VFP Delegation Arrives on Jeju Island
|Sacred Gureombi rock on Jeju Island before the Navy base destruction began|
I arrived on Jeju Island, South Korea at noon today as part of a Veterans For Peace (VFP) delegation I helped organize along with national board member Tarak Kauff. All together 12 VFP members from around the US have come on this delegation in order to stand in unity with the Gangjeong village struggle to oppose the Navy base being built here for US warships that will provocatively encircle China's coastline. After six days here our group will then head to Okinawa where we again will stand with people there opposing US bases and their expansion on that beleaguered island.
We had some concern that some VFP members might be turned away so we did not mention the Jeju trip publicly until we all safely arrived. Only one of our group had any difficulty but in the end everyone made it into the country.
Immediately upon arriving in the village we discovered that there were extended protests going on at the Navy base gate due to the fact that yesterday a woman got hit by a construction vehicle and had to be rushed to the hospital for an operation on her foot that was severed to the bone. In addition the police arrested two activists so Catholic priest Fr. Mun decided to go on a hunger strike until they were released from jail and stayed at the Navy base gate all through last night and all day today.
Upon arrival I quickly dumped my gear at the traditional Korean-style house where most of us are staying and made my way to the protest. Luckily I had the good sense to bring along my long underwear because it is very cold here and the wind was driving a very hard rain.
We will have a busy schedule while here that will include briefings from various activists and leaders of the Jeju protest. I'll try to report as best I can on what is happening and thankfully we have professional photographer Ellen Davidson with us to ensure that we get lots of visuals to share with people around the world.