Korean women's statement against ?the Construction of the Jeju Naval Base


Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island must be a place of peace, life and
healing for the Korean Peninsula!

 

 

For the past ten years, the issue of the naval base on Jeju has changed
from Hwasunri to Wimiri to Gangjeong, totally destroying the communities
of these villages who have been living together like family for generations.
This issue has caused deep frictions within the residents of the island,
and not only the residents of the proposed base area, but the majority
of the Jeju Prefecture population are against the base construction.

The ocean around Gangjeong Village, the proposed base site, borders a
UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve, and is also designated as Natural
Memorial 442, a natural protection area home to clusters of soft coral.
This place is now being destroyed by the military's unilateral forced
construction.

 

In the local ecosystem, as the precious rocks of Gureombi, many lives of
Gangjeong are dying, including the crab designated by the Ministry of
the Environment as an endangered species, Sesarmops intermedium. The
beautiful scenery and nature is being covered by garbage
indiscriminately disposed of by construction companies, and the
underground water which is the source of much life is being tainted by
dust and foreign objects discharged in the construction process, left
neglected with holes.

 

Professor Yang Yoon-Mo, who settled by the sea of Gangjeong on his own
and spent over three years with the local people trying to protect their
village, was jailed and even now more than 60 days since he began a
hunger strike is putting his life on the line, asking “If I die, scatter
my ashes in the Gureombi sea.” Choi Sung-hee, who has also dedicated
herself fully to protecting the peace of Gangjeong, is also in jail on
the 12th day of a hunger strike.

 

As popular opinion throughout Korea strengthens against the base, and as
activities by people around the country supporting actions in solidarity
against the base construction such as sending support items, banners,
donations and volunteers continue, the navy is becoming more frenzied to
build this military base ? with no clear purpose ? and continues its
oppression, reacting to protests with more military violent methods.

Knowing these facts, we women strongly condemn the navy for forcing
through the naval base construction, and the Jeju Prefectural Government
for silently allowing this to happen.

 

Jeju still has the memory of the massive state violence of 4.3. Despite
losing their parents and siblings, every day the people had to hold
their breath and hide their tears. Furthermore, through the
“guilty-by-association” restrictions, innocent people had to live as if
guilty. Even now 60 years on, the people of Jeju Island who lost members
of their families and have been living with grief for years are not able
to raise their voices, and their bitterness cannot be brushed away.
However, the new form of massive state violence in the form of the naval
base is threatening our lives and peace.

 

We deeply share the concern of the Jeju Islanders that the animosity and
conflict amongst the community as a result of the forced construction of
the naval base may once again repeat the pain of the 4.3 Incident.

Having experienced the tragic history of the 4.3 Incident, and still
feeling the pain of this experience, Jeju understands just how important
peace is. Thus, we do not want such a difficult past to be once again
brought upon the next generations of Jeju through the naval base. We do
not hope for a village without peace, with the blessings of nature
destroyed and the community broken down.

 

We hope that the ocean will be able to retain its current form,
generously providing us all we ask for when we need a rest or when our
stomachs are empty. We hope that will remain a place where the mothers
of mothers connect lives, and many stories and breaths are left. We hope
Jeju Island to be left as a peaceful place where we ourselves and our
children can continue to live. We women, deeply hoping for peace and not
war on this land, oppose the military base.

 

Peace is not just a value that cannot be seen, but is an extremely
important, real thing that can change the fate of a community or a country.

And, as people who can shape Jeju, want to ask about the Jeju naval
base. Can peace and military bases coexist? Is a wrong choice being
rationalised with the excuse of supposed practical advantages?

Jeju Island, the island of peace, does not belong to a few politicians
or military officials. The many islanders of Jeju are the custodians of
Jeju Island, and they have a right to live in peace and safety. It is
necessary to guarantee the future of the children.

 

We intend to work together with the people of Jeju Island to build a
path of solution for Jeju, where life and peace breathe. As well as
national actions in solidarity to stop the construction of the naval
base, we will spread word of the naval base issue internationally, and
actively stand together with the residents of Gangjeong to protect the
beautiful natural legacy and realise Jeju as the Island of Peace.


2011. 6. 1

 

<<34 Women’s Groups>>

 

Women Making Peace
Kyunggi Women’s Association United,
Gwangju-Jonnam Women’s Association United,
Daegu-Kyungbuk Women’s Association United,
Busan Women’s Association United,
Kyungnam Women’s Association
Korean Association of Christian Women for Women Minjung
Daegu Women’s Association
Daejun Women’s Association
Busan Counseling Center Against Sexual Violence
The Korean Catholic Women’s Community for a New World
Suwon Women’s Association
Ulsan Women’s Association
Jeju Women’s Association
Jeju Women’s Human Rights Solidarity
Chungbuk Women’s Association
Pohang Women’s Association
Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center
Korea Women Workers Association
Korea Women's Associations United
Korean Womenlink
Korea Women’s Studies Institute
Korea Women’s Hotline
Korea Women Migrants’ Human Rights Center
National Solidarity for the Solution for Sexual Trafficking
The National Association of Parents for Charm/education
Women’ Social Education Center
Kyungnam Women's Associations United
Chonbuk Women's Associations United
Pusan Women's Center for Social Research
Saewoomtuh for Prostituted Women
Korean Differently-Abled Women's United
Korean Association of Women Theologians
Housewive s Movement for Togetherness

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