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September 2010

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Saturday, September 11 - Join Nodutdol at the Emergency Mobilization Against Racism and Anti-Islamic Bigotry

On September 11 the Tea Party and its racist and right wing allies plan to again demonstrate at the World Trade Center site. For months these bigots have attempted to whip up hysteria against a proposed Islamic masjid (mosque) and community center several blocks from the WTC. On September 11 right wing, Christian fundamentalist plan a “Burn the Quran” day at a Florida Masjid. These same forces targeting masjids around the country are waging a national hate campaign against all people of color and immigrants.

We need to stand up against these racist voices. We call on all working people, youth, students, immigrants, trade unionist, community and human rights activists – ALL those opposed to racism and bigotry - to stand on that day in defense of our Muslim sisters and brothers.

Say NO to Racism on Saturday, September 11.
Demonstration in support of the Park 51 Islamic community center
Time - 2 to 4 pm
Location - 51 Park Place

Nodutdol is happy to announce that registration for 2010 Fall Korean language classes is now open. From September 21 to November 31, Nodutdol will be offering three levels of Korean classes- Introductory I and Intermediate I and II.

The following are the schedule and descriptions for the classes. If you are interested, please contact us at or 718-335-0419.

9/21/10 to 11/30/10 (10 weeks)
Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
No experience in Korean Language required. Learning from Korean alphabet (han’gul), this class introduces students to the fundamentals of Korean language such as basic grammar, the vocabulary for basic conversation, reading, and writing. Students will practice simple communication skills such as greeting,numbers, ordering food, and asking basic questions.

9/21/10 to 11/30/10 (10 weeks)
Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
Students with about 7-8 months of prior Korean language instruction. Intermediate levels requires knowledge of basic Korean including understanding of irregular verbs, the past and future tenses, honorifics, and proper speech forms and corresponding level of Korean proficiency to conduct basic social activities. This course explores additional irregular verbs, conjunctions, and speech styles, along with various cultural contexts. Students will be able to expand their vocabulary, conversational skills, and written communication. Students will be encouraged to write and discuss given topics.

9/21/10 to 11/30/10 (10 weeks)
Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
Students with 1+ years of prior Korean language instruction. Intermediate II will follow similar course outline as Intermediate I but with more advanced level lessons and flexibility to accommodate students with advanced levels of Korean knowledge.

+ 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 people and students)
You can make a payment on-line at

Nodutdol takes an informal approach that emphasizes the language and vocabulary of daily life. Nodutdol considers learning and practicing the Korean language as an important part of shaping and asserting our identity as Koreans in an English-dominant society. People who do not identify as Korean are equally welcome to join us, learn with us, and share their perspectives and experiences.

우리 같이 한국어를 배웁시다! Let’s learn Korean together! Please spread the word!

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Postcards from KEEP

On August 3rd, sixteen Korean Americans embarked on a journey, as part of Nodutdol’s Korea Education and Exposure Program (KEEP), to learn about the people’s movement in South Korea. We sought to connect to our ‘homeland’ in a meaningful way, beyond simple birth right. This was the largest group of KEEP since its inception in 1995, with thirteen participants and three coordinators. We represented a diverse spectrum of the Korean community in the United States, with biracial Koreans and adoptees, and the largest contingent of LGBTQ Koreans in KEEP history. We traveled throughout South Korea, visited important historic sites like Gwangju and Jirisan, farmed in Naju and met with residents of a village fighting to keep a naval base off their shores in Jejudo. In Seoul, we learned about the struggles of the adoptee community and unmarried mothers in Korea, about the crackdowns under Lee Myung Bak against migrant laborers and the administration’s attack on the media in many forms. We learned from people fighting forced eviction due to redevelopment and the poverty neoliberal policies have left behind. While it is impossible to capture the entirety of our two week trip, here are a few snapshots from various KEEPers. There will be fuller report backs in New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Bay Area and Los Angeles in the coming months so be sure to come out to hear more of our stories!

Migrant Trade Union -- by Mark Roh Beyersdorf 
When we arrived for a site visit with the Migrants’ Trade Union (MTU), we were stunned to find Michele, MTU’s President, waiting for us.  Just the night before, Michele had been hospitalized after a ten-day hunger strike.  But he was sitting right there waiting for us. 

Over the next couple hours, a conversation unfolded that captivated our delegation.  As Korean Americans of immigrant backgrounds, we were moved by the challenges the migrants face as they navigate a virulently anti-migrant government and society.  As a predominantly LGBT delegation, we were moved by Michele’s courage as an openly transgender leader in the Korean movement.  As American people of color, we were moved by MTU’s battles to create spaces for immigrant communities in a society that imagines itself to be racially pure.

As Yul-San Liem, KEEP co-coordinator, reflected in our evaluation later that day, “The introduction of different races is going to change the way Korea looks.  It’s going to change the way the movement organizes.  It’s going to change Korean nationalism.”  Indeed, with the growing visibility of mixed-race Koreans, migrant brides, migrant workers, and other marginalized racial minorities in Korea, Korea is at a moment in which its ideology of “racial purity” is being shaken to the core.  MTU’s struggles showed us just how painful and difficult the daily labor of challenging that ideology can be.

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by Hyun Lee

Koreans remember 1948 as the year when the people of Jeju Island rose up against the Syngman Rhee puppet regime to demand a unified Korea, and were severely punished by the South Korean military and rightist paramilitary gangs, which massacred 40,000 people as the U.S. military stood watching. For Palestinians, it was the year of the “Nakba” (catastrophe) when 700,000 people were massacred or driven off their land by rightist Jewish armies before they declared the state of Israel on Palestinian land. “Our grandfather was the youngest of eight children,” remember Sahar and Nadeen, third generation Palestinian refugees in Chicago, “A Zionist gang came to their village. He and his siblings were lined up, and they shot their father in the head in front of everyone. They said ‘You have to leave now,’ so they walked all the way to Jordan.”

Today, Korea is still divided with ten million separated families on both sides, and Palestine remains under occupation by a Zionist government that has constructed an apartheid state. This summer, I traveled to Palestine to understand the Palestinian people’s struggle and find inspiration in their continued fight for liberation after so many years of occupation. These are snapshots of Palestinian struggles I gathered on my trip.

Story of Sahar and Nadeen

Sahar and Nadeen’s mother’s family is from a village called Colonia in West Jerusalem. Their father’s family is from Ramle. In 1948, they heard rumors of massacres in nearby villages and were warned to leave immediately. Out of fear, they packed their belongings and walked to Jordan. There was no way of knowing then that they would never again see their home.

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Spotlight on Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea

The Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (ASCK) is a transnational organization of faculty, students, policy experts, and concerned individuals, who have joined together out of concern about current US policies toward the Korean peninsula. Founded in 2003, ASCK is committed to dialogue, cooperation, and the active pursuit of peace as the only solutions to current problems on the Korean peninsula and between the US and the two Koreas.  According to ASCK's mission statement, the group is "dedicated to the promotion of mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of Korea, both North and South."

In 2010, in collaboration with the National Campaign to End the Korean War, ASCK launched a three-year teaching initiative, timed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the as-yet un-ended Korean War.  Thus far, seventy university professors have signed on to teach at least one course that focuses significantly on the Korean War—in Europe, at universities like Cambridge and Leiden, and in North America, at universities like Berkeley, Columbia, Chicago, and Toronto. Although ASCK members hail from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, they are united in their aim of countering the overwhelming lack of historical consciousness about “the Forgotten War” and its ramifications.   ASCK members believe fostering of accurate, historically informed analyses about Korea not only within the community of scholars but also among policy-makers and the general public is critical to their role as educators.  

“Knowledge about how Korea came to be divided after World War II, and recognition of the profound costs, both past and present, of war and militarization in Korea should not be irrelevant to formulating US policy toward Korea,” says Christine Hong, professor of Asian Pacific American and Pacific Rim Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a member of ASCK, “As educators, we feel an ethical responsibility to speak out against policies that increase tensions in Northeast Asia and that may lead to another catastrophic war in 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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