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This Kind of Review Makes It All Worthwhile

Hi, Holly,

After seeing the film (The Ghosts of Jeju) on Weds., I was too emotional to have comments.   I don’t want you to think I was untouched by what I saw.   I’ll pass on a comment I made to a friend after I arrived home.   Thank you for doing your part, always.   Peace and Love, Kathy

I’ve just come from a heart-rending viewing of a finely made film of the destruction and valiant protest on the Korean island of Jeju.  Once a paradise of unspoiled, vibrant ocean, sacred rocks and waterfalls, an agricultural and fishing community a mere 35 x 45 miles in size, it was first attacked and destroyed during the Korean war.  The residents are South Koreans, but our government ordered them destroyed and they were, by the thousands.
 
The continued systematic destruction of this little paradise is now being perpetrated so the US can add to their legion of bases around the world…way over 1,160 bases, worldwide, all shoving indigenous populations off, destroying their environment and homes.
 
The bravery and refusal to give up shown by the natives and those who come in as peace activists from many countries is beyond astounding.  
 
After thousands were massacred by the Korean and American armies, survivors are iron-tough and willing to put their lives on the line.
 
My good friend Holly Graham wrote and performed a lovely song of peace for the movie and the showing tonight was hosted by her, alone.   Sadly, few people responded to her invitation.
 
It’s now up to the few of us who did respond to do something for the good people of Jeju.
 
The last shred of respect I’ve clung to for the US government is gone.  It would’ve taken much less than what I’ve seen tonight to free me from my self-deception.

PS  After I read some of the literature, Holly, I told her about how 60% of our national budget goes to the military, leaving 10% and less for everything else.   And, that a mere dot on a line graph goes to our food safety.  (Going to a supermarket is like walking between two walls of poison…and it’s what most of our children are growing up on.)

Pope Francis to Visit South Korea

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.

letter-2-pope-eng

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,

Regis Tremblay

Pax Tibi Productions

209 River Rd.

Woolwich, Maine 04579

USA