Chejudo: New Stage 2012-04-25
Towards a New Stage of Struggle: A Call from History
Revoke the Jeju Naval Project! Welfare not Warfare!
Stop the deceptive propaganda about a civilian-military dual-use port!
Stop the blasts and destruction!
Stop the human rights violations!
Stop pro-nuclear MD policy!
The country unifies for Gangjeong:
The Gangjeong Village Association received the April 19 Revolution
and Neutbom Unification Awards on April 18 and 19 respectively.
Meanwhile, Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon was chosen as the recipient of the highly acclaimed
Gwangju Human Rights Award from the 5.18 memorial foundation.
(Photo by Tongil News on April 18, 2012)
April 19 - 25, 2012
On April 19, following the reception of the April 19 revolution award on April 18, the Gangjeong Village Association received the Neutbom Unification Award which is offered in commemoration of the deceased Rev. Moon Ik-Hwan, a legendary unification activist who crossed the DMZ to meet North Korean leaders and discuss the path of peaceful unification. Meanwhile, Father Mun who fell from a tetra pod on April 6 and has been hospitalized since then, is out of hospital after only two weeks, walking and smiling, to the surprise of the doctors who said he would have to stay in the hospital for 6 months. Immediately after his release, he visited Dr. Song Kang-Ho in prison and the villagers and activists' sit-in protest site in front of the Island government hall, and then returned to the village where everyone happily welcomed him. One more blessing was that he was chosen as the recipient of one of the highest acclaimed awards, the Gwangju Human Rights Award established in commemoration of the people's uprising in Gwangju on May 18, 1980. He is the first Korean individual to get the prize since the establishment of the award in 2000. For Koreans, the tasks of peace, democracy, and reunification have significantly converged through these awards given to the Gangjeong villagers and Fr. Mun who risked his life: To unify to stop the Jeju naval base is a call from history.
The oligarchy's steps towards realizing the Jeju naval base through the deceptive and false propaganda of the "Beautiful tourism port for mixed civilian-military dual-use" can be clearly seen in the central government mobilized media war against the people, as well as the Island governor's repeated postponement of the decision to halt the construction. Both of which have brought much fury to the Island council members and the people of Jeju.
On April 24, an Island government official said that the final conclusion regarding the government's ruling about the base will come in May. The Island government has already postponed the results of the hearing 3 times (March 20 to 22, 29 and April 12) and appears to plan on delaying it again and again. Because of this the people have begun to re-organize and re-empower themselves with renewed positive visions of the struggle, despite the pain at the blasting of Gureombi Rock and also the police enforced one-month prohibition of rallies and marches in Gangjeong. They now must confront Korea's oligarchical system that dominates the executive and judiciary systems, as well as many corporations, banks, military leaders, politicians, and the media. Finally, this will lead them to their epic task: how to fight against the U.S. government's imperialist strategies in the Asia-Pacific region.
To help achieve this purpose, we appeal to you to pressure some members of the main opposition (but still somewhat conservative) party. (Please see the "Take Action" section at the end)
The 52nd commemoration day of the April 19 revolution. Following the April 19 Revolution Award given to the village on April 18, the Gangjeong Village Association received the Neutbom Unification Award. Father Mun was released from hospital after 13 days. The traveling candle light vigil was held in Aewol on the Northwestern coast of Jeju Island. The SOS (Save Our Sea) team did a peace walk and advertisement for the vigil for several hours. They walked from Hagwi to near the village of Aewol. Meanwhile in Seoul, a group of professors held a news conference called, "Stop the Jeju Naval Base Construction: An Urgent Call for Global Support to Restore Justice in South Korea and Preserve Peace in East Asia." More than 1,000 people, including Bruce Cumings, were said to have joined the petition. Retrogressive to history, Island governor Woo Keun-Min announced that if safety matters were verified, he would wholly accept the so-called "Beautiful tourism port for mixed civilian-military dual-use," saying, "if the port guarantees the free entry and exit of two 150,000 ton cruises [of which there are only seven in the world, according to him], I favor the naval base." This was stated during the question and answer portion of the 293rd session temporary meeting of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Council, which has recently resumed from April 17.
Yoon Chun-Gwang, member of the Island Council, criticized Governor Woo for his insistence on the so-called dual-use port that Woo himself does not believe will be realized after seeing the navy's flawed base layout: "When the Chief of Joint Naval Operations visited the Jeju Island government hall [on March 22], he came wearing a combat uniform, not even formal attire. Was he planning to fight against the Island government? His attitude is to ignore Jeju Island. After verification, it has been proven that the dual-use port project is a total lie." However, Governor Woo insisted, "If cruise ships enter through the dual-use port, it will be a big help for local development not to mention the invitation of tourists, since a Queen Mary level cruise can accommodate 3,000 tourists at once." Woo's main concern was about the rights to official regulation on cruises, which he expects to be transferred from the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs (MTLM) to Jeju Island, according to the Jeju Special Law. On Nov. 7, 2011, the National Assembly recommended that the central government and island government settle regarding the rights of regulation by June of this year. Governor Woo also said that he would push all presidential candidates for this year's election to pledge to build a new Jeju Airport (of which some people are suspicious of its potential military use.) Upon hearing Woo's remarks, another Island Councilman, Park Won-Chul said, "It has already been confirmed that the current harbor and bay layout does not support two 150,000 ton cruise ships' simultaneous mooring. It is natural that the Island governor should order the navy to halt the reclamation construction (destruction) in the public water and its adjacent surface."
A Squall and heavy rain damaged naval construction site's silt protection layers. Due to strong wind and torrential rain for two days' the silt protection layers (surrounding the site in the water to prevent excessive. water pollution due to construction) were greatly damaged and broken apart. The Gangjeong coast and Sea, the habitat of soft corals (government-designated natural monument No. 442) were covered with scrap materials and trash such as Styrofoam from the damaged layers. Ecocide. Otherwise, despite the bad weather, some of the villagers, including Mayor Kang, visited a women's shelter in Seogwipo that was holding its anniversary event and an artist exhibit. The woman hosting it said that after this rainy spell, spring would blossom on our hardships.
90 Students from Neutbom School who had been staying in Gangjeong put on a farewell performance for the villagers. They also served a free lunch and cleaned up the main road of the town. These students were really great and eager and it was wonderful that their teachers would bring them to learn here in Gangjeong. It was great to have their youthful energy. Hopefully these kids will take what they have learned and bring the future of Korea towards a more peaceful direction.
The Pan-Island people's rally to demand the governor to order the halt of construction was held in front of the Island government hall on the evening before the Island government was supposed to release the result of their hearing on the public water surface construction. Mayor Kang cried: "It is already a confirmed fact that this is not the "Beautiful tourism port for mixed civilian-military dual-use" but only a naval base. Still the dominating powers are falsely denouncing us saying we are 'pro-North Korea.' We will fight to the end until our song of peace spreads into all corners of the country and the world." Some of the people stayed longer and held an overnight sit-in. Earlier, during the day, the Catholic priests, protestant reverends, and professors also held their own services, mass, or news conferences. In Seoul, there was a Catholic mass for the peace of Gangjeong at the Jesuits Center. There was also a joint meeting between village and activist representatives. The intense fight for nearly two months against the blasting of Gureombi, has brought the need to re-organize and re-vitalize the struggle. Short term and long term direction was discussed. Similar regular meetings will be resumed from now.
The Jejudomin Ilbo newspaper, to the fury of Island Council members and Jeju citizens, reported on April 24 that the decision regarding the halt of construction (destruction) would be postponed again to early May. Scolding from the Island Council members was poured on the Island government regarding their self-made complicated procedures at a time when the navy is rapidly increasing the spread of their construction. Representative Kang Kyung-Sik (Progressive United Party) pressured the governor saying, "The Jeju naval base currently being driven is not a civilian-military mixed-use port but 100% naval base. When the lies by the central government and navy are totally revealed, the Jeju Island government should deliver to the navy a strong order for the construction to stop."
The Eup [town] -Myeon [township] –Dong [village] Committee for the Stop of Jeju Naval Base Construction and For Peaceful Settlement Jeju Special Self-Governing Province stated, "We strongly demand that Woo Keun-Min, Island Governor order a halt to the construction (destruction) against the central government, in the spirit of a true leader. Only then, will the Island people respect Governor Woo and support him in unity. However, if Island Governor Woo Keun-Min, grovels to the central government, the Island people will condemn him. Woo Keun-Min is now taking the same steps as former Island Governor Kim Tae-Hwan." [* former Goveror Kim Tae-Hwan sold the village to the navy in 2007 and faced a large impeachment movement against him in 2009. Although he was not impeached at the time, his political reputation was deeply damaged.
The Save Our Sea teams' cultivation of a new Sea Olle trail [around the base site in the water, as the original land Olle trail through Guroembi is blocked] was held for the 2nd time. Though police attempted to block them in the port, courageous team members eventually persuaded them, successfully putting their kayaks in the sea. Though the authorities have prevented people from sea campaigns within the naval base project area through a new law enforced from April 13, people will always find new ways to save themselves and earth. Meanwhile on land, in front of the construction gate, people continued to protest against the construction (destruction) vehicles. A reverend was arrested under the charge of obstruction of government affairs. Father Mun came back to Gangjeong village after a few days' rest in Kunsan. NGOs in Gwangju province held a press conference in front of the Gwangju police agency regarding the violence perpetrated by riot police who dispatched to Gangjeong from Gwangju. They have been positioned in Jeju since late March and have been criticized for brutally crushing protesters.
Fr. Mun held his first mass in Gangjeong since falling off from tetra pod and being hospitalized on April 6. In the village the Daily 100 bows were held at 7 a.m., Catholic mass and Protestant service were held at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively, and the candle vigil was held at 8 p.m. Rain fell all day.
1. Please take some time to write protest letters to the government and the naval base planners and contractors, demanding the annulment of the Jeju naval base project, and stopping construction (destruction) including the blasting of the Gureombi Rock and human rights violations. Please remind them that the central government and government–affiliated corporations such as Samsung and Daelim should not oppress the Island people with their naval base business project, which is the reminiscent of a 2nd 4. 3.
Appropriate addresses can be found here:
http://www.secc.co.kr/eng/html/customer/contactus.asp (Samsung C & T)
2. Please write a letter to Woo Keun-Min, Island governor, to immediately order the halt of the construction; to stop the deceptive propaganda regarding the so-called "Beautiful tourism port for mixed civilian-military dual-use" which in reality is only 100% a military base; to revoke the navy license for reclamation of the coast and sea in the base project area; and to restore the absolute preservation area that was annulled for the naval base project through undemocratic procedures in 2009. Also please demand that he give a sincere apology to the people attacked on the night of March 26th when he mobilized government officers to suppress the people's sit-in.
Mr. Woo Keun-Min, Jeju Island Governor: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Please write to the Democratic United party members to work harder to revoke the Jeju naval base project. Please tell them that the so-called "Beautiful Tourism Port for Mixed Civilian-Military Use", has been confirmed as a fraud and that the party should resolutely reject the Lee Myung-Bak government's enforcement of Jeju naval base project under such deceptive propaganda. Please remind them that the party's election pledge was to "re-examine the project from the beginning point" and that they should also consider a special prosecution system regarding the Jeju naval base issue, regarding the crimes committed by the government. Pressuring them is very important, as their party is the main opposition party:
Han Myung-Sook, Representative of Democratic United Party: email@example.com
Kim Jin-Pyo, Democratic United Party Representative within the National Assembly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Park Ji-Won, Supreme member, Democratic United party : email@example.com
Moon Jae-In, Permanent Advisor, Democratic United party : firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Please also consider signing the petitions on Avaaz (http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_jeju/?vl) and distributing this letter among your networks.
5. For more immediate situation updates, join the facebook group, 'No Naval Base on Jeju'.
6. Please write encouraging letters to Dr. (or Brother) Song in Jail.
Dr. Song Kang-Ho (No. 611)
161 Ora-2dong, Jeju City,
Jeju, the Peace Island,
The Extended International Team of Gangjeong Village
April 25, 2012