HPJ Peace Activist Reports on Experience in Jeju

You’re invited to attend a report-back on Sunday, September 30 from 11:45am-12:45pm at the Honolulu Friends Meetinghouse, 2426 O’ahu Avenue, Manoa. An HPJ volunteer lived for three months as an international witness and peaceful protester in Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island. She will share her personal experiences living in the village and joining in the resistance to the construction of a joint US/South Korean naval base which is destroying pristine coastline and the villagers’ way of life. This is a chance to have a first-hand, intimate look at the personal, daily struggle of activists who are fighting not just against a military machine, but for a peaceful life for their children.

Jeju City rally at the end of the Peace March around the island

Here are some of her glimpses of life on the front line of peace activism:

“The woman with the flowers on her sleeveless dress/Jumper is actually being arrested. She is honestly one of the sweetest young women you could ever hope to meet. It is clear in the video that she was not resisting being moved by the police. They charged her with ‘verbal abuse’. I mean, seriously boys, grow up.”
“Just got back from protesting for five hours at the gate in driving rain. Can’t complain because these people have been doing this – rain or shine – for five years. Sat through Catholic mass for one of the hours… good time out for meditating. In some ways, due to the language barrier, this has been like a three month silent retreat.”
“The young woman in the yellow tee-shirt and shoulder length hair whose arm was twisted up behind her back (that is actually a karate technique) to force her to the ground, was just visiting Gangjeong, not an activist or local resident. She is sitting on the ground and crying after being forced to the ground, she was understandably pretty traumatized. She had no idea what she did wrong….”
“No one should ever get used to this sort of thing. Unfortunately there is no one to police the police. They are trained in and sent here from Seoul.. Scary.”
“We are currently bracing for back to back typhoons… the first is going to be the worst they have had in five years. This afternoon a siren went off with an alert that swimming in the Gangjeong River is temporarily outlawed… which inspired many of us anti-authoritarian types to an upstream swimming area along the river that is just below a waterfall where we could not be seen by authorities. A great time was had by all”
“Okay … gotta get ready to go down to the gate to protest, and witness another day of a few hundred riot police marching over both sides of the bridge in formation to descend upon a dozen or so activists.”

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