Category Archives: The Ghosts of Jeju

Jeju Island 2015: Where it All Began

Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island, South Korea. August 15, 2015. Three years later.

Me filming_1

Much has changed in Gangjeong. The massive, and I mean massive, naval base to accommodate America’s “Pivot to Asia” is nearing completion.

Seeing it made me angry, and reminded me once again of my dear friend Dud Hendrick’s powerful words in The Ghosts of Jeju. He asked, “Is there any place so remote, so beautiful, so sacred as to be inviolable by the U.S. military? And when you think about it, there is no such place.”

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IMG_6381Base housing in foreground fronting Tiger Island.

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From  Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to all of the islands of the Pacific from Hawaii down to the Marshall Islands including Japan, Okinawa, Jeju, Guam and the Philippines,  America has killed millions of indigenous peoples, stolen their land and their resources and made them colonies of the U.S.. These are all horrendous crimes against nature and humanity.

When one visits Hiroshima, Okinawa and Jeju, as I am doing now, the truth about  America’s past of global aggression becomes tragically clear. If Americans can admit that the entire American narrative is a lie, then, and only then, can Americans take responsibility for the actions of their government and hope to become an equal member of the human race.

What hasn’t changed in Gangjeong is the 8 year, ongoing, non-violent protest against this base. While there are fewer activists because of the attrition caused by over 600 arrests, 30 imprisonments, and fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the brave few remain.

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The daily ritual of 100 bows at 7 am followed by Catholic mass and rosary at 11 am continue without pause. Because dozens of cement trucks and construction vehicles come and go all day and during the mass, the police clear the gates to allow them to pass. It is remarkable how gentle and respectful the police are these days, obvious that some sympathize with the activists, but avoid conversation and eye contact.

Me and police shuttle best

Me doing the dance

And as always, the action ends with several spirited songs and, the now famous, Gangjeong dancing.

The struggle here in Gangjeong is an important symbol for the peace, human rights, and environmental movements around the world. I believe the spirit of revolution is stirring in all parts of the planet and our only hope for survival is for a massive, global convergence of awareness that rises up and says NO to the evil systems that threaten our very lives.

Jesuit father Kim, when I asked him why the Jesuits have established a permanent house here and why he remains, said, “because there is evil on the other side of this wall, and we must remain here to stop it.”

 

 

 

 

The Marshall Islands – Three Minutes to Midnight

Most Americans never knew that between 1946 and 1958 the United States decided that the Marshall Islands would be a good place to test atomic bombs. Over the course of those 12 years, 67 atomic bombs were detonated over Bikini Atoll and the surrounding Islands.

Dud Hendrick first brought it to my attention in The Ghosts of Jeju, but what I didn’t know was how the U.S. showed no regard for the people of the Marshall Islands before, during and after the tests. Previously classified and top secret documents indicate that the Americans looked down upon the people of the Marshall Islands as savages and did almost nothing to protect them from these blasts. Afterwards, the United States denied and attempted to hide the devastating effects to human life, food supplies, water, and the environment.

One test, code-named Bravo, was one thousand times the strength of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Bravo was just one of 67 tests that accounted for one hundred and eighty megatons of nuclear yield….the equivalent  of a Hiroshima sized bomb going off every day for twelve years. (Don’t Ever Whisper by Giff Johnson)

It wasn’t until 1978 that tests were done that confirmed the health effects on the peoples of the Marshall Islands. People were dying of cancers and women were giving birth to babies with horrendous defects. I also learned that thousands of U.S. Navy and military personnel involved in those tests had also suffered serious health issues caused by radiation.

And last year I watched the riveting testimony of Marshall Islander Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, pleading with the entire assembly of the United Nations to do something about climate change because rising sea levels will soon wash over and destroy the Marshall Islands and the Islands of Oceania. You can watch the six minute presentation by clicking the link below.

After reading Giff Johnson’s book, Don’t Ever Whisper, about his deceased wife Darlene Keju and how she spent her short life fighting for the victims of radiation poisoning, and after seeing Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s moving speech at the United Nations, I knew that I had to go to the Marshall Islands to interview survivors, local activists and politicians for my film because the people of the Marshall Islands are closer to midnight than three minutes for they have suffered the effects of those terrible instruments of mass destruction and are now concerned about the imminent catastrophic effects of rising sea levels due to climate change.

In The Ghosts of Jeju I was able to bring to light the untold history of the United States on Jeju Island and throughout Korea from 1945 to the present. In my short film, The United States of War, I exposed the lies and myths about American Exceptionalism and the truth about the American Way of Life.

11:57 – Three Minutes to Midnight will continue in this same vein, exposing the untold history of the United States in the Pacific from Hawaii, Japan, Okinawa, Jeju down to the Marshall Islands. There is a pattern that dates back to when the white European explorers came to the Americas, committed genocide and stole the land and resources from the indigenous American peoples.

Since 1798, the United States has militarily invaded other countries more than 500 times. In my seventy years on this planet, America has been at war for all of them and today America has brought the world to the brink of extinction with the very real threat of nuclear war with Russia and China.

11:57 – Three Minutes to Midnight reveals more of the untold history of the United States and more about the imperial advance of this country in order to dominate the entire planet through full-spectrum dominance.

The American Way of life and the global economy, fueled by predator Capitalism and based on an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels and slave labor in order to maximize profit also has the world on the brink of extinction due to the immediate and catastrophic effects of climate change.

After three weeks of fundraising, enough money has been raised to reserve flights for the entire trip. What remains to be raised are funds for accommodations, food, local travel, rental equipment, and miscellaneous  expenses.

Your contributions will be completely tax-deductible if you contribute on the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space website: http://www.space4peace.org/

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Simply click the “Donate” button, enter the amount you wish to donate and in the comments declare it is for Regis Tremblay’s film.

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Should you wish to send a check, make it out to Global Network and mail it to 209 River Rd., Woolwich, Maine 04579.  Be sure to put Regis Tremblay in the “for” line.

Thank you for investing in independent media. You will be proud that you played an important role in the making of this film.

Thank you for whatever you can do to help.

Regis Tremblay

You can read the entire appeal letter and description of this film here: http://www.theghostsofjeju.net/1157-three-minutes-midnight-fundraising

The Ghosts of Jeju: Huge Success at Okinawa University

On November 18, The Ghosts of Jeju was screened at Okinawa University. More than 100 people attended and it left people in tears.

Not a day goes by that I am not humbled by how people the world over have received this film. It is now available in Korean, Japanese, and French with subtitles. The Spanish and Russian translations are underway…all tedious work done by volunteers who have been moved by the Story of Jeju.

Here’s a rather lengthy comment from Natsuhiko Watase, a Japanese non-fiction writer after viewing The Ghosts of Jeju at Okinawa University. There were over 100 people in attendance.

Thank you for the last evening.
I am glad that I made it.

Ms. Shiroma (the organizer/local activist) asked me to send my thoughts to you, which I did to FB but I am copying and pasting it here in e-mail.

I saw a documentary film “the Ghost of Jeju”

Post film talk session surrounding Rachel Clark who had introduced this film, was good thing to participate. For the sake of the US military industry, they make bases and start wars!
Wars kill innocent people in a huge scale, construction of bases violates human rights of local residents, and destroy their precious nature. This film conveys this message very well.

At the Sakurazaka Theater, I have seen “the Crombie” which deals with people who oppose the construction of the naval base in Jeju (in a different way). Tonight’s experience further deepened my understanding.
Some images overlapped with “the Targeted Village” by Chie Miami and “the Pressured to Kill in the Ocean” by Yukihisa Fujimoto and Asako Kageyama, in terms of irrational.

Not only Takae, Oura Bay in Henoko, this Gunjung village in Jeju Island became a precious place of mine as of today.
When I actually visit there, such romanticism will be totally destroyed by its harsh reality. At least my biggest gain from tonight’s film viewing was that I clearly linked Okinawa and Juju Island.

I had to leave before the end of talk session. Rachel, Kimiko, Ms. Shiroma who invited me, and all the participants, thank you very much.

I wish as many people can watch this film.

The Ghosts of Jeju World-wide

Catholic FF SeoulHappening this weekend, November 1-2 in Seoul, South Korea. The Ghosts of Jeju is being screened twice, presented by Joyakgol, Sister Stella, and Jesuit Brother Park.

Joyakgol says that it is being very well received by young and old alike. For most it is a “crash course” in the 4.3 massacre event, and an “eye-opener” about the US imperial advance on Jeju and the Pacific.

Thanks to Joyakgol, whom many of you will remember when he traveled with me on a 13 city tour with the film beginning with the Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival, who finished the Korean version with subtitles and is screening it all over South Korea.

I am so gratified that Korean people here in America have welcomed the film and thank me for telling their story. I can only hope that people all over South Korea are moved and informed by The Ghosts of Jeju, and that they take responsibility for the deeds of their government.

The reaction seems to be the same around the world where it has been seen in 14 countries that I know about. Even more gratifying is the offer by volunteers to translate it into Japanese, French, Spanish, and Russian.

Without the financial support of so many of you, this would not be happening. I hope  you realize that your contributions have helped to tell this important story all over the world.

After seeing the film, people always ask “what can we do to help.” Among the many things people can do, the most effective have been to purchase copies of the film and share it widely and to contribute so that I can continue this important work.

As I say in the film, “with knowledge comes responsibility, the least we can do is amplify the voices of Gangjeong.”

The Ghosts of Jeju Now With Korean Subtitless

Disc_TemplatesThe Ghosts of Jeju with Korean subtitles is now available for sale online at www.theghostsofjeju.net

Thanks to my dear friend, Joyakgol, a Gangjeong peace activist, who traveled with me from The Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival to the West Coast for screening in 13 cities, the Korean version of The Ghosts of Jeju has been completed.

DSC_4356Joyakgol edited and finalized the translation upon his return to Korea where he has been presenting the film. Joyakgol will also present the film this month at the following film festivals: Cheju Fringe Festival, the Environmental Film Festival in Incheon, The Catholic Film Festival, The Gwangju Human Rights Film Festival, and the Jeju Peace Festival.

He will be accompanied by Professor Yang Yoon-Mo, the former Korean film critic for 30 years, who left his career to defend his home. He has been imprisoned four times for protesting the construction of the navel base and went on hunger strikes each time.  Here is a short clip from The Ghosts of Jeju:

I am happy to say that the Japanese version is nearing completion with only the subtitles to be added. The film is currently being translated into French with the subtitles due to be completed later this year. All of this work is being done gratis by people who have been moved by the film.

It is simply amazing that this almost no budget film has not only been screened hundreds of times here in America, but found its way to at least 16 countries that I know of, including Russia and Taiwan.

I am humbled and gratified by the appeal of The Ghosts of Jeju.  As my good friend, Charles Hanley, the Associated Press Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Bridge at No Gun Ri told me, “you have no idea of the magnitude of the story you fell into.”

On going to Jeju in September of 2012, I thought I was going to make a short film about another anti-war, anti-U.S. militarism protest in a far-off land. And, like me when I discovered the untold and hidden story of the U.S. in Korea since 1945, Americans who see the film express the same disbelief, anger, and shame that I felt. The many Korean people in America who have seen it all thank me for telling this story which had been hidden from them as well.

You can help me continue to spread the film in the U.S. and around the world by purchasing a copy of the film in English or Korean and sharing it widely. There are no royalties, fees, or permissions needed. To date, I have not been compensated. Proceeds from the sale of the film have allowed me to make two cross country trips and countless regional trips to present it to both large and small groups.

Later this month I will be presenting it to the Peace & Justice Studies Association annual conference in San Diego, and the following week it will be screened by the Korean Studies Department at UCLA in a return visit.

The film is being sold in Korea with all of the proceeds going to the activists in Gangjeong Village, and all of the proceeds from copies purchased in Korea on line at www.theghostsofjeju.net  will also go to Gangjeong.

Worth More Than Money

Thanks to all of you who have contributed and continue to contribute towards my current project. But, it isn’t money that fuels my fire.

Amidst all of the dark and frightening barrage of daily news, here’s what is bright and hopeful.

The following email is what is most gratifying and why I do what I do. These three fellows were two years behind me at the Carmelite Junior Seminary in Hamilton, MA back in the 60’s. One of them heard about The Ghosts of Jeju and ordered it. Since the three have remained close throughout the years and get together regularly, they watched the film recently, and here is what they had to say:

Hi Regis,

This past weekend we were finally able to view your film: The Ghosts of Jeju. We were all impressed. It’s obvious that a great deal of research, work and heart went into the film–your commitment to the issue and the people there is clear.

All of us learned quite a bit about a situation we confess we knew nothing about. Even though all of us would consider ourselves Catholics who believe firmly in the gospel of peace and justice, much of what was presented was a revelation. We were aware of the massacre at the bridge during the Korean War, but did not know about the earlier slaughter on the island. It is reminiscent of US policy in Central America where anyone who protest the status quo or struggles for true justice is considered a communist…to be eliminated.

We likewise weren’t aware of some of the more recent dimensions in US Geopolitical thinking.  We were shocked about the outer space dimension and the language used by the military about such a “cool” strategy.

So, Regis, we want to thank you for the work you have done telling a story that deserves to be told. We share with you the same sense of responsibility as citizens and as people of faith.  We appreciate the commitment required of us all to make this world more just and peaceful.

It would be great to get together with you sometime.  I know we’ll have plenty more to discuss. And since the three of us do meet up occasionally in New Hampshire it’s not too far afield to travel to Maine.

Redacted slightly so as to “protect the innocent.” 🙂

 

Beyond My Ability

Dear Friends,

As you now, my month-long trip to Jeju and South Korea had to be postponed due to illness. To date, I have raised a little over $4,000 US for my new documentary that will cover the effects of U.S. militarism in the Pacific from Hawaii to The Philippines, and the large popular, non-violent uprisings occurring throughout the Pacific (and really around the world) against U.S. military presence and expansion.

So many of you have already supported this new effort with your financial contributions, and I thank you. But, I need your help now in finding progressive organizations, NGOs, and individuals who are known to support documentary films.

This new film will be much larger in scope than The Ghosts of Jeju and will require more money than I have been able to raise from generous and supportive contributors like you.

The film will also demonstrate very clearly, using interviews with independent journalists,  former State Department, and CIA officials,  the dark forces that make foreign policy, war, and large increases in the Department of War budget.

My plan is to begin filming early in 2015 beginning in Hawaii and Okinawa, and then on down to Jeju and S. Korea, Taiwan, Guam, and The Philippines.

If The Ghosts of Jeju is any indication, this new film will also receive world-wide attention and acclaim. I have no idea how many screenings there have been, nor how many people have seen The Ghosts of Jeju. The screenings number in the hundreds in the U.S. and in at least 15 countries. Thousands of people have seen it and hundreds have purchased copies.

The Ghosts of Jeju has recently been released in South Korea with subtitles, thanks to the tremendous efforts of my dear friend, Joyakgol. Very soon it will be released in Japan having been translated by Maho Yamazaki and activist friends. It is also being translated into French. All of these efforts by dedicated activists for no compensation at all.

Documentary films do not make money! Films like mine are a labor of love that arise from an inner need to educate and inform the world about the serious issues that are threatening life on Mother Earth. My focus is on ending militarism, wars, and the death and destruction of the environment that results.

So, I am once again turning to you for help in finding sources, be they individuals, organizations, or foundations, that will see the value in what I am doing and want to help. As you know, I am a “crew” of one. The only thing standing in the way of making this film is money.

Thank you again for your past support and anything you can do to help make this new film a reality.

Here’s is my short video plea for help in making this film.

Seoul Radio Interview and Short Video Take my Place in 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.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/august-7-2014-news-chat/id564557750?i=317403662&mt=2

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.”