Category Archives: Pax Christi

Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival SCHEDULE!

Hello dear friends,

Today, I received notice of the official schedule.

http://peaceonearthfilmfestival.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=212&Itemid=9

Saturday, March 8, noon. Awesome spot.

But there’s more good news. The founder and director of the festival emailed me when he learned that a young activist from Jeju might be joining me at the festival AND that Pope Francis would be visiting S. Korea in August. Here is what he said,

“WOW Regis!!
 We certainly are excited that you and possibly one of the Young Koreans for The Ghosts of Jeju will be in attendance.
However, I am most excited that you have a screening to coincide with the Pope’s coming to South Korea. Let’s muster some powerful influence and support for the effort.”

So, if you are in or near Chicago, please, please do everything you can to attend the screening on March 8 at noon, and please encourage everyone you know to attend as well. This will do more than anything yet to bring attention to our dear friends in Gangjeong Village, and to the untold history of the U.S. in Korea.

And thanks to all of you who have contributed financially in recent days. You must know that wherever The Ghosts of Jeju goes, you go as well. Thank you for making it all possible.

Regis

The Ghosts of Jeju Needs Your Help to Carry On

January 29, 2014

It is somewhat embarrassing for me to ask for financial help to keep the story of Jeju and Gangjeong Village alive, but without your help I will not be able to continue.

Many of you contributed in 2012 which enabled the trip to Jeju and the making of The Ghosts of Jeju. Without your help, the film would never have happened. People around the world and in the U.S. would not know about this important story and the untold history of the U.S. in Korea from WWII to the present day.

Over the past year, I have been able to present the film to various groups and universities from Maine to California where it has been highly acclaimed. I have been able to do this by selling copies of the film and accepting donations along the way just to cover the costs of travel. Many good people have hosted me and passed me on to others. I thank them all for their help and friendship.

Just this week The Ghosts of Jeju was named an official selection of the Peace on Earth Film Festival in Chicago. After four days at the festival (March 6-9), Professor Bruce Cumings will host the film at the University of Chicago.

The exposure of this important story does not end in Chicago. The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space will screen the film at its annual meeting the following week in Santa Barbara, California.

The day before the meeting in Santa Barbara, the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa has invited me to present the film as part of an exhibit about the April 3rd Massacre on Jeju, though they are not able to defray travel expenses.

I have also been invited to present the film in L.A., San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Taos, and Austin that I would like to do immediately after the Global Network meeting.

Beginning with the Peace on Earth Film Festival and continuing on to the West Coast, the Untold History of the United States in Korea and the ongoing military march to dominate the planet will receive the greatest exposure to date and significantly amplify the voices of Gangjeong and peace activists all over the world, but without your help I will not be able to go to Chicago or to begin this tour.

Readers of my emails and blog know that Pope Francis will visit South Korea in August. At the request of the people of Gangjeong and Jeju, I wrote a letter to Pope Francis and sent him a copy of The Ghosts of Jeju. Right now, there is no more important place in the world for Pope Francis to go to promote peace on earth than Jeju, The Island of World Peace. A visit by the Pope would galvanize the international peace movement and attract the attention of the international media that up until now have ignored the situation on Jeju and the anti-base movement world-wide.

I have exhausted my savings making the film and presenting it, and must turn to you for help to keep this important story alive. Please do what you can.

You can contribute in one of three ways:

  • Checks made out to   Regis Tremblay

209 River Rd – Woolwich, Maine 04579

 

Or online

 

In the Special Purpose box for your donation, type in “Ghosts of Jeju.” Your contribution will be tax deductible.

or

  • you can purchase a copy of the film, here:

www.theghostsofjeju.net

Your financial contributions will make a significant difference in the world-wide struggle against war, militarism, the desecration of the environment, and the abuse of human rights.

My very deep and sincere thanks for your continuing interest and support,

Regis

 

 

Korean Sister Stella Soh Indicted

For the first time in the 200 year Korean Catholic history, a Korean nun has been indicted for her role in the peaceful, non-violent protest against the construction of the naval base on Jeju Island that will accommodate the U.S. “pivot to Asia.”

Korean sistersToday, many sisters from Jeju and the mainland came to witness the trial of Sister Stella Soh who has been going to Gangjeong Village to protest whenever she has time and money.

Catholic priests and nuns from Jeju and the mainland have been protesting daily for seven years along with the people of Gangjeong Village and activists from around the world.

I had the privilege and honor to meet Sister Stella while I was there in September of 2012. We had been seated together for dinner on the evening before Sister Stella would return home to Seoul when she asked if I would interview her. With darkness approaching, she positioned herself in front of a fire pit and let it rip without me even asking her a question.

This interview appears in my documentary The Ghosts of Jeju and has been seen now by hundreds of people in the U.S. and in more than a dozen countries around the world. Sister Stella’s sincerity, honesty, and blunt remarks about U.S. imperialism have moved all who have seen the film.

She will undoubtedly be fined a large amount of money as have the more than 600 peace activists who have already been arrested, and quite possibly she will serve time in jail.

Here is that interview again.

West Coast Tour

Greetings from rainy Seattle, the next to last stop on this fantastic West Coast Tour with
The Ghosts of Jeju!

Tonight it will be screened at the University of Seattle, a Jesuit University, sponsored by the Asian Studies Department and the Korean Student Union. Tomorrow it will be screened at “Meaningful Movies” in Seattle sponsored by the local chapter of Veterans for Peace.

On Saturday, Paula returns home and I fly to Minneapolis where I will screen it at the University of Minnesota, and on Sunday at a local theater. These final two screenings are being sponsored by the University, the Korean Quarterly Newspaper, The Korean Forum, Mothers Against Military Madness, and the Veterans for Peace.

My hosts in Minneapolis will be two of my best friends from our Carmelite Seminary high school and college years. So, the trip will end on a wonderful note.

I fly back home to Maine on Monday.

This trip which began in San Francisco, continued to Santa Rosa, then Portland and Chehalis Washington has been exceptional in many respects. First and foremost, the film has been widely acclaimed by all. Many have purchased a copy to continue amplifying the “voices of Gangjeong” in churches, libraries, and activist groups.

The response is the same everywhere: anger, shame at what their country has done and is doing around the world, and disillusionment. But always, they are inspired by the indomitable spirit of the people of Gangjeong Village in the face of overwhelming odds. They stand, clap and cheer before engaging in a spirited Q&A and discussion session. Always, people ask what they can do. Some are even planning to go to Gangjeong. But, most purchase a copy of the film and promise to spread the world.

Along the way, Paula and I have met many wonderful activists who have hosted us, shared their lives with us, and inspired us with their commitment to end wars and work for peace.

Finally, it has been a fantastic vacation for Paula and me. This is Paula’s first trip to the West Coast so we have been seeing the sights. Paula has taken hundreds and hundreds of pictures of all the new plants, trees and vegetation. Being a professional gardener, this was a very exciting part of the trip. We had to visit the various botanical gardens, conservatories and the magnificent public parks such as Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

I have learned that there are scores of people everywhere who are working to end war and work for peace and justice in the world and this is reassuring. People “get it,” and are working to abolish the dark forces that are threatening our lives and the planet.

It is also gratifying to know that The Ghosts of Jeju is playing a significant role in the peace movement….and the environmental and human rights movements as well. As a result, I will be planning more tours to other parts of the country in 2014 and am now preparing a study/discussion guide to accompany the film.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support. Without you The Ghosts of Jeju would not have happened.

With deep respect, profound gratitude, and in solidarity,

Regis

 

Regis Tremblay

Independent Filmmaker

209 River Rd.
Woolwich, Maine 04579
207-400-4362

Ghosts of Jeju: The History Behind The Resistance

https://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2013/10/27/ghosts-jeju-history-behind-resistance-naval-base-koreas-island-peace

Ghosts of Jeju: The history behind the resistance to a naval base on Korea’s island of peace

By Martha Vickery, Korean Quarterly

October 27, 2013

When Maine-based filmmaker Regis Tremblay started digging into the history of the protest against the South Korean government’s construction of a naval base in the tiny village of Gangjeong on scenic Jeju Island, he interviewed Charles Hanley, former Associated Press reporter and co-author of the war crime expose Bridge at No Gun Ri, who told him “you have no idea the magnitude of the issues you are getting into here.”

And actually, Tremblay admitted, “I didn’t. I thought I was going to go to Korea and do a film on just another anti-base protest.”

Tremblay has filmed and produced his own TV film documentaries on a variety of environmental and social issues, including coverage of Maine’s Occupy Movement, and actions against the Tar Sands Pipeline. Covering the human interest side of a demonstration was not new to him.

He heard about the ongoing activities of villagers on Jeju Island from his friend Bruce Gagnon, who heads up the organization Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, and thought the issue was worthwhile.

The situation on Jeju Island, however, is far from just another demonstration against a military base, Tremblay soon found out. He did, as Hanley predicted, get much more than he bargained for. The film, The Ghosts of Jeju, is the product of a mind-bending, life-changing year of travel and research, and he is now promoting and touring with it.

The film is making the rounds of peace and justice organizations, particularly through the Veterans for Peace, whose experts are quoted in the film. There will be a screening in St. Paul, sponsored by the local chapter of Veterans for Peace, on November 9, and the filmmaker will go on to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington in the same trip.

The Jeju story takes in the historical oppression of the Jeju people, going back to before the Korean War, and details the military manipulations of the Korean and the U.S. government to position a base between China and Japan. It is also about an ancient and sustainable way of life and irreplaceable natural resources that are being literally dynamited out of existence to make way for U.S. military expansion, aided by Korea.

It has all the elements of a great epic drama —- the threat of environmental devastation, the loss of a traditional way of life, a fight by a small and determined group of ordinary people against huge geopolitical forces, the specter of peaceful non-violent resistance against the military machine —- except that it is all true.

In order to understand the tragedy of Jeju, Tremblay decided that the film must describe the history as well as the current situation of the people there. Like most Americans, he said, he knew little about the U.S.’s long military history in Korea, and the many detrimental effects of that influence on Koreans’ lives.

Fortunately, the Jeju Islanders have documented their modern history well; there is even a museum to help visitors interpret it. The film draws from its archives and other documentation.

With careful attention to detail and chronology, Tremblay lays out the case justifying the Gangjeong villagers’ fervent protest against yet another military oppression of their island, highlighting the role of the anti-base activists, including many Korean Catholic priests and nuns, ordinary Korean people, and activists from many other countries. He also explains the endangered marine life on rare coral reefs now being dredged out of existence, and the villagers’ simple and sustainable lifestyle that will be lost once the base is built.

The result is a persuasive film that is shocking and educating audiences in locations world wide. “American audiences are reacting with disillusionment, anger, and disbelief,” he said. “They cry. It has really been amazing.”

In August, the film was screened in Madison, Wisconsin for the Veterans for Peace conference. “About 60 people crammed into a small room, standing room only, and when it was over, we had to go right into the banquet.” There was so much buzz about it after the screening, and demand by others to see it, that they scheduled a second screening the next day.

Grassroots activists in this country and more than a dozen foreign countries have been spreading the film from one city to the next, Tremblay said. Gagnon took the film to the annual meeting of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space in Sweden this summer. From there, the international members brought the film back to their countries, which began an informal international distribution that is widening the film’s reach. Gagnon also went to Hawaii, the Philippines, and Australia with the film. In addition to the Vets for Peace chapters, the film has been distributed by some Christian activist groups, Quaker organizations, the womens’ activist group Code Pink, and others.

Some volunteers have committed to hosting multiple screenings. Tremblay said one activist in Ireland “has five different screenings scheduled, and one will be held when the Gangjeong mayor Dong Kyun Kang will be visiting there.”

Other more traditional routes of distribution have not been as fruitful. Tremblay said he has entered the film into 17 film festivals, but and it was accepted by only two. So far, he has found no commercial distributor for the film. For the time being, he said, he is powering down these more expensive methods, and concentrating on a person-to-person and group-to-group method. He will also appear this fall at several New England colleges, including Boston University and at an event held by the Korean student organization of Boston College, to which writer/activist Noam Chomsky has been invited.

Tremblay was still in the early stages of learning about Jeju history when he was on the island to film the protests in 2012. He described how he was told by several people how he would not really understand the history until he visited the “April 3 Museum,” which documents a massacre that took the lives of thousands of Jeju Islanders. The massacre occurred starting on that date in 1948, in response to an uprising of the people there, and the oppression and genocide continued in several incidents until 1950. The uprising was then characterized by the government as a Communist plot; it is now seen as simply a peasant rebellion.

The cruelty of that massacre, during which over 30,000 women, children, and elderly people were shot down and villages were burned, is seared into the cultural memory of that place. The leadership of the Korean military by the U.S. military at that time is documented in detail in the museum exhibits.

During his trip to Gangjeong village, he said, the atmosphere was informal and welcoming. He hung out with the activists and the people of the village who are farmers and fishermen. As a former Catholic priest, Tremblay was welcomed by the protesting priests there as one of their own. He was up close and personal with demonstrators, who are students, executives taking a leave of absence from their jobs, foreign activists of every stripe, journalists, elderly people, and many Christian and some Buddhist peace activists.

Certain American celebrity activists and writers have taken up the cause, including Gloria Steinem, writer Noam Chomsky, and film director Oliver Stone. Tremblay was able to interview Stone for the film. He took a lot of video documenting the struggles and brave persistence of the demonstrators, some of whom have been on the site for years. The story was compelling on its own, but he still did not have a clear idea of the agenda behind the present predicament.

“The elders of the village would have me to their homes, or would come out at night and they’d bring makkoli and beer, at 10 or 11 o’clock at night. And I didn’t realize it then —- because I only went to the museum on my way off the island —- that these people were survivors of that massacre. They are in their 70s and 80s now.”

His trip to the artistically-striking April 3rd (Sa-sam or 4-3) Museum, in the company of artist Gil-chun Koh, who created sculptural installations there depicting the dead and dying Jeju people, was illuminating for the filmmaker. “I went in there and started reading the stuff on the walls and watching a couple of the videos they had, and it was a chronological story of what the Americans had done, even what their names were.” The Jeju Islanders’ reality became clearer to him, he said. “I started getting angry, and then started getting very emotional.”

During the flight on the way home, he said “I felt very conflicted,” he said. He suddenly did not know how to tell the story of the protest apart from its historical context, and he knew that integrating the complex history of the place would be difficult to do in the film. He talked to author and journalist Charles Hanley at that time, as well as to Korean history scholar and author Bruce Cumings. “I went down to the National Archives, and found a lot of information, and some horrible pictures of what happened there. They are not even classified any more. And I then

started to realize I had an idea how I was going to tell it.”

The filmmaker also requested information from the museum’s curator through Gil-chun Koh. “The curator ended up sending me eight DVDs of footage and photographs and interviews with survivors of the massacre,” he said. Some of that footage is included in the film.

In addition to the modern history of Jeju Island, the film also delves into the geopolitical importance of that area between China and Japan, where the U.S. could potentially cut off China’s oil shipments in a war. It discusses evidence that the U.S. has decided to dominate space in violation of international law; using the type of missiles carried by the submarines to be docked at the Jeju base.

It also talks about the irony of Jeju Island’s recent designation as an “Island of Peace” by the Korean government, in light of the government’s complete reversal of its pledge to keep Jeju peaceful, negated by the building of a naval installation there.

Bruce Gagnon, who lives nearby in Maine, came in towards the end of the editing. “At that point, it was going to end on a very depressing note, and he said ‘you cannot do that. You have got to leave the audience with some sense of hope and inspiration.’ I knew he was right.”

He ultimately used some photos of a colorful “Grand March for Peace” in Jeju during which supporters walked around the whole island. For music, he ended with an inspiring alleluia chorus from a piece he heard at a concert at the nearby Bowdoin College. “It was amazing how it all came together.”

Tremblay is always asked if the Jeju site can be saved from development as a naval base. The harbor has now been dredged, and the famous landmark Gangjeong Rock has been dynamited to make way for submarine bays. “At this point, my answer is no,” the filmmaker said. “The base is going to be constructed, and the villagers are going to have to move, and they are going to build housing for 8,000 marines, which will envelop the village.”

In discussions after a screening, the filmmaker said, people often ask what they can do. “My response is that with knowledge comes responsibility. And that the least we can do is to amplify the voices of the people of Gangjeong village, and that people can share the film with as many people as they can reach out to. And that is exactly what I see happening now with the film,” he said.

Additionally, the villagers still need support for their efforts to defend their civil rights, Tremblay reflected, and it helps them to know there is support coming from the outside. “They are so beaten down and depressed now, that any support from outside gives them a real boost of energy,” he said.

Looking at the issue more broadly, Tremblay said “If you or I or maybe this film can do anything, it may be to slow down or stop this militarism and the advance of the empire. People get that. That is my real hope. And this film is not going to be one of these one-and-done type feature films, where people see it and forget about it. This thing has taken on a life of its own. It is somehow connecting.”

© 2013 Korean Quarterly

Ghosts of Jeju documentary film

11/09/2013 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

 

The Ghosts of Jeju – Update

Disc_TemplatesPeople the world over like The Ghosts of Jeju, yet 10 of 13 film festivals have rejected it. Currently, only the Berkeley Film Festival and the Portland, Maine Film Festival have accepted it.

To date, the film has been screened in several states, and over a dozen countries, all with wonderful reviews. Screenings are now being organized in Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Portland, OR, and Seattle where I will present the film. Other screenings are in the planning stages for Charlottesville, VA, Chicago, and Daytona Beach, Fl.

So, while mainstream outlets have shown no interest in the documentary, peace and justice organizations and veterans groups are spreading it far and wide.

006 Fr. Mun et al main gateThe latest news from Jeju indicates that construction of the base continues at a frantic pace, and construction of a new U.S. Naval Operations Headquarters in Busan is underway. Without fail, the activists and Catholic priests and nuns block the gates seven days a week and where Catholic mass is celebrated daily at 11 am.

Three activists are still serving lengthy jail sentences among them Professor Yang, the noted Korean film critic who was visited by Oliver Stone when he visited Jeju in August.

My plea in The Ghosts of Jeju was that with knowledge comes responsibility, and the least all of us can do is to amplify their voices. In addition to letter-writing, sending donations to Gangjeong Village, and going there in person, one of the best ways is to use The Ghosts of Jeju to tell their story.

003 Tetrapods crane wallThe Ghosts of jeju will not stop the construction of this base which will destroy Gangjeong, a 400 yr old farming and fishing village, but perhaps it is playing a small role in opposing the military advance of the United States and the march towards full-spectrum dominance of the planet.

Mainers Speak Out Against Bombing Syria

I made this video at the protest in Monument Square in downtown Portland, Maine. I only talked to two people who were ambivalent about whether America should do anything in Syria. This is my reply to Portland Press Herald columnist, Bill Nemitz, who made it seem like everyone there backed Obama:

I usually appreciate most of your writings, but this time you are just another in the mainstream media beating the drums of war. I was there yesterday and interviewed on camera far more people than you did, and their stories are quite a bit different. They don’t want perpetual war, they don’t want violence, they are sick and tired of the fear the government and military industrial complex has been using on the American people.

Everyone I interviewed wanted peace and demanded a political solution to these conflicts the world over. Everyone I interviewed was opposed to the U.S. assuming the role of the planet’s sheriff. And just about everyone knew that this was, as it always has been in all of the U.S. conflicts, all about oil and extracting resources with the use of force when the local indigenous people object. The presidents and politicians talk about “national interests” not national defense. America’s national interests are the resources the greedy corporations need to make money. All of those people in Monument Squareknow that endless war-making and an economy based on consumption are not sustainable. And all of those people know that we no longer have a government that represents the people. It has been taken over by corporate interests and the oligarchy.

Finally Bill, an honest look at the world, at least since European exploration and imperialism since the 15th century, demonstrates that the white, exceptionalist Europeans have always seen the world’s resources as theirs to claim, all the while committing genocide of the native peoples whom they considered to be evil, less than human, and savages. When those explorers came to this country, the massacred native Americans and stole their ancestral lands.

The U.S. has engaged in more than 180 conflicts around the world since 1798…all for control of resources that were claimed for national interests. In all of those conflicts spanning two centuries, the U.S. has killed untold MILLIONS of innocent indigenous people by  wholesale massacres and indiscriminate bombing. Everyone I interviewed is outraged at the duplicity of the U.S. in holding anyone accountable for human rights violations and war crimes when this country has committed far worse atrocities over the span of more than 200 years!

The U.S. objecting to the use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction is the most disingenuous lie of all, for in our name, the U.S. has used Agent Orange, napalm, white phosphorous and the most terrifying weapon of mass destruction, the atomic bomb….not once, but twice.

So, Bill, this time you missed something, right in step with the rest of the corporate-owned media. You missed the untold history of this country, and the evil that continues to be done in our name.

As in the run up to each and every foreign war the U.S. has fought, we have been lied to and frightened into believing that America is at risk, our lives and precious lifestyles will be harmed, and the lie of the great American Way of Life will be exposed.

The endless war on terror and the global imperial advance of the U.S. guarantees perpetual war. Most, if not all, of the people in Monument Square and the millions of Americans and people around the world out protesting this week against another American military intervention know this. And you missed it… the real story.

Here’s the link to his irresponsible bit of reporting, if anyone cares to read it:

http://www.pressherald.com/politics/syrian-images-hang-over-peace-protest_2013-09-01.html

Testimonial From Germany

Website Flier-small

“I saw your film, The Ghosts of Jeju – thank you for this impressive film!
I visited Jeju first in 1994 and I was in Gangjeong in 2010, already before the construction work started, SONG Kang-Ho and CHOI Sung-Hee are  friends.
Your film really connects very well the history starting from the time of colonialism and all the American influences in Korea afterwards, the facts about the Jeju massacre which is important to understand the reactions of Jeju people…..   and your film really is a cry for peace and lesser militarism in this world! Thank you for this film!
A friend proposed to show the film eventually in a cinema in Berlin to the public.
And I will try to write a film critic for a small magazine called “Korea-Info” published for interested church people in Germany.”

In deep solidarity
Gisela – Stuttgart, Germany