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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A VIEW OF THE NORTH

Korea is on my mind alot these days as the Global Network prepares to hold our 17th annual space organizing conference in Seoul next April.

My dad was a Korean war veteran and he worked in the photo lab so he took lots of pictures during his time there. As a boy I spent many hours paging through his photo albums from Korea and Okinawa where he had been stationed during those years. The people, the architecture, and the war all were from far away and intrigued me to no end.

In recent years we have been lucky to make friends with people from South Korea. Before moving to Maine from Gainesville, Florida in 2003 we hosted an intern for six months from South Korea. This experience brought us closer to Korean culture. Then more recently we've been lucky enough to become close friends with Sung-Hee Choi who lived in New York for several years. Sung-Hee, as I've previously written, has just returned home to Inchon, South Korea and is now helping to organize the 2009 conference.

Since returning home Sung-Hee has thrown herself into various struggles in Korea and frequently sends me emails with many links and stories - particularly about resistance to U.S. military base expansion in her country.

From our Korean friends we have begun to get just a glimpse of the strong yearning of the Korean people for reunification of their people. Koreans long for the day when their brothers and sisters of the North and South will be united in peace and dignity.

The two pictures above are particularly moving for me as they were taken on December 8 after the first snow was celebrated by the children after school in Pyeongyang, the capital city of North Korea. At first view one might imagine the pictures were from South Korea because we have been so conditioned to view the people of North Korea as monsters or some other diabolical creatures. It's hard for westerners to see the North Koreans as "normal" people who experience joy, love their children, have dreams, and truly seek peace.

I saw this for myself years ago when I picked the forbidden fruit and went to Cuba for the first time. I was astounded by the beauty of the Cuban people and spent the next couple years after my first visit organizing trips for others in Florida to travel to Cuba to see for themselves.

It has long been my hope that someday I too will visit North Korea. I don't think it will happen during our trip in 2009 but maybe someday. But even more importantly, I can say that the peaceful reunification of the good people of North and South Korea must happen.

(View all the photos from North Korea by clicking on the link in the headline above. The photos were published by South Korea's Tongil news (means 'unification') and were taken by North Korean media, Uriminzokkiri (meaning 'our nation together').

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