John Dear, SJby Rev. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

Fifty miles off the southern tip of South Korea lies Jeju Island, one of the world’s most beautiful islands, known for its glorious rocky coast, coral reefs and sacred vista. But as far as the United States is concerned, its sole purpose is its strategic location next to China, Japan and Taiwan. The United States has asked South Korea to build a major naval base there for U.S. Aegis destroyers — U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that carry cruise missiles. These missiles, kept on U.S. destroyers and submarines at the proposed Jeju Island naval base, could be used someday to destroy Chinese ICBMs.

But contrary to all expectations, a magnificent campaign of daily nonviolent resistance against the base has grown in the last five years. What’s even more inspiring is that church leaders are at the forefront of the campaign. Everyone who cares about peace needs to know what is happening on Jeju Island.

The base is being built near Gangjeong Village. These heroic villagers have maintained an impressive public stand against nuclear weapons, U.S. imperialism, environmental destruction and basic injustice. They’ve been arrested, imprisoned and had their land and civil rights taken from them. Nonetheless, they keep at it. They are demonstrating one of the most brilliant instances of active, engaged nonviolence on the planet, but they have to: South Korea, at the request of the Pentagon, is about to destroy one of the world’s natural wonders…

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One thought on “REFLECTION: The great peace movement in South Korea

  1. Heard him speak last night about his new book Lazarus, Come Forth. Energizing and inspiring.

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