Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Village versus Empire


I had an email this morning from a South African filmmaker by the name of Mark Kaplan who has created a masterpiece called 'Village versus Empire'.  The film is just recently out and Kaplan is working hard to increase international viewership of his important story about Jeju Island, South Korea. He's happy to hear that anyone in Bath, Maine is interested since the ships built here are being ported in the place that inspired him to create this film.

Jeju Island born shaman, artist, and performer Dohee Lee now lives in the San Francisco-Bay area.  Kaplan has Lee take us deeply into the undercurrents, suffering, history, culture, and determination of the people as they face the results of Washington's demand that South Korea build a Navy base in Gangjeong village.

We are going to show this artistic documentary on Friday, October 20 here in the Midcoast as part of our annual Maine Peace Walk.  I'm now exploring where it can be shown - ideally it should be viewed on a big screen.  We'll see what comes up.

Anyone that watches this film will have a very different picture of the Korean people and the US arrogant destruction of a village for its own aggressive Naval outpost.

The people of Gangjeong village have been struggling for over 10 years to stop the base and now that it is built, and receiving Pentagon warships, they remain determined to fight against any war with China or Russia and to resolutely defend their culture in the presence of this manifestation of the war machine.

Dohee Lee's sharing of the story of Jeju is both sorrowful and liberating.  She cuts to the bone and then helps us find our souls by looking at the past, the present and the future.

The struggle in the village won't die - anyone coming to the Navy base will be touched by the power of the peaceful and joyful people who defend nature and their independence.  Their ceremony is living and protecting life.

Bruce

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