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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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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Why Does Seoul Ban Another Korean-American Trying to Come Home?


ACTION ALERT: Email South Korean President Moon Jae-in to lift the ban on Korean-American peace activist Juyeon Rhee from entering the country

Juyeon Rhee, a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea’s (STIK) peace delegation to South Korea was blocked from boarding a Delta Airlines flight today on her way to South Korea.

At approximately 9:00 AM at the LaGuardia Airport in New York City, Rhee, the STIK peace delegation coordinator, was told by Delta Airlines that she could not board the plane. Last year, Rhee was blocked from entering South Korea by the previous right-wing administration of recently impeached and jailed Park Geun-hye. With the newly elected Moon Jae-in in office, Rhee and members of the peace delegation expected her ban to have been lifted.

Rhee said in response to being blocked from boarding the plane to South Korea:

This is how Korea's division impacts overseas Koreans. I was wrongly labeled as a 'threat to national security' by the previous Park Geun-hye administration with no explanation. The burden is now on me to prove that I pose no harm to South Korean society. I refuse to accept that as a democratic and fair process. The ban was wrongly imposed on me without any warning or explanation.

The STIK task force is calling for a rapid response by way of sending an email to current President Moon Jae-in to demand the ban on Korean American peace activist Juyeon Rhee be lifted immediately. 

Below is a sample email to the South Korean President and the Blue House composed by STIK. Feel free to modify according to your own views.

Send to:
president@president.go.kr
webmaster@president.go.kr
bcc: limwolsan@gmail.com
bcc: liem@bc.edu

In Subject Line put – Lift the Entry Ban on Juyeon Rhee Immediately

Sample Text

President Moon Jae-in
Blue House
Seoul, ROK

Re: Lift the Entry Ban on Juyeon Rhee Immediately

Dear President Moon Jae-in:

I am writing to strongly protest the ban imposed this morning on Ms Juyeon Rhee today at LaGuardia Airport, New York, preventing her from boarding her Delta flight to Incheon. The ban was imposed by South Korean officials. Juyeon Rhee is the coordinator for the Stop THAAD in Korea (STIK) peace delegation visiting your country and hosted by the National People’s Action to Stop the Deployment of THAAD in South Korea (NPA). The STIK delegation includes prominent peace activists Jill Stein, 2016 U.S. presidential candidate for the Green Party, USA, Medea Benjamin, founder of CODEPINK, Reece Chenault, National Coordinator for U.S. Labor Against the War, and Will Griffin, Veterans for Peace and STIK.

The delegation arrives with the endorsement of more than 80 U.S. and international organizations and 270 individuals including such widely respected peace advocates as Professor Noam Chomsky, author and social critic, Daniel Ellsberg, Women for Genuine Security member, Gwyn Kirk, Academy Award-winning director, Oliver Stone, religious scholar and public intellectual, Cornel West, and former U.S. State Department official and Army colonel, Ann Wright.

I am deeply troubled by the actions of your authorities to prevent Juyeon Rhee from entering your country especially in view of the welcome promise of your administration to seek peaceful and negotiated settlements to longstanding conflicts and to recommit the nation to open dialogue and respect for democratic processes. Ms Rhee has demonstrated a life-long commitment to the desire of all Koreans for a peaceful resolution to decades of conflict and to U.S. policies that respect the sovereignty of the Korean people and value equally the human needs of all Americans.

In the spirit of the candlelight revolution I urge you to fulfill your pledge to eradicate problems left over from the previous administration, champion democratic rights including freedom of expression without fear of reprisal, and immediately lift the travel ban imposed on Juyeon Rhee by the previous administration.

Sincerely,

Please be sure to include your affiliation with your signature and your email address, if possible.

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