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Nodutdol . e*News
August 2009

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Updates and Announcements

Nodutdol for Korean Community Development’s Korean Language Program is now accepting students for the 2009 fall term.

If you are interested, please contact us at or 718-335-0419.
Please see below for the class schedules.

9/15/09 to 11/17/09 (10 weeks)
Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
No experience in Korean Language required.
Learning from Alphabet.

9/16/09 to 11/18/09 (10 weeks)
Wednesdays 6:30-8:30pm
Students with about 7-8 months of Korean language Instruction.
Corresponding level of Korean proficiency to conduct basic social activities.
Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

+ Classes are held in Mid-Manhattan. Each class will be small (a maximum of 10
students) and focus on developing conversational Korean language skills in an
informal atmosphere.

+ Tuition : $300 per 10-week session
($225 for Nodutdol members, low income and students)

*you can make a payment on-line:
우리 같이 한국어를 배웁시다! Let’s all learn Korean together!

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Interns' Reports

by Hyein Lee and Grace Park

In summer 2009, three Korean American college students worked at Nodutdol as summer interns to learn about and participate in the national campaign to call for a Peace Treaty to end the Korean War. As part of their internship, they organized a teach-in to commemorate July 27, anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice. The teach-in was part of a national weekend of candlelight vigils in Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. organized by the National Coalition to End the Korean War (

Below is a report of the New York City event, written by intern Hyein Lee-

On July 25, 2009 Nodutdol and Veterans for Peace hosted “Unlearn War: Proliferate Peace” at the Solidarity Center in Manhattan to commemorate the July 27, 1953 armistice signing in Korea. The armistice only temporarily halted military warfare on the peninsula and no peace treaty was ever signed to permanently end the Korean War. Nodutdol and Veterans for Peace sought to raise public awareness for the necessity of a Peace Treaty and finally putting an end to the Korean War. Over seventy guests, comprised of students, scholars, peace activists, and veterans, attended the event.

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DEEP Report Back: Learning a new language

by B. Yoon

My visit to the DPRK is directly tied to my work on Nodutdol’s Peace Treaty Campaign. Too often, the language about the DPRK that occurs here in the States is dehumanizing—and if there is reference to the people at all, it is to their status as victims. But not as victims of the Cold War, or of imperialism, but of their leaders. There is little to no real debate about the character or the people of North Korea—only the understanding that the leadership is crazy and unpredictable, and that the people are brainwashed. This is a significant barrier to any attempts to unify the peninsula. This pattern is not unfamiliar—we see it happening when talking about Iran or Palestine—actually, in most dialogue that takes place on the Middle East, Africa, and other postcolonial nations. There is rarely any attempt by the mainstream press to understand the historical context behind present day situations—often motivations are deemed evil, and thus unknowable. Scholar Mahmood Mamdani has written about the difference between survivor’s justice and victor’s justice, with survivor’s justice cloaked in this language of unknowability, creating zero-sum conditions that preclude coexistence and reconciliation. Survivor’s justice, on the other hand, is what took place in South Africa after apartheid, where it was decided that coexistence was not only possible, but was the only real option. This involves recognizing both parties as human and deciding to plot a common future together. The official line of the United States is of course in favor of peaceful coexistence—and yet the portrayal of the DPRK as varying degrees of crazy is critical in preventing the sort of personal understandings that must occur for reconciliation and unification. The DPRK Education and Exposure program has the goal of demystifying the DPRK and establishing people-to-people relationships. Returning home to the US, it is easy to see how remote the matter of unification can seem at times, but experiences here in New York, such as the recent issues that have surfaced in the local Korean community due to the current race for city council, show how these unresolved wounds lay not so deeply beneath the surface.

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DEEP Report Back: The road to unification

by Sarah Ahn

I’ve been back from my trip to the DPRK for just about a week now. In that time, I’ve been trying to make sense of what the trip means or should mean here. There is so much I learned and experienced that it is hard to put into words, but I will write about what I think can be the most meaningful in our context here in the US. During my first days in the DPRK, I felt a sadness and hopelessness (among many other emotions) because I could see and feel how different this half of the country was.

Though I grew up in the US, I always had a sense of my Koreaness’ and a connection to my roots. I think like most Korean Americans, that connection was to South Korea; though I had never traveled there, it was where my family came from, where we would hear news from, where guests would visit from and what I imagined ‘Korea’ to be. The DPRK was, in many ways, familiar, but so different. Not only from the South and the Korean community I know here but from the world. Even though I cringe every time I hear disparaging references to the DPRK as being closed and hermit-ed from the world, in a sense it is true. The world has moved on. And yes, the DPRK has also changed, but not in the same direction as the rest of the globalized world.

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DEEP Report Back: My 38th parallel

by Sooyoung Lee

As a child in South Korea in the mid 1980s, I remember watching on television a program that showed reunification of families who have been separated in South Korea since the war. It was truly heart wrenching to watch but I couldn’t help but be glued to the television. I remember thinking about the war that happened long ago and suffering that Koreans of that generation had to endure. I would say that it was during those times that I have had the most intense feelings about reunification because I noticed that as time goes by my interest and feelings toward reunification have waned significantly. So, in the spring of this year, when some people at Nodutdol asked me if I would consider going to North Korea, I hesitated. I had to ask myself, do I really care that much about North Korea? Even though I find myself transfixed whenever there is a mention about North Korea on television, the thought of actually going there seemed unreal and scary.

The fear was not about whether or not I’d be kidnapped or mistreated in any way, as some have tried to warn me—it was more about how my mind would react to the expected strangeness of what I might see and experience there. I had a fear that my mind would not tolerate North Korea well if what I experienced there felt restrictive both physically and mentally. I spent the earlier part of my life in South Korea until I was eleven years old when anti-communism was one of the most important dogmas in that society. Although long time has passed and I’ve lived far away from that landscape, I had a fear that perhaps some things from my childhood would return to haunt me during my time in North Korea.

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About Nodutdol eNews

Nodutdol eNews is the monthly e-mail newsletter of Nodutdol.Through grassroots organization and community development, Nodutdol seeks to bridge divisions created by war, nation, gender, sexual orientation, language, classes and generation among Koreans and to empower our community to address the injustice we and other people of color face here and abroad. Nodutdol works in collaboration with other progressive organizations locally, nationally and internationally as part of a larger movement for peace and social change.

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