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While in Gangjeong Village last September, I had the opportunity to interview over 20 villagers and activists who have been protesting the construction of that massive naval base in their tiny village to serve the needs of the U.S. “pivot to Asia” in order to check China.
As I am working hard to finish the feature-length documentary, Jeju: In the crosshairs of war, I’ve been reviewing hours of video, most of which will not be used. But, because all of it is of great value, I decided to create this series entitled, Gangjeong Village: Up Close and Personal to allow people to get to know these wonderful people on a personal level.
I hope that you are moved, as I was, by their perseverance against overwhelming force, their endurance, their peacefulness, and their joyful spirits.
First in the series is Fr. Mun Jeong Hyeon, the iconic 74 yr old priest who has been beaten, hospitalized and jailed for protesting the construction of the base. Fr. Mun is known as a “street father” because of his support for victims of human rights violations inflicted by state power. Ordained in 1966, he organized the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice in 1974 and opposed the dictatorship when the military carried out extrajudicial killings.
Fr. Mun is a true man of peace and has been at the forefront of protecting human rights in Korea. I hope you enjoy the series and this visit with my friend, Fr. Mun.
It is truly ironic and coincidental that one day after I posted part of an interview with Jeju Bishop Peter Kang saying the only way to ensure peace is to “diminish arms,” the NY Times reports that the U.S. is allowing S. Korea to use drones and to expand the range of their ballistic missiles.
At issue here are two fundamental premises: 1) that the Korean government is clearly not a sovereign nation, but a puppet of the U.S., and 2) that peace and national security can be maintained by another escalation of the arms race and the provocation of China, N. Korea, and Russia.
It is further proof of the real intent of the U.S. government, the U.S. military, and the military industrial complex to dominate and control the planet based on the doctrine of a Pax Americana whereby the sole superpower on the planet can ensure peace and prosperity through the military might.
First, here is a portion of my interview with Bishop Peter Kang of Jeju Island calling for an end to the arms race.
Now, the NY Times article which clearly proves the control of the Korean government by the U.S. and the intent to expand the arms race by “allowing” the Korean military the use of drones and to increase the range of its ballistic missiles to reach any point in N. Korea, but not China. That must be reassuring to both!
After spending nearly a month in S. Korea and three weeks in Gangjeong Village, the site of a massive naval base being constructed to accommodate Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” I can tell you this: Koreans, and I’m sure the rest of the world, categorically HATE America for engaging in a century of warfare, the killing of millions and millions of innocent people, and the arrogance of U.S. imperialism.
It was impossible to disagree with them and to find a plausible defense for my homeland. It is ironic – but maybe not – that the Korean and European people I met believe there has been a military coup in the U.S. since the assassination of JFK. They all believe that everything from Kennedy’s assassination right on up through 9/11 has been the work of the U.S. military and the military industrial complex. No one I met believes that 9/11 was the work of Muslim terrorists! They all believe it was a false flag event justifying the invasion of Iraq in order to gain control over the Middle East.
After the hope President Obama offered in his campaign four years ago, Koreans and the rest of the world know without a shade of doubt that it matters little who the president and Congress are. America’s actions to dominate land, sea, air and space through the use of military superiority are clear to everyone except most Americans.
I encourage you to watch Pax America, a film by Denis Delestrac, in which America’s generals and senior officers unabashedly state the intent to ensure peace through the use of overwhelming military power. This film, packed with startling facts, has been shown in theaters throughout the world, yet not here in the U.S. If you haven’t seen this film, please take the time to view it.
Many people here in America and around the world feel helpless and unable to “get their minds around it all,” but I believe there is still hope. Millions and millions of people on every continent understand what is going on and are rising up against the violation of human rights, the violation of civil rights, the destruction of the environment, and the killing of innocent people.
If, as some economists predict, the world is on the verge of economic collapse, I believe it will bring about the end to the evils of unrestrained capitalism and an end to the ever-expanding military budgets of nations around the world. They just will not be able to afford spending the majority of their resources on a never-ending arms race and war.
Just as Rome, the Soviet Union, and every other imperial nation collapsed because they could not afford enormous standing armies, so will America.
Therefore, it is imperative that Americans become informed and join with people around the world in demanding an end to war and an end to the evils of capitalism. To continue as we have been focusing on a myriad of single issues is to remain divided and therefore conquered. What is needed is a massive, people-powered, grassroots coalition of peace groups, environmental groups, Bradley Manning support groups, food activists, groups demanding an end to Citizens United, and, yes Occupy.
The root cause underlying all of these issues is the doctrine of Pax Americana and unrestrained capitalism, both of which are inherently evil and will not go without a massive, universal uprising and the collapse of the global economy.
To quote Leonard Cohen, “I love the country but I can’t stand the scene,” and Michael Moore, “I refuse to live in a country like this, and I’m not leaving.”
Tuesday, May 15h, 2012 will be remembered as day of infamy when LePage and the Republican controlled Legislators attacked the citizens of the State of Maine! On this day, voting along party lines, the Republicans eliminated vital healthcare for 20,000 Mainers…the poor, the sick, the elderly, and children.
There was an 11th hour rally that attempted to sway the Tea Party Republicans from approving the lord of the evil empire’s budget to devastate the most needy in our society while giving huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest among us, who neither wanted it nor asked for it.
I’m disheartened that the many advocacy groups still cannot come together to stage a massive and continuous occupation of the state house to scare the living daylights out of the elected officials who supposedly represent us. I can only hope that those Republican legislators return home to their small towns and face the wrath of their friends, neighbors and relatives whom they have abandoned and betrayed.
I gave the opening address at the March Against Fiscal Madness rally in the Maine State House on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. The rally was attended by over 100 concerned citizens protesting Governor LePage’s radical, right-wing assault on the middle class and the poor.
The clip opens with an original song by Morgana Warner Evans, a high school student from Topsham, Maine.
I just watched this most incredible speech by Vermont’s Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen or heard anything like it. He is publicly chastising Congress for it’s assault on the middle class.
If anyone is wondering what the Occupy Movement is all about, watch this speech which I believe ranks right up there with the greatest in American History.
On December 7, 2011, the Portland, Maine City Council will hold an open hearing on the future of the camp at Lincoln Park. The City deserves praise for not resorting to violence and threats in dealing with the people who have been camping in the park for two months. It seems that the city and the Portland police have respected the right of protestors to exercise free speech and have exercised understanding and patience while much of the rest of the country has resorted to violence and brutality on innocent citizens.
However, I believe the city has legitimate concerns about health and safety issues at the camp such as the danger of fire. Smoking and the use of propane heaters in proximity to bails of hay and straw surrounding tents is a tragedy waiting to happen. Concerns about cleanliness in the preparation of food is also another legitimate public health concern.
Serious discussion about the future of the encampment has been ongoing for two weeks and many of the occupiers are resigned to being evicted. Before it comes to that, it would be best if the occupiers would leave on their own and seek a compromise with the city to allow the dome, library, and an information tent in Lincoln Park as a focal point for the protest and a visible symbol of the movement.
Unfortunately, all of the attention by the media has been on the camps and violence while the core messages of corporate greed, political corruption, and the crimes committed by Wall St. and the banks have been ignored.
The fact that occupiers of the camp are mostly homeless people says more about the city’s homeless policy than it does about the Occupy movement. Most of the 99% live at home; we work, raise families and pay our bills. The park should be available as a focal point for the exercise of freedom of speech and public discourse on the state of the union.
Not everyone is talking about the camp. Here’s what some of Maine’s 99% had to say on Sunday in a strategy sessions looking to the future of the movement.
This compilation is an good example of what really creative people can do. It is awesome. Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, brutal police crackdowns on our own people, an angry white student and an angry African American lending their voices in protest to what is wrong in this country.
This is absolutely awesome. Please share widely. Mitchell is a frequent visitor to the camp in Portland, Maine with his parents Delina and Jay. I shot this today, Sunday, November 20, 2011. I can only wonder what his future will be like.
In yesterday’s blog about violence being a good thing, I expressed my surprise that the churches of America have been conspicuously absent from the Occupy Movement.
Today, I am calling on all churches, synagogues and mosques to file out of their pews and into the streets armed with their holy scriptures and join the Occupy Movement against social injustice, economic inequality, and the violation of our Constitutional Rights.
It is time to take their sermons into our public places now or risk becoming irrelevant in the greatest conservation this country has had in a generation. This goes way beyond gay rights, contraception, divorce and remarriage, Catholic vs Protestant vs Jew vs Muslim. Occupy is a fundamental expression of everything all Americans hold sacred: true democracy, freedom of expression, the freedom to peaceable assembly, the freedom to place our common grievances before the Government.
Church leaders have been condemning the violent persecution and oppression of peoples in far-off lands at the hands of brutal dictators. But, where are they when our own children attending universities are brutally attacked, beaten and sprayed with chemicals? Where are they when senior citizens are dragged off and arrested? Where are they when members of their own denominations are beaten on the streets of NY, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Oakland, and Chicago?
Where is the outrage coming from the pulpits of America at the crimes of Wall Street and the banks that have forced their own into poverty, foreclosures, and unemployment? Where is the outrage at a government that has become the pawns of corporate American?
Today, I call on every church, synagogue and mosque, not to open their doors to those camping out, but to get out there in the streets and public places and join in the demand for a better country, for social justice, for economic equality, and for a government that represents all of the people.