the struggle for peace in gangjeong village, a background
- Peace is the way, and militarization and destruction of natural habitats will hurt the lifestyles of the villagers and harm the balance of Jeju’s ecosystem. Historically, increased military has led to losses of culture, self-sufficiency, and quality of life as seen in places such as Hawaii. Economically and ecologically, a naval base will only hurt Jeju Island’s current culture of peace, and may lead to war and violence with China, Japan, and other parts of the world.
- Activists work day and night to protest the construction of the base. Residents and domestic and international volunteers occupy the gates 7 days a week to promote peace and justice. Many of these activists have moved from the mainland of South Korea leaving behind family, friends, jobs, and school to live in Gangjeong Village. Some came as tourists, and now live in Gangjeong to join the daily struggle.
- NGOs around the world as well as figures such as Noam Chomsky, Bruce Cummings and Vandana Shiva have spoken out in solidarity with the peace activists. The U.K. also stands against the base.
- Hundreds of activists from students to religious leaders have been arrested since protests began. Many have been severely injured from police clashes and several are in prison now.
- The construction of the naval base for use by the U.S. and South Korea promotes war and displays a blatant disregard for the people of Jeju and Gangjeong Village. As 94% of villagers voted against the base, the construction betrays the voice and will of the people.
- Gangjeong village is located in South Korea on Jeju Island, a.k.a. The Peace Island. Gangjeong’s population is about 1500, and the villagers largely live off of farming and fishing, and have a culture heavily based in art and music.
- The site chosen to build the base one is located directly on an Absolute Conservation Area (ACA) designated in ’91 by the Jeju government as well as a UNESCO designated biosphere conservation area. Several endangered species and the largest temperate soft coral reef are located on the coastlines.
- Military strategists have openly expressed that the location chosen for the naval base is not ideal nor logical.
- In 2007, out of 1,000 eligible voters, only 87 were present in the meeting that approved the naval base – this approval was based on clapping and the present voters are rumored to have been bribed by stakeholders like Samsung.
- Another vote was held in response in which over 700 voters were present, and 94% voted against the base.
- Protests and demonstrations have been held since 2007, and activists occupy the site every day.
How can you help?
- Supporters of the struggle are always welcome to live in Gangjeong. Housing is available and food is provided for activists. Remember, Gangjeong is a utopia 🙂
- To support through social media, e-mails, letters, etc., please visit http://savejejunow.org/act/
- To make a donation, please visit http://savejejunow.org/donate/