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October 2012

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KEEP 2012 Report Back

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The Korea Education and Exposure Program of Nodutdol will hold a NY report back on their trip this summer to the southern half of Korea - where they met with a range of progressive organizations and participated in the Jeju Island struggle against the construction of a naval base. Find out about the current state of the movement in Korea and what this could mean for activists and solidarity work here!

Saturday, Oct 20th, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th street
Room 5414
Light refreshments!

RSVP

(Re)connecting, Awakening, and Healing: A Reflection on KEEP 2012 by Sam Jung



Being occupied, forced to migrate, compelled to lose one’s language or adopt the culture of an occupied power, surviving war, prohibited from seeing one’s family or returning to your home town, never being told the history of how your family came to be here; these are some of the ways that Koreans/Korean Americans have come to know or not know ourselves, and these are some of the reasons why I embarked on my journey with KEEP 2012.

I used to believe in what many said when justifying their refusal to be open and vulnerable with new people or new experiences, “Some build walls not to keep people out, but to see who is willing to break them down.” Living as a young queer Korean/American man in diaspora, I quickly learned that my multiple, intersecting identities served more as liabilities than points of connection. I never found a home in Korean American community, and was never welcomed into one either. The pain, isolation, and anger that had come from the trauma within my family, and the Korean community at large had fortified my walls and made me tired. Here I was, a bastard of “the Forgotten War” going back to the land where my parents had come from and where I had only been once before, to search for something to fill the silences and heartbreak in the spaces between myself and my parents, the history I learned in school, and the stories (이야기) of loss denied to me, and the crevices between my own despair and empowerment. Who could have imagined that I would return to America so transformed?

The last time I had been to Korea was when I was 10, the air around Kimpo airport smelled like sweet potatoes and laundry detergent, and there were few high-rise apartments that dotted the Seoul skyline. This time around, at age 24, Incheon airport sparkled, the subway systems had built in wi-fi, and everyone was glued to their Samsung phones watching the 2012 London Olympics. Korea was different. The KEEP (Korea Exposure and Education Program) delegation met at the Sisters of Holy Cross church near Seoul’s city hall at the beginning of what we later learned was the start of the hottest heat wave ever to hit the nation. We were a small group, seven of us in total (some consider it a divine number), made up of a professor, an English language instructor, four young queer organizers, and a seasoned delegation leader. All of us were there for different reasons, but united by the journey we were all going to travel for the next two weeks together.

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Nodutdol Recent Activities

-GATHERING THE GRASSROOTS: The Frontline of Asian American Mobilization
Nodutdol tabled and spoke at a gathering of Asian American activists groups at the Museum of Chinese in America’s September 15th public event, and checked out the punk rock band, Kadena made up of Bayan USA folks.

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- September 16th - NDD held a joint study with Bayan USA and CAAAV on the ECONOMIC AND MILITARY ASPECTS OF US “PACIFIC PIVOT” , with Joseph Gerson of the AFSC presenting on the military reallignment and Bayan USA members presenting on the TPPA – the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), the multi-lateral trade agreement that has been called “NAFTA on steroids”. The NDD September general meeting on Sept. 22nd also centered on these issues. If you are interested in finding out more about these intertwined issues and what you can do, email nodutdol@googlegroups.com.


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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