Veterans' minister touts S. Korea's Gangnam Style freedom

It is perhaps not the first thing that springs to mind when considering what was gained by fighting and winning wars: Gangnam Style. But that's one of the freedoms that sprang to mind for Steven Blaney talking about Canadians' sacrifice in war Sunday.
Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney marches with Korean War veterans during a ceremony at the National Cemetery in Seoul last month. Blaney has pointed to the global pop hit 'Gangnam Style,' along with auto giants Kia and Hyundai, as an example of succes that has come from the freedom won by Canadians' sacrifice in war. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

It is perhaps not the first thing that springs to mind when considering what was gained by fighting and winning wars: "Gangnam Style."

And yet, it's one of the things that came to mind when the Minister of Veterans' Affairs, Steven Blaney, was asked for his views about Canadian sacrifice at a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic in Quebec City on Sunday.

Speaking in French, Blaney said, "There would be no 'Gangnam Style' if it had not been for the sacrifice of Canadians, and members of the United Nations who fought off Communism."

The catchy pop song by South Korean musician Psy comes complete with dance moves and the record of being the first YouTube video to reach a billion views.

Blaney went on to name businesses Kia and Hyundai as other examples of South Korean successes that came as a result of the freedom gained after the Korean War.

Blaney has just returned from a trip to South Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the war. More than 26,000 Canadians fought in the Korean War, a contribution larger in proportion to its population than most other UN participants, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Asked to elaborate on the minisiter's comments, spokesperson Jean-Christophe de la Rue offered this statement: "Thanks to the sacrifices of Canadian Veterans, South Korea is now economically strong and democratic. Clearly, it is also a cultural superpower."

"Gangnam Style" has become a global symbol of the cultural and economic successes inside South Korea. The title of the song itself makes reference to a district associated with the hip and wealthy in the capital city of Seoul.

Blaney is not the first to point to "Gangnam Style" as a sign of the country's flourshing freedom. The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, not only showed his "Gangnam Style" dance moves while meeting Psy, he also praised the musician and his song for promoting cultural understanding through music.