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Nodutdol . e*News
February 2010

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Updates and Announcements

Nodutdol is now accepting applications for Korea Education and Exposure Program 2010.

The mission of this annual summer program is to increase awareness of and strengthen the global movement for peace and justice on the Korean peninsula. Through building relationships and communities, KEEP seeks to broaden our understanding of and participation in the liberation struggles and unification of the Korean people. KEEP was created in 1994 by activists in NYC, LA, and Seoul who wanted to help build solidarity and learn from the struggles for peace, social justice, and unification taking place in Korea. We felt that these types of experiences are an important step toward understanding the history and role of Koreans here in the United States. We continue to hope that such knowledge will be a catalyst for a new generation of progressive activism and community leadership. For more information and to apply for KEEP, please email us at .

*To read about KEEP 2008 trip through the group blog:
*Please visit our Facebook page and become a fan of KEEP.
*Deadline for applications is March 15, 2010.

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Echoes of the “Forgotten War” in Afghanistan

By Hyun Lee and Sukjong Hong

When President Obama announced his decision in December 2009 to send additional troops to Afghanistan, arguing that more troops would end the war faster, he must have forgotten about the lessons of the Korean War. In 1950, when President Harry Truman deployed U.S. troops to Korea, he too vowed to “bring the war to a speedy and successful conclusion.” Yet sixty years later, the United States still maintains 28,000 troops and close to one hundred military bases and installations in Korea.

As long as the Pentagon and the military establishment remains at the helm directing U.S. foreign policy, it is clear that war isn’t a tactic of last resort; it is practically a way of life. Afghanistan now and 1950s Korea are obviously not the same. But looking at U.S. conduct in the two countries, it’s not too difficult to see some clear parallels, and to see that not much has changed when it comes to rationalizing US wars at home.

Why do they fight?

“Americans died in Korea,” says historian Bruce Cumings, “because their commanders had no idea who they were fighting.”1 Architects of the U.S. military were puzzled by the zeal of the army from the North and the resistance to the United States in the South. Then Secretary of State Dulles wondered why the North Koreans were “fighting and dying, and indeed ruining the whole country, to the end that Russia may achieve its Czarist ambitions.”2 Unable to find any other explanation, the US attributed this dedication to Soviet and Chinese Communist influence. But this was a vast underestimation of the fact that after 35 years of brutal colonial rule by the Japanese, the majority of the Korean people were united in a desire for national independence.

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Abuses in adoptions from S. Korea

By Jane Jeong Trenka | published November 6, 2009

This past May, South Korea — renowned within adoption circles for its transparent and above-board practices — was taken to task by the committee on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. The committee said there is “a possibility of abuse” in intercountry adoptions from South Korea.

On Nov. 10, 2009, a coalition of adopted Koreans, unwed Korean mothers, and our allies will go to the South Korean parliament and confirm that yes, abuses have occurred, and are still occurring.

Our bill written to change the laws that have allowed these abuses to occur is sponsored by Rep. Choi Young-Hee (Democratic Party) and will be introduced in the public hearing. We will reveal both what is wrong with the current law, and how we propose to fix it.

The following is the text of my speech that I will give to lawmakers, Korean citizens, and concerned parties living and operating in Korea on the human rights abuses that have occurred as a result of the adoption law.

Speech to be given by Jane Jeong Trenka at the National Assembly Nov. 10. 2009, on the adoption law revision bill by TRACK, ASK, KoRoot, unwed moms, and Gonggam lawyers.

My thanks to Rep. Choi Young-hee for the great honor of participating on this historic occasion, the first time that adoptees and single mothers have proposed an entirely new bill to the National Assembly to revise South Korea’s adoption law. I also wish to acknowledge Choi Young-hee’s staff, who have met with us regularly, as well as the members of the coalition: the Gonggam Public Interest Lawyers, the single mothers’ group Miss Mamma Mia, KoRoot, ASK, and TRACK.

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New Member Introduction: Sharon Chung

Nodutdol welcomes our newest member Sharon Chung who recently moved from Seattle, Washington. Welcome Sharon!

Sharon Chung is a second generation queerean, who grew up in the suburbs of LA and spent her teenage years living outside of Sacramento, CA. Sharon lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for five years before she moved to Seattle, Washington in 2002 and obtained a Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington in 2004. Sharon has been working as a medical social worker in the Emergency Department for the past three years and enjoys what she does. Sharon moved to NYC in this past November to continue her development as a medical social worker and to get involved with Nodutdol because of its awesome members, language classes, EEP program and NDD's community activism on both local and global levels.

NDD members got to know Sharon at the US Social Forum in June 2007 when we joined our ally organization Sahngnoksoo from Seattle, and converged in Atlanta as members of Korean Americans against War and Neoliberalism (KAWAN). Sharon was a member of Sahngnoksoo from its inception and served on the steering committee. Sahngnoksoo was Sharon’s first Korean community space that was not based out of church or religion and was inclusive and supportive of her queer identity. Additionally, SNS opened Sharon’s eyes and heart to the political and social struggles of Koreans living in Korea and abroad, e.g. Zainichi, and how Koreans living in the US can play an integral part of the people's struggles in Korea and internationally, as well as struggles of marginalized Koreans living in the US, e.g. adoptees, LGBTQ folks, immigrants and multi-racial folks. One of the things she misses most about Seattle is SNS, its presence in the Pacific Northwest, and the SNS members.

She finds peace and solace in the rural outdoors. Sharon believes in the power of the people and radical activism, though finds it harder to employ radical activism on a daily basis.

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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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