I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
-Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear devastation)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Homily at the gates of the Empire (Jeju Naval Base)

Editor's Note: During the daily vigils at the entrance gate to the naval base in construction on Jeju Island the people celebrate Mass. Elizabeth Murray, a member of the recent Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation to Jeju, was privileged to be invited to deliver a homily during one of these daily Masses, and we share it with you here.

With special thanks to Bishop Kang and all of the Korean priests and nuns who have demonstrated the best of the church as they translate their deep faith into action. 


My dear brothers and sisters of Gangjeong Village,

I am blessed and honored to have this opportunity to say a few words to you today. For the past week I have been inspired by the courage and conviction of your resistance in the face of a vicious Empire and military-industrial complex that respects no laws and will stop at nothing to satisfy its insatiable greed for power and resources.

Of special significance is the special role of the Catholic Church -- specifically your own Bishop Kang, Father Kim, and other Korean priests and nuns -- in confronting the construction of an illegal naval base which will serve the interests of the Empire, and not the interests of the people of South Korea or Jeju island.

These courageous men and women of faith have joined together with the people of Gangjeong village in carrying out Prayer in Action -- embodying the life that Jesus Christ lived -- who, by his example of speaking truth to power, has shown us the kind of life that we all ought to live.

Was not the life and message of Jesus Christ a direct challenge to Empire (in those days the Roman Empire) and those who collaborated with the Roman occupation? Isn't this the reason why the religious and civil authorities conspired to torture Jesus and sentence him to a painful death on the cross?

Had Jesus Christ simply gone along with and accepted the Empire and its well paid lackeys -- had he chosen to separate his vision of peace and justice from the prevailing politics of those times -- he could have easily led a comfortable life and died peacefully in his bed.

We could all easily do the same. All we would need to do is convince ourselves that Jesus did not really mean to say what he said; that he did not really mean to do what he did in challenging the authorities of the day and exposing the evils of Empire. We could all leave the entrance of this Naval Base right now, and go back to the comfort and safety of our homes and families.

But instead, we stand here together -- including a group of 10 Americans led by Father Bill Bichsel. We have traveled a great distance to be here in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in resistance -- risking arrest, injury and even possible deportation.

As Americans, we believe we have a special duty and obligation to be as one with the people of Gangjeong village in resistance to Empire. For there exists a great gap between our feelings of kindness, compassion, and caring toward your community, and the ruthless way in which American Empire is being experienced, directly and indirectly, by your village. We are here to confront the evil of Empire shoulder to shoulder with you, and to bear witness to the fact that the oppressive American Empire does not represent the will of its people.

Although many of us here profess the Catholic faith, there are also many who do not. Good people do not have to be of any particular religious denomination to stand against the violence of militarism, the destruction of capitalism, or the soullessness of materialism.

At the same time, it does seem appropriate that we Catholics and other Christians who claim to follow a courageous dissident activist (Jesus Christ) -- who was tortured to death for challenging an oppressive system -- have a special incentive to do all we can to confront evil and prevent others from being subjected to injustice and oppression.

May God grant us the peace, courage and strength to continue confronting evil in this world, and may we always love and care for one another - friend and enemy alike - as we struggle together in these troubled times. Amen.

Friday, November 21, 2014

"We shall overcome" (reflection from Mira Leslie)

Dear Friends,

I am home and feeling overwhelmed emotionally. Gratitude, outrage, solidarity, humanity, pain, sadness, celebration, beauty, resilience, change, military and corporate power, faith, truth......

I woke last night with Gang Jeong overflowing my head and heart. Physically one circle away-- connected by spirit. What resonates loudly is the powerful ritual, of art, music, dance, faith, the struggle of indigenous people to protect heritage, life and place.

A large chunk of sacred shoreline has been taken -- a tall white fence with barbed wire separates the naval base from the village and its people. On the west sea side there is a river estuary and a rock jetty. It is a beautiful spot- heron, egrets feeding in the river, gentle fresh water flowing into the sea, Tiger island arising from the sea close by..... a group of stored kayaks-- a peace fleet. The west side of the naval base dissects the scene. There are protest flags and paintings all along the river path from the sea...and an encampment supporting the struggle.

the fence and barbed wire 
Walking north along the riverside fenceline arrive at the bridge, the main road into town. It is another site of significance, heavily decorated with antibase flags and flowers. A few hundred feet up the road from the bridge is a shrine and large permanent peace tent, one side set up for Mass, all decorated with logs carved with prayers.. The other side of the road the base fenceline is adorned with illustrations, peace poetry , flags, murals up to the new main gate.

Six days a week mats are placed on half of the main gate road at 7am with activists and sisters bowing with peaceful intentions spoken over a loudspeaker "as I hold in my heart....I make my 1st, ..30th..88th.. 100th bow. Later, at 11am a full mass with communion and rosary is celebrated both in the tent with villagers and extended along the road over a loudspeaker to preist and activists in chairs blocking the gate- stopping construction trucks. Police interrupt every 10-15 minutes to remove and contain resisters to the side for 10 minutes of truck flow...  After mass is a human chain, and 3-4 dances in the street.

From the gate walk on a path decorated with murals and flags on the fence side depicting Gureombi rock, the imprisoned activists, and lined with several greenhouses. Arrive at the communal kitchen, the residence for sisters, and several living/storage containers abutting the north side of the fence. Resume walking along the continuously protested fenceline to the road.where the fence turns south toward the sea along the road to the marina. The unfenced side of the road has a large 24 hour peace encampment and campfire blocking the proposed naval housing construction.. The last of the fields on this eastern side of the naval base were still being bulldozed and fence erected during our visit.

Standing in front of flag of imprisoned activists
The walk ends just past the marina --a large crucifix where Father Moon was pushed off the rock by police at the end of a high cement dyke facing west toward the base--an evocative shrine.

Every centimeter of land that was taken is a passionate colorful tragic place of resistance -- a cry for peace...

Mira Leslie

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jeju: Damaged Environment... Damaged Hearts (from Mira Leslie)

In less than 24 hours we will depart Gangjeong village. Jean left this morning. The goodbyes started yesterday. There is tremendous gratitude to us for coming here. In some ways I don't understand that-- hosting and feeding ten people for 10 days is a tremendous task. We have had 'special meal' almost everyday-- and the regular food at the communal kitchen is delicious -- but not too varied. Kim chee varieties, rice and soup- yum. We have been taken to tourist spots including the amazing Buddhist temple grounds and there have been several meetings with key leaders of the movement-- each imparting intense information.

The community of resistance receives support from visitors-- it helps them to have people doing 100 bows and blocking the gate during mass- Eucharistic resistance. The sister nuns are a steady presence - rotating through here from diocese throughout Korea. Foreign visitors are embraced warmly. The community is tired, but still very together (from an outsider perspective). For me, this time will be impossible to forget-- and I am sure I'll ruminate on it after leaving.

How can we to bring this back to our communities -- and honor all we have learned?

The town is decorated with natural images-- of peace. Peace Zone, dreamcatchers, sea creatures, Gureombi rock. WE learned yesterday at the stone museum and grounds "the very deep meaning of stone here'-- much of it volcanic. It is building material, fencing, tools, food prep, sinks, toys and games, water vessel, art, music....

Last night we sat at the peace center with the activists, priests, and a few townspeople. Father Bix and I described some of our peace work in the US and then they asked questions to all of us. They had 2-3 sentence bios of each of us that had been translated and printed. At one moment an activist said - everyone sees the damage done to the environment here- but no one can see the deep anger and damage in our hearts. She asked Sonya who works with trauma teams internationally for advice. You could see the reactions--- it wasn't expected- Korean people don't talk too much about their feelings.

November 19th gathering (photo courtesy of Emily Wang)
The village produces lillies for Japan, a sister told me as we walked to the gate today-- but many of the lilly greenhouses were destroyed when they started the base. There is still fishing-- but it is diminishing as the sea is being altered with destruction of the fragile soft coral reefs, damage from concrete, blasting, construction toxins/waste and later with ship pollution-- oil, fuel, human waste.

We were gifted t-shirts today by the international team. The image is of Jeju island with an open mouthed shark on one end -- the shark is in US stars and stripes with the Korean script word 'Imperialism'.

Mira Leslie

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jeju: Tuesday's Tourists (from Larry Kerschner)

A group of Jeju Island supporters including a vice-Mayor from Gangjeong held a press conference today in Seoul. They asked the ROK National Assembly to cut off the funding for the base on Jeju as part of their 2015 budget negotiations. Doing our bit as tourists, we drove along the west side of Jeju to the Jeju Stone Park. Another wonderful park and museum dedicated to the geology of Jeju. This evening we met with over 40 local activists to share stories and ideas for the future of resistance on Jeju.

Larry Kerschner

Rock sculpture from the wind and water at Jeju Stone Park

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jeju: Monday - High and Low (reflection from Larry Kerschner)

Villagers cheered this morning when they heard the results of the governors election in Okinawa. The newly elected governor of Okinawa has stated that he will veto any permit for a new US military base in Okinawa. There is a growing solidarity among nations of north east Asia concerning the opposition to US military bases.

Several of us were offered the opportunity to present the homily at mass today. This was my homily: Humbled are those who are able to read the truth aloud. Blessed are those who can hear the message of life and can take it into their hearts. The continuing struggle against the agents of death at Gangjeong is like a tangerine tree planted next to running water. It will yield its fruit in due time. Those who can remain patient and steadfast, despite the apparent strength of the opposition, will surely, in time, once again the sweet taste of community. A community in which a gentle non-violent spirit reigns in every house and in the hearts of all the people. (The lying, bribery and duplicity of the Navy has separated some in the village.)

Fr. Kim giving communion during Mass at the gate.
After meeting with the head of the village resistance committee I now have a better understanding of what has happened here. I mentioned before about the secret meetings and bribery that the Navy used to get an agreement to build the base here. I was wrong when I previously stated that the population of the village is 5000; when intact it's actually about 2000. The resistance here was so effective in the beginning that the national police actually sent 2000 police officers to occupy this village on Jeju Island. They intimidated the villagers on a daily basis and arrested many of the leaders. The police occupation lasted for several years. There were a number of national environmental laws that should have protected this area, however the Navy decided to ignore all of those laws. The Korean court system essentially told the people here that they would just have to live with it even though they recognized that these were some illegal actions on the part of the Navy. It appears that South Korea is no more of a nation under law than the United States is when it comes to issues between those in power and the people.

I mentioned earlier that the governor was going to try to get the Navy to move the Naval housing to someplace outside of the village. While we were eating dinner tonight a Korea news program came on in which it was announced that the Navy today refused the governor's request. The villagers are clearly getting tired of fighting the Navy so it will be interesting to see how they respond to this news.

Larry Kerschner

Editor's Note: Per Larry's reference to the election in Okinawa, here is yesterday's news on the subject from the BBC: US base opponent wins Okinawa governor poll

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jeju: "community of peace--fortress of resistance' (reflection from Mira Leslie)

This is a small village-- everywhere I walk there are people I know-- and I haven't been here a week yet. Lunch was delicious today-- and afterward I walked alone down to the port (marina). Women divers were sorting their catch for the day. This is a traditional way of fishing -- they do it without any breathing apparatus - holding their breath, diving down to collect shellfish and seaweed. The younger women don't want to start-- so it is mostly older women. Some of these women were bribed to support the base, so there is a division of in this micro community that is carried into the larger village. The marina is small. The naval base is on one side-- and there is massive obstruction by huge cement pilings making the waterfront mostly inaccessible to shore fishermen .... fish is a staple here.

There is a very good view of the naval base construction from there. Where Gureombi rock once lived and gave life, there is a massive sea wall making an artificial harbor, with a plethora of cement trucks, earthmovers and cranes. One crane in the middle of the harbor lifts a huge weight every 2 minutes or so and then drops it into the water making a bomb-like underwater sound and huge splash. Dredging.

On the way back I stopped and sat with several activists blocking the naval housing site. The site has a barrel fire outside , a bus and tent -- manned day and night with activists communing- talking, laughing, eating, organizing... There is no rush, and people interact with each other rather than their smartphones. Here, and at the peace center and peace café, babies pass from hand to hand, tangerines are piled high to snack on, dogs mingle. Many people have moved here to join the struggle-- --many, many ferociously powerful women.

This is a sacred place and community of peace-- a fortress of resistance. There is no way to describe the intensity of tragedy that is occurring in the environment here as a direct result of our uncontrolled power and greed.

Seeds of peace, solidarity, and love are deeply rooted in this community and throughout the world but the earth and its plants and animals cannot survive ongoing assault indefinitely. We must use every ounce of energy to change course.

Mira Leslie

Please sign the petition (at moveon.org) to Save Jeju Island.

Jeju: Quiet Sunday (reflection from Larry Kerschner)

Apparently the police are trying to save money so the large forces that are out during the week are not here on Sundays. We were able to block the gates into the base for about an hour and a half while mass and rosary was said. The workers were still working today and were not too pleased about us being there. They got quite loud and noisy trying to interrupt us. It was amusing that yesterday the security guards would have been helping the police move us out of the way and today they were protecting us from the workers who are trying to drive out of the base.

In the afternoon we had a long session with Bishop Kang who has been very supportive of attempts to block building the naval base on Jeju Island. We had a wide ranging discussion on many subjects. He said most of the other bishops in Korea have given him lipservice but there's very little actual support. He talked about the fact that the villagers here have shut down one gate to a part of the base that would have had housing for Navy personnel and their families. I hadn't realized that they were talking about 3000 people occupying this housing when the base is running at full. Clearly this would overwhelm a village of 5000 people. And you can imagine what would happen when a US aircraft carrier comes in and sends 5000 sailors on shore leave. The bishop said that the new governor of Jeju Island has said that he will try to have this housing built somewhere outside of the village but he is waiting for some actual indication that this may happen.

Larry Kerschner

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jeju Early Morning: 100 Bows for Peace (and an end to militarism)

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

Visit Jeju.

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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Jeju: Uprooting Trees - Uprooting Lives (reflection from Larry Kerschner)

Tangerine Harvest

Currently there is the tangerine harvest occurring on Jeju Island. Everywhere you look there are trees filled with sweet orange fruit. Much of the trees are in very large greenhouses. In the past few days the base contractors haven systematically tearing down greenhouses adjacent to the base. Some of the trees have already been cut. This destruction puts me in mind of the Israelis uprooting ancient olive groves in order to build their illegal settlements on Palestinian land. When I was in Korea in 2006 it was to witness the U.S. Military throwing rice farmers off their land in Pyongteck in order to triple the size of an American base. The same base had previously been doubled in size in 1953 by the U.S. Military throwing many rice farmers off their land at that time. Americans seem good at building death camps where life used to flourish.

"Three days ago this field was covered by greenhouses." (photo, Larry Kerschner)
It appears that the women of Jeju won't take lip from anyone. I have seen quite diminutive women getting right in the face of much larger police officers and scream about what had upset them. There is a nun currently serving five months for getting too uppity with the police. Jeju has traditionally had a matriarchal culture and it shows.

We spent some time with Sasha Davis who is a researcher studying the base opposition movements in many places around the world. He says the places where military bases have been defeated or significantly slowed there have been two occurrences. He says it requires a group of people who have been committed to stopping the base and have spent a lot of time talking with and educating the people. The other thing needed is some sort of tragic occurrence (such as the accidental bombing death of a worker on Vieques base in Puerto Rico) or significant change in the political climate. It turns out thar Gangjeong Village was actually the third site choice for the base. The local people in the other two villages which had much better harbors got organized and stopped the base before it got started. When it came to Gangjeong Village the government bribed some people and held a semi-secret meeting attended by only about 80 people of the 5000. who live here and the base was agreed to by a voice vote with no record of who actually voted. The base was started before most of the people here knew anything about it.

Larry Kerschner

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jeju: A reflection from Larry Kerschner

Editor's Note: Here is a reflection from Larry Kerschner, a member of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation to Jeju (originally posted on November 13th as a comment on Facebook).


Once again I am displaced in time and place. The Jeju Island Naval base is a blight on the southern end of a beautiful island. This naval base is nominally South Korean but it is clear to anyone with any sense that this will in fact be part of the American empire military system. The people of Jeju island won't forget that somewhere between 30 and 70,000 people were killed here on Jeju island in 1948 by Korean troops under American command or directly by American troops. Their crime was wanting to have some say in their own future by having an election that would discuss the question of reunification of the south and the north. In the eyes of the Americans that made them communist and were thus liable for capital punishment. Yesterday we attended the April 3 massacre museum that documents the atrocities committed against the people of Jeju island. The United States still refuses to release all of the documentation of what happened here on this island just after the Second World War.

Jeju April 3rd Peace Memorial Hall
The sadness from looking at the various exhibits was palpable. This was part of the early occupation and domination of the South Korean people by the United States. The Chinese left Korea in 1958 in the United States still has 23,000 troops occupying South Korea. We start each morning with 100 bows meditation in front of the main gate of the base that's being built. Later in the day we take part in a Catholic mass/road block aid. We block the gates by sitting in chairs and the police allow us to sit there for a period of time and then they come and physically pick up the chairs with a sitting in them and move us out of the way so that trucks can come and go. This happens five or six times in a row and then the protesters proceed to dance and gyrate in the streets for quite a bit of time after receiving communion. Today for the first time and announcement was made in the English to the effect that foreigners who did not remove themselves from blocking the gate when told to do so by the police were subject to forcible deportation. However there was no apparent follow up that threat. Today we met with Mr. Yang Yeun Mol Who has spent a total of 400+ days in prison for demonstrating against the base. During his prison sentences he went on three fasts lasting 76, 35 and 45 days. He is a famous theater critic here in South Korea and has given up that livelihood in order to spend his whole life protesting against the naval base.

Larry Kerschner

Larry with Fr. Mun shortly after arriving on Jeju Island

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Video by Rodney Herold of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation's arrival and first day on Jeju Island.

Source URL for YouTube video: http://youtu.be/E-oap5I3Yr8

Jeju, Nov 12th Mass Interrupted by Police

Video from November 12th of Police interrupting the Catholic Mass and carrying away resisters, including the Puget Sound area peace pilgrims. (Note: video originally posted at No Naval Base on Jeju Facebook page)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Peace on Jeju: Day 1

Editor's Note: The Peace Delegation to Jeju Island from the Puget Sound region has arrived, and is immersed in the resistance to the naval base. Here is a reflection from Mira Leslie after the first day there.

Jeju is known for '3 manys'- women, wind, and stone  and '3 aren't anys'- no burglars, no beggars, no doors.

The daylight has turned to stars on our first day here. Our peace delegation   has had  breathtaking magnificent, moving experiences today-- 100 bows in front of the naval base construction site, communal Korean meals, tangerines galore, walks through the village, a meeting with Frontiers- a Korean based international peacemaking team,  celebrating mass while doing civil resistance, being carried in a chair  to the side of the road many times, singing and dancing in the street, a food market in the city... traditional Korean bean and rice dessert.

At the construction site entrance (photo by Eunmi, Hosu)
There seemed to be endless daylight yesterday as we flew west-- the hours passed and the day went on and on like a summer day in the north but without waning sun -- long beyond reason. Nine of us travelled together over the dateline,  glimpsing the Aluetians and Northeastern Siberia , by air,  foot, subway and bus,  arriving weary and intact late in the evening. We met Jean at the Jeju airport -- so now we are 10.   By 6:30am we were all at the Naval base gate doing 100 bows to prayers spoken and sung over a loudspeaker in Korean-- how could we keep from praying? 

Father Bix is in good form, despite extra long distance walking yesterday . The community here reacts to him very warmly as communities and individuals do everywhere .

Bix getting carried away... (photo by Eunmi, Hosu)
We   heard from Brother Song and Emily   about the group Frontiers working on solidarity among  Jeju, Taiwan and Okinawa  ; to reunite East and West Timorese families; and   to work in refuge camps in several countries to break the chain of violence, anger and revenge by showing a way of peace-- like the Christian peacemaker teams who they collaborate with. They have been core to the radical direct action here in Guangjong village where many have spent time in prison. To sustain the struggle they are  not  doing things that land them in prison as much right now. My admiration for their fortitude, creativity, and strength is massive. There is something powerful here that I have never imagined.  

 The work to stop the naval base from being built has been ongoing here since 2007. Today, there are several unfinished  two story concrete buildings visible behind a new large   entrance gate, the coral reef is destroyed, the sacred rock blasted away. The  village is adorned with yellow protest flags and beautiful murals promoting peace. At the intersection in the center of the village, a table  draped with flags and artwork is manned all day by Father Moon and other activists holding vigil. They have  successfully blockaded the construction entrance to  the new naval housing building site and from the  corner a couple of blocks away, they prevent construction trucks from getting close.  Meanwhile construction has  started on a new four story Peace Center..  a vision for the future.

Brother Gilberto bowing to the Peace Center under construction (photo, Mira Leslie)
I am the last one awake in our guest house of 6 women. Its difficult to digest so much in one day, and very hard for me to come down from the energy I get from being in a place like Korea for the first time. New smells, sights, language, faces,  experiences stimulate  me  and I crave, explore and savor every moment-- all my senses open and magnified .   Lights out...

Peace and gratitude,


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Video from the Jeju Peace Delegation's retreat at Jean's House

Videographer Rodney Herold is one of the nine accompanying Fr. Bill "Bix" Bichsel to Jeju Island, South Korea next week. Rodney's video below is from the pre-trip retreat last Friday at Jean's House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker.  It puts faces to words and gives you an idea what these peace pilgrims are up to! We hope to see more video and hear stories from the delegation in the days to come.

Blessings of peace as ten of us from the North West
journey to Jeju Island in South Korea to join the resistance with the
villagers to a naval base that will service U.S. vessels of war. This
space swells the tide of endless war. We go to support our brothers
and sisters and to draw strength from this deep pool of Peace which
their faithful resistance has bought about.

We need your prayers and appreciate your support.

On the journey of Peace,

Bix & His Companions

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jeju Peace Delegation about to depart: Letter from Bix

Dear Friends,

Please read the following letter (also attached) from Fr. Bill Bichsel, who will be travelling with a peace delegation to Jeju Island in just a few days. The people of Jeju have engaged in a long and faithful struggle to stop construction of the naval base that threatens not only their Island of Peace, but peace and security for the region and beyond. The struggle for Jeju is part of a greater struggle for a nonviolent, just and sustainable world. May we all engage this struggle in our own communities as we are able.

In Peace,



Letter to Korean Pilgrims

A Peace Delegation of nine people and myself are traveling November 9th to the 20th to the So. Korean island of Jeju. There we will join in the resistance to the construction of a naval base that will service US vessels of war. The resistance comes from villagers of Jeju Island along with religious and lay-people from South Korea. They have been at this for seven years along with Bishop Peter Kang of the Jeju Diocese who has been an inspiration for the ongoing resistance. He has invited people of all faith traditions to join him in the non – violent opposition to the naval base. He initiated the celebration of the Eucharist on the road opposite to one of the entrance gates to the construction site.

Over ten years ago the Island was designated, by The United Nations, as an international Island of Peace. Now it is being converted from a place of Peace and healing to a base of violence and endless war. The people of Jeju and South Korea do not want this. They have suffered enough from war and occupation.

Jeju Island is 350 miles from China, the new enemy which the US war machine needs to continue fostering endless wars. The Jeju naval base will be another of the over 900 military bases around the globe to preserve U.S. domination of the world economy.

Last year Gilberto Perez, a Buddhist Monk, and myself travelled to Jeju Island to be in solidarity with the people doing resistance. The day to day faithful resistance, by the villagers and the Korean priests and nuns was the most inspiring sign of hope that we had ever experienced from a faith community.

Our peace delegation will support the daily blocking of the gates to the construction site. Besides that we will also join in the lively song and dance that brings joy and solidarity at the end of each day.

Our meals will be eaten each day in a communal kitchen. The delegation will be open to experience the hope and strength that communal resistance brings.

Our trip to Jeju Island is in keeping with our work with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action which focuses on the abolition of Nuclear weapons and the Trident Submarine. The base will be port for U.S. vessels with nuclear weapon capability. Besides the possibility of servicing Trident Submarines, the base will accommodate the Aegis Destroyer with its missile defense system.

Though the naval base may be completed, the faithful day by day resistance over the years has created a deep pool of grace from which people of peace can draw nourishment and strength to continue the work of peace and resistance to the works of war.

William “Bix” Bichsel, SJ
Tacoma Catholic Worker
Tacoma, Washington, USA