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Community Event October 2011

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Community Dinner with a Gangjeong Village Resident, Current Fight against Naval Base Construction

When: October 30, 2011, (Sunday) at 5 pm.
Where: Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, 53-22 Roosevelt Avenue, 2nd Floor, Woodside, New York
What: Community Dinner and Discussion about Non-Violent Creative Struggle against Naval Base Construction in Gangjeong Village of Jeju Island


Jeju Island is best known for “its booming tourism, its hardy diving women, and its lush orange groves” (John Merrill). Touted as a romantic honeymoon destination and lucrative site for foreign investment, Jeju is, however, far from a paradise. Historically speaking, Jeju Island went through so much state-sponsored violence in the recent years from 1948 to 1960s in the name of "National Defense." Most men were taken as conscripted laborers and soldiers, strong women had made their living by working with the deep sea, alleged anti-communists soldiers and police came into Jeju Island indiscriminately killing civilians, and so much more institutional discrimination under national security laws.

In long overdue recognition of the civilian massacres it perpetrated under US watch in April 3, 1948, the South Korean government in 2005 designated Jeju an “Island of Peace.” Yes, Jeju normally exude the strength and resilience of people and the beauty and generosity of the nature surrounding it.

Yet, the legacy of unrestrained militarism and the abuse of government authority are far from over. Since 2007, the people of Gangjeong village have waged non-violent resistance against the construction of a massive naval base on Jeju. Due to be operational by 2014, the naval base, which will host 20 warships and two Aegis destroyers integrated within the US Missile Defense System, not only stands to destroy a UNESCO biosphere reserve and government-recognized “absolute preservation area” characterized by rare rock formations, abundant and fertile farmlands, pristine fresh and sea waters, and endangered animal species, but also, to displace Gangjeong villagers from their sea- and land-based livelihoods. Not merely a local struggle, the democratic resistance of Gangjeong residents and activists against the naval base raises the question of a neo-Cold War US/South Korea/Japan alliance and a looming regional arms race with China. With growing global attention to the Jeju resistance, the South Korean government has intensified its crackdown, recently dispatching more than 1,000 riot police from the mainland to forcibly remove and arrest protesters to clear the way for construction. Against state violence, people are gathering in Jeju Island and still maintaining their non-violent and creative struggles.


Geographically, Jeju is close to Okinawa, Japan, Taiwan, China, and other South East Asia. Imagine, Jeju being a Korean, Japan and U.S. Navy Hub. Would it escalate the military tension in the region? Yes, definitely.

Youn-Ae Park is a representative who was sent by the Gangjeong Village folks - to tell us about the current struggles, what is happening at the site, and what are the things that the villagers are looking to get from people in the U.S.

Come for the Community Dinner on October 30, 2011 (Sun) at 5pm to Nodutdol Office and greet Ms. Youn-Ae Park. If you have any questions, please send your inquiries at

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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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