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)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Resisting Empire on Jeju Island: Homily by Gilberto Perez

Editor's Note: We previously shared one of the Homilys given by Elizabeth Murray, a member of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation (aka: Jeju 10) to Jeju Island. These homilys were given at the Masses at the daily vigils at the entrance gate to the naval base in construction on Jeju Island. Here is another homily by Br. Gilberto Perez. Gilberto is a monk from the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple. Gilberto traveled to Jeju previously with Fr. Bichsel.

Gilberto bowing to the Peace Center in construction in Gangjeong Village
(photo courtesy of Mira Leslie)
"Resisting Empire on Jeju Island"

My name is Gilberto Zamora Perez. I was born on a Caribbean Island similar in beauty to Jeju Island€”and raised in the slums of the American Empire.

To my brothers and sisters of Gangjeong Village and Jeju Island: I arrived at Gangjeong eight days ago, having always lived as a stranger in the strange American Empire. I have now come home to my family of peacemakers, and to love of Lord Jesus, in Gangjeoung Village.

The American Empire is a merchant of death selling weapons of murder to divide people and nations of color, truly the policemen of the world. It is the greatest military industrial complex of power and racism.

The American Empire claims to bring peace and security to Korea, yet only 60 years ago, 3 million Koreans sacrificed their lives, and still Korea is still divided into North and South. Starting on April 3, 1948, American lead military and South Korean forces murdered some 30,000 villagers of Jeju; this still burns in my heart. Yet what kind of peace and security is it when after 36 years of Japanese occupation, another empire raises its flag of domination and murder?

The Islands of the Caribbean have become a resort destination for the rich of the world. The original Island peoples are all gone, and African slave descendants cater to the rich foreigners. Beautiful Gangjeong Village and Jeju Island may become a play land for wealthy foreigners as well. Our mothers, daughters, and children will be disrespected and treated like trash.

Just observe what has happened in the Philippines, Guam, and Japan, which between them have 45 military bases!!! Since the U.S. military occupation began in Okinawa, Japan, there have been two rapes a month by US personnel and in one case, a 13 year old was raped by three marines...and many more who will not speak of horrors for fear of bringing shame to their families. And all the while, the generals and high officials of the U.S. military have great housing on the best beaches, and play golf.

It is the same destruction the Native Americans experienced, their most beautiful lands stolen. And they brought Africans slaves over, now with four hundreds years of suffering to slave over resources for the rich.

The empire and the Korean government say the navy base will bring peace, security and employment to Jeju Island. A big lie! All governments lie, and the corporate leaders and he rich will never go to jail!

In Gangjeong village as well as the United States, many have been imprisoned as peace makers, and continue to struggle for the poor, because we are not afraid of the empire's power and injustices. Gangjeong Village will be not be a slave, or be forced into serfdom for the empire.

Yet still many peoples of the the world are blind and stupid by materialism and fear of poverty. But not on Jeju. The peace makers of Gangjeong Village know of the Lord's Kingdom. It is alive with the presence of Lord Jesus.

A story from India: There once lived a little parrot in the forest. One night, the friction of strong winds caused bamboos to ignite into a great fire. All the animals in the forest were frightened and ran in confusion with great fear. The little parrot knew that his friends were in danger. The little parrot flew to the nearest pond and soaked his feathers and flew over the great fire with a few drops.

He did this over and over again, and his feathers were burned by the heat of the fire. A heavenly god noticed the little parrot and asked, "What can you do with a few drops of water on such a great fire?" The little parrot answered "These are my sisters and brothers of the forest and I
will do it again and again in this life and the next."

The heavenly god was impressed by the little parrot's courage and helped put out the fire.

May the grace of God be with Gangjeong Village. Thank you.