"War is the greatest threat to public health."- Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Help Save Jeju Island and Stop U.S. Global Military Expansion!
The struggle continues against the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea that would service US Navy Aegis destroyers that hold Raytheon’s missile “defence” systems. South Korean peace activists argue that the base will build-up offensive military systems in North East Asia, undermining security and prompting military responses from China and North Korea. Villagers also oppose the base because of the loss of farm land, where they have grown rice, garlic, tangerines, and more on the fertile land. The base will destroy the local environment, including coral reefs named by UNESCO as key environmental treasures. The Navy intends to pour concrete over the rocks and marine life to make wharfs for the Aegis destroyers.
International attention to the plight of the villagers is increasing every day. The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space held its annual meeting on Jeju Island in February. Foreign activists are teaming up with local ones to protest the base in the United States and in Korea. For some updates, please see Bruce Gagnon’s blog, for example, People keep coming to Gangjeong.Also see a recent article by Robert Redford, The Battle for Jeju Island: How the Arms Race is Threatening a Korean Paradise.
Action: The Global Network notes that South Korean corporation Samsung is the lead contractor building the Navy base on Jeju, and calls on activists to boycott Samsung.
In addition, please view this appeal from the international team in Gangjeong Village:
Dear friends and supporters of the struggle against the Jeju naval base project,
On March 7, the first blasting the coastal rock, known as “Gureombi” has begun in while the government and the navy exercised its power in Gangjeong village and villagers and peace activists were hauled by the police. There was expected to carry the explosives by land but the navy handled sea freight, not to take the road that were blockaded by the villagers and activists. People who were determined to defend the Gureombi were immensely shocked. The navy announced that 43 tons of explosives will be used for blasting the Gureombi and it will takes from 3 to 5 months according to the weather. There have been daily nonviolent direct actions and other forms of struggles for saving Gureombi every day since the first blasting progressed. More than 60 people were already arrested and the numbers of arrests continue to occur as well. There has been an increase in cases of police misconduct and human rights frequently violated. Professor Yoon-mo Yang who was arrested for obstructing police in carrying out their duties is now on his 35th day of hunger strike as of March 13 while inside the prison. The Jeju government demanded on temporal reservation on construction but the Ministry of the National Defense didn’t have an attitude accepting this demand at all.
We ask you to support to our efforts to save the Gureombi and resist the naval base on Jeju Island. Take some time to write letters of complaint to the government and the navy planners and please distribute this appeal among your friends or in your local group.
1. Call the Korean Embassy or organize demonstrations in front of the Korean Embassy in your country and let them know that Jeju does not want a naval base!
4. Contact the media in your country about this resistance to raise their awareness about the struggle.
5. Stay updated on the resistance by joining the "Save Jeju Island” and the “No Naval Base on Jeju!” Facebook pages. Follow the most recent developments on Twitter at #savejejuisland and #gangjung - then re-post.
6. Consider making a donation to support the international campaign to Save Jeju Island. 100% of your financial contribution will go directly to villagers on the ground waging peace against this dangerous militarization project.
I am a student and practitioner of nonviolence, working for the abolition of ALL nuclear weapons. I coordinate media & outreach for Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (www.gzcenter.org), and also coordinate the Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (psnukefree.org) and the NO To NEW TRIDENT Campaign.