|Jeju Island Catholic Bishop Kang U-Il|
|The overflow crowd outside of the grand opening of the St. Francis Peace Center in Gangjeong village|
Sung-Hee Choi reports from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea:
[Sept. 5] Bishop Kang U-Il says, “The real struggle starts from now on.”
On a gently rainy day, about 500 priests, sisters, laymen, villagers,
and peace activists gathered to celebrate the opening of the St. Francis
Peace Center in the village. The event organizers had expected about
The four story building, of which the idea was first
initiated by Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon and Bishop Kang U-il, is hoped to be
‘an outpost for the peace of Northeast Asia’ (Bishop Kang)
On the day, the words by Bishop Kang, the Board President of the Center, was resolute, touching and inspiring.
The Jeju Sori
, a local media, excerpted some of his long speech.
Thanks to it, here I also translate some of his words as well.
“There are people who ask whether the struggle has finished with the
naval base [that will port US warships aimed at China] being almost completed. No. It has not finished. The real
struggle starts from now on.”
“In April 2005, I expressed my
opinions, for the first time, against naval base construction. There are
five reasons following the public teachings."
is disaster. It cannot be a solution between nations. It is because
such thing did not happen in the past and would not happen in the
"Secondly, when a state power takes arms force,
it can be justified and get citizens’ sympathy only by strict
conditions. The mobilization of state power against the struggle in
opposition to the Gangjeong naval base can never be a self-defense. “
“Thirdly, modern arms are weapons of massive mankind-killing. The increment of arms cannot be connected to peace."
“Fourthly, we are dumping tremendous budgets into arms production. What if it is used for the nation progress, for the poor..?”
“Lastly, why there should be a military base in Jeju, the far-most
from the Korean truce line and the tainted by the wounds of the April
3rd incident? Jeju is the Peace Island designated by the government.
The relationship between any military base and the Peace Island is like
water and oil."
“With the construction of the naval base, the death of the April 3rd spirits has become meaningless…”
“Sixty-seven years ago, more than 30,000 people, more than 10% of the
whole population of the Jeju Island people lost their lives for the
April 3rd incident. [A massacre of Jeju peasants directed by the US military.] They were mostly innocent Island people nothing to
do with ideology conflicts. They died without knowing the reasons of
“There are people who say that there is no more
need of struggle since the Gangjeong base has been almost completed. No,
the real struggle starts from now on.”
“The people we counter is
not those who covered the Gureombi Rock with concrete. Nor the youths
who come to the naval base to fulfill their duty for national defense.
It is those who consider war positively.”
“It is the struggle
against those who justify war preparation disguising their violent
spirit with the logic of national security. On any basis, war is not