Was planning to post about a friend’s wedding this past weekend, but recent world events that hit close to (my Korean) home have sidelined that plan.

By now, everyone is aware of the election earlier this month in Iran and the ongoing protests around the world. Last week, I went to another World Cup qualifying match, this time between South Korea and Iran. (I know, I have a thing for “axis of evil” sporting events.) A friend warned me that because South Korea had already qualified for the games in South Africa and Iran just needed a draw (and also something other than a draw between the North Korea-Saudi Arabia game held the same night) to advance, the match might be a bit dull. Most of the game was indeed pretty low-key (we weren’t even standing up), even after Korea accidently scored a goal against itself in the 51st minute, bumping Iran to a 1-0 lead. The crowd finally amped up toward the end of the match, when Manchester United midfielder and Korean soccer superstar (and national team captain) Park Ji-sung scored in the 81st minute, bringing the score to a 1-1 draw. Park is huge here, especially to the boys who come to SEV. Merely saying, “Park Ji-sung, good!” with a thumbs-up sign is a guaranteed in with some kids.

It turns out that the most interesting parts of the game didn’t happen until days after fans left the stadium. I didn’t think to take out my camera until the game had already ended, which I’m kicking myself for now, because if I had, I might have captured on film six Iranian players donning green armbands in protest of the election held earlier this month. The armbands were removed after the half, but not before garnering international attention.

CNN is now reporting that four of the six players have been “retired” from the national team, “the equivalent of a life ban.” One can only imagine what other repercussions these players will face at the hands of Ahmadinejad and his corrupt government. It’s too soon to know what will happen as a result of these elections, but these days, where there is international media attention, there is hope. I only hope the media keeps this in the spotlight for as long as it takes for justice to be served.

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