Missed a few weeks because of illness. Here’s the 10th edition of The Spirit of Gangjeong.
As fate would have it, my return to Jeju was derailed when I came down with “C Diff” two weeks before my August 4th departure. I was hospitalized for five days and was on antibiotics for two weeks. I lost a great deal of strength and the doctors would not permit me to travel. As of this date, I am feeling fine, but still get tired easily and don’t have much stamina.
Joyakgol, who accompanied me during the March tour of The Ghosts of Jeju beginning with the Chicago Peace On Earth Film Festival and screenings in California, did the final edit on the Korean translation and had the subtitles placed on the master. Joyakgol is a genius at marketing and promotion and created a press package that went to all of the media outlets in S. Korea. As I write this, The Ghosts of Jeju is being distributed throughout S. Korea and will soon be available on this website.
Because of this exposure, I was interviewed on August 8th by the English-language radio station in Seoul about my views on Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea next week, The Ghosts of Jeju, and my commitment and ties to the peaceful, non-violent struggle in Gangjeong.
Here is the link to that 14 minute interview that was slightly edited.
I also produced the following 22 minute video that I was to have presented at the Pan Island Peace Camp held in Gangjeong. I made the video because I thought it would be better than a talk with slides, and in the event that I was delayed or refused entry into S. Korea. Turns out, I wasn’t able to go anyway.
The video reveals the origins of U.S. Militarism dating back to the discovery of the Americas. It also makes clear what is behind militarism and why the U.S. has invaded other countries more than 300 times since 1798. The video explains why it is important to understand that it is NOT American presidents and the U.S. Congress that are behind wars, militarism and imperial domination, but the “shadow government” that has taken over our government.
My recent illness has not cancelled my return to Jeju, but only postponed it until early 2015 when I will travel from Hawaii, Okinawa, Jeju, Tiawan, and down to the Philippines to film my new documentary on the effects of U.S. militarism in the Pacific and the popular uprisings against it.
The struggle against the construction of that massive naval base by the peaceful, non-violent villagers of Gangjeong and their supporters has inspired all who have seen The Ghosts of Jeju because of their indomitable spirit, energy, and persistence in the face of insurmountable odds.
I believe the only hope we have of defeating the dark forces that would destroy us and our world is in the massive, peaceful, non-violent uprisings we are seeing all over the globe against Capitalism, greed, and the attempt to control the world through full-spectrum domination by the U.S. Military serving the needs of the big banks, multi and transnational corporations, the Military Industrial Complex, and the Oligarchy that have taken over our government and many governments of the world.
To repeat my closing remarks in The Ghosts of Jeju, “By going to Jeju, I found my own voice and realized that knowledge demands responsibility and action. With citizenship in this country comes a responsibility for its deeds. The least we can do is amplify the voices of Gangjeong.”
Today is Monday, March 24, 2014 and I’m in Tucson, Arizona. It has been many years since I’ve been here. Taught high school at Salpointe from 1975-81. Screening tonight at 6:30.
Tomorrow I go up to Phoenix until Friday. One screening at a library tomorrow evening. Will have a couple of days to rest and visit some old friends.
I’ve been on the road since March 4 when I flew to Chicago for the Peace on Earth Film Festival. Great experience, and Ghosts won a major award. Best Expose Documentary.
Joyakgol from Gangjeong Village joined me in Chicago. When the village heard about the film festival they wanted someone to come to Chicago. Money was raised to send Joyakgol and he has been traveling with me on the entire tour. His English is excellent and he is a charismatic and gifted guitarists, so he has added a great deal of energy to the tour. He’s become a great friend and traveling companion.
The film has been received enthusiastically everywhere: Fresno, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, Berkeley, LA (twice) and San Diego. One screening in LA was in Korea Town for over 100 Koreans and the other was at UCLA for the faculty and some grad students in the Korean Studies Department.
Had another great screening in San Diego hosted by the VFP…awesome group and very active.
Everywhere, people thanking me for making the film, especially Koreans. There have been several articles and radio interviews that have helped to spread the word in ways that have not happened before.
Ran out of copies of the film! Having Paul Michaud of Patracompany make another 50 and ship them over night for the remainder of the trip: Phoenix, Albuquerque, Taos, and then Austin, Texas. I’ll have four days in Austin to visit with my daughter Ashley and my grandson, Hayden, and younger son, Tanner. Haven’t seen Ashley and Hayden in two years. I think there will be a screening in Austin on April 3rd. I return home to Maine on April 4.
The only bad news to report is that my left knee (the bad one, surgically repaired twice) “popped” yesterday. Excruciating pain. Got some assistance from a sports trainer and am taking Aleve twice a day and Tylenol just to get me through until I can get home. Afraid the day has arrived that my last orthopedic surgeon said would mean a knee replacement.
The pain has subsided and inflammation going down….ok to walk, but can’t twist or making lifting motions. Joyakgol has been helping with my heavy equipment case and large suitcase. I have trouble even pulling them even though they are both roller types. Damn! Getting old isn’t much fun!
We’ve been having every group pose for pictures with the No Naval Base flags and the Pope Francis banner. Big hit everywhere. The above photo was with part of the large Korean community in LA.
The reaction to the film has been identical everywhere: shame, anger, tears….then thanks and they always ask, “what can we do?” Joyakgol brought a stack of pre-printed and pre-addressed postcards with Pope Francis. We ran out of those several stops ago.
Seems like nearly everyone has wanted a copy of the film and all promise to share it widely. I’ve given copies away to folks who can’t afford them and to students who all promise to share them. Along the way, I keep hearing from people that the film has been screened in cities all over the U.S. Amazing how it has taken on a life of its own with grassroots groups and activists.
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
- donations to the Global Network at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/Space4Peace
In the Special Purpose box for your donation, type in “Ghosts of Jeju.” Your contribution will be tax deductible.
- you can purchase a copy of the film, here:
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,
I continue to be amazed at the influence The Ghosts of Jeju is having around the world. Today, I received a request on behalf of the people of Gangjeong Village to send a copy of the film to Pope Francis, hoping that he will visit Gangjeong Village on his planned trip to South Korea in August. It seems that the peace activists in Gangjeong have engaged in a letter writing campaign directly to Pope Francis inviting him to Gangjeong.
Here is my letter to Pope Francis that will accompany a copy of the film. I would also encourage you to write to Pope Francis.
January 26, 2014
Your Holiness Pope Francis,
The people of Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea await your announced visit in August with great anticipation for they have been peacefully, and non-violently protesting the construction of a large naval base to accommodate the U.S. pivot to Asia.
For seven years, these farmers and fishermen, and their peace activist supporters from around the world, have been protesting seven days a week, 365 days a year. The Bishop of Jeju, Peter Kang, has supported the protest with his frequent presence, and by allowing his priests and nuns to participate.
Your Jesuit brothers in South Korea have been at the forefront of this struggle. Several have been arrested, fined, and imprisoned. During my stay there in September of 2012, I got to know them well, and I was pleased to see the Catholic Church and the Jesuit Fathers leading the struggle for peace and justice. And, busloads of Catholic nuns from all over South Korea regularly go to Gangjeong to protest and stand in solidarity with the villagers.
Daily mass is celebrated in front of the main gate to the base. Never before have I witnessed the sense of community shared by people of all faiths and backgrounds.
The struggle in Gangjeong Village is important for the Peace Movement around the world because everything is in focus there. These people are farmers and fishermen who will lose their livelihoods and their 500 year old village. They a protesting against the military and imperial expansion of the United States; they are protesting the occupation of their country by tens of thousands of American troops; they are protesting against the violation of human rights; and they are protesting against the desecration of a pristine ecosystem, home to several UNESCO world heritage sites.
Furthermore, in 2005, Jeju was declared “The Island of World Peace” because of the horrible massacres, at the hands of the U.S. Army in 1948, where as many as 60,000 men, women and children were murdered in a scorched earth campaign to wipe out opposition to the American occupation and the separation of the country at the 38th parallel. What followed during the Korean conflict was the carpet bombing and napalming of North Korea until there were no more targets left. It was the first time that the world would see the unrestrained violence inflicted upon indigenous people fighting for freedom, self-determination, and their basic human rights.
I went to Jeju in September of 2012 to make a documentary film. I thought it would be a short story about the anti-base protest, but what I learned there inspired me to make the enclosed feature-length film, The Ghosts of Jeju, which just recently was named an official selection of the Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival in March of this year.
The documentary has now been seen in more than a dozen countries, including Russia. It is being translated, by volunteers, into Korean, Russian, French, Japanese, and German because people who have seen it believe this story must be told.
The people of Jeju have asked me to send you a copy of the film in preparation for your visit to South Korea in hopes that you will visit Gangjeong Village to stand in solidarity with them. This film reveals the untold and hidden history of American involvement in Korea from the end of World War II to the present day. Most people in America and around the world, and most Korean people are not aware of this history, nor are they aware of the plans of the U.S. to raise tensions in Asia and to dominate by overwhelming military might.
Your Holiness, the entire world is looking to you as the most influential voice for the poor and for peace and justice around the world. A visit to Gangjeong will give hope to people everywhere who are opposing war, militarism, and the abuse of human rights.
Respectfully and with profound hope and respect for your papacy,
Pax Tibi Productions
209 River Rd.
Woolwich, Maine 04579