한 이 말을 믿습니다. “만일 우리가 지금 서로의 차이를 없앨 수 없다면, 적어도 다양성을 존중하는 안전한 세상이 되도록 도울 수 있을 겁니다.” 미국은 자유롭고 다양성이 보장되는 국가입니다. 다양성으로부터 우리는 힘을 얻습니다. https://t.co/CyOVuiLpmc
— Harry Harris (@USAmbROK) June 13, 2020
Translation: I believe what President John F. Kennedy said at American University on June 10, 1963. “If we can’t get rid of each other’s differences right now, at least we can help them become a safe world that respects diversity.” The United States is a free and diverse country. From diversity, we gain strength.
Unfortunately, the United States government doesn’t seem to agree.
The State Department explained that the United States doesn’t promote specific organizations or encourage contributions to nonprofits. Most of us know that Black Lives Matter is not only a nonprofit organization, but also a movement created to stand against the systemic racism and brutality toward Black lives in this country. It’s probably safe to say that no one looking at the banner in Seoul assumed this was the US Embassy’s way of promoting monetary contributions to the cause, but rather a show of support and solidarity.
You know, like the tweet says.
After the removal at the US embassy in Seoul, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel, had this to say:
Thank you @USEmbassySeoul for your principled stand against racism & support for LGBTQ+ community. I know the U.S. lacks ethical leadership from the WH, but there are millions of Americans who appreciate you demonstrating American values to the world. #BlackLivesMatter #Pride https://t.co/kRDtD6CiUd
— Eliot Engel (@RepEliotEngel) June 15, 2020
As for the Pride flag, which was reportedly hung in late May, according to the US embassy’s Facebook page, its removal was not even explained. Cool.
What are your thoughts on the US embassy in Seoul, South Korea, being forced to remove its Pride flag and Black Lives Matter manner?
Featured image of US embassy by Lee Jin-Man / AP