The members of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation to Jeju Island, South Korea with members of the Jeju resistance community -- early Thursday Morning, November 13, 2014 in Gangjeong at the entrance gate to the construction site for the naval base. One hundred bows (for PEACE).
The man interviewed (in the 2nd half of the video) overlooking the construction site is Sasha Davis, a faculty member at University of Hawaii, Hilo who joined the delegation for the last couple of days. "Sasha's teaching and research focuses on the intersection of environmental and social issues as well as on the relationships between nature and society. Over the past decade his research has focused on environmental contamination, conservation, resource management and politics near American military installations in the Marshall Islands, Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. More recently he has also focused on environmental and social movements seeking to re-imagine global geopolitics, environmental sustainability and security" (quoted from the UH website).
Following the interview with Sasha another peace delegation participant, Jean Crawford, tells the Mordor story. Sonja initiates a conversation about the role of playfulness of the protesters. Thanks to Rodney Herold for producing this video!
Playfulness aside, the construction of the naval base on Jeju Island is part of the garrisoning of the globe that has been going on for decades and continues unabated. The United States has a military presence in more than 150 countries and has more than 1000 military bases spanning the earth. As Sasha says in the video, the US is looking to the base on Jeju to help control this strategic "choke point" is the insane quest to control China and its access to resources.
Wouldn't it be more intelligent to engage China economically, politically and diplomatically to build an enduring relationship rather than alienating a country that can be either an ally or a formidable foe? Other nations (such as Russia) seem to understand that military might is not the answer. Our global arrogance is stunning.
Of course one could make the observation that it is the South Korean government that is building the naval base on Jeju. And one can also see, by the evidence, that the port is being constructed to very specific standards to receive US surface ships and nuclear submarines. There is no doubt that the base on Jeju is about the US Pivot to Asia (or Asia Pacific Pivot as it is also called).
As a nation, we can either continue to support our way of life using our military as a BIG stick around the world, or we can ratchet it back, create a sustainable way of life, and engage other nations in diplomacy, cooperation and nonviolent conflict resolution. Of course, this will entail closing and re-purposing military bases; finding alternative and sustainable employment for members of the military as their jobs are phased out; and of course the pursuit of total, global nuclear disarmament. And lest we forget, the very corporations that reap huge rewards from building the weapons of war will need to shift to civilian production.
This will all require such a huge paradigm shift that one wonders if it is remotely possible. For the sake of the people of Jeju Island and people everywhere we can only hope (and work) for this good and noble goal. May it be so.
How You Can Help the Jeju Resistance
Join their Facebook groups: No Naval Base on Jeju and Save Jeju Island to stay updated
Write letters to Gangjeong's prisoners of conscience.
Organize a solidarity event (concert, sreening of The Ghosts of Jeju, protest, etc.) and share it on social media.
Find out more and read the ir monthly newsletter at savejejunow.org.