As you all may know, today we here in Gangjeong have suffered a huge shock. Finally we see the result of the over aggressive and illegal actions of the police. Father Moon was almost murdered. It is a miracle that he is still alive.
Today is Good Friday according to the Christian calendar. Because of this, at 11 a.m., the ocean team, the catholic fathers, other catholics, and other activists joined together to perform the “Stations of the Cross” traditional catholic ceremony. This ceremony involves 14 “stations” marking the last moments of Jesus’ life before his death. We adapted it and made 14 stations all around the edge of the destruction site. At each stop the Fathers led us in prayer and short meditations related to Jesus death and also to our struggle here. We began at the Naval Base Office gate and ended on the west pier of Gangjeong Port. It was a very beautiful and moving time.
During the final station, #14, an activist went down the huge concrete tetrapods to the water to swim. This area is a public area and none our actions were even close to illegal. As the activist attempted to enter the water, a coast guard officer very aggressively chased him, despite both of them being on the dangerous tetrapods. This scared and angered many of the people attending the mass, and several people walked out onto the tetrapods to see, and also to ask the coast guard officer to be more careful.
When this happened, another coast guard officer came and also began acting very aggressively, trying to illegally block our access to the public area of the tetrapods and the surrounding water. As the coast guard officer tried to block another swimmer from going down to water, Father Moon, tried to help the swimmer and block the coast guard officer. Shockingly the officer was very aggressive even though they were both dangerously at the top of the tetrapod pile (and he was a young man, while Father Moon is elderly and walks with a cane). Many people called for the officer to be reasonable and careful and that Father Moon could fall down. As they struggled, suddenly the coast guard officer accidentally caused Father Moon to lose his balance and fall.
The next moments were a terrible shocking nightmare to all of us watching. The young coast guard officer regained his balance but Father Moon could not and fell into a huge hole between the tetrapods. As he dropped around 5 meters, his body bounced off the tetrapods below three times, before he landed at the bottom. All of us were totally shocked at this horror that had happened for absolutely no reason, and many of us thought that Father Moon was dead. Although several people went down to him, it was very deep and we were afraid to move him in case of spinal injuries.
Finally, the 119 (Korean Emergency Rescue) came and after around 30 minutes lifted him out. He was taken to a hospital in Seogwipo for tests and treatment. He has been conscious this whole time. Very, very happily, he did not die. As has been reported, according to initial tests and scans he broke several vertebrae in his back quite seriously and will need to stay in the hospital at least 3 months. He has been moved to Jeju University Hospital in Jeju City. We are still waiting for the final report about his condition after a complete medical exam, but its seems that he didn’t hit his head. Of course he is very weak and shocked and in a lot of pain. When we met him, he asked about Brother Song and when he heard that Brother Song has developed a ringing in his ear because of police violence, he cried. We are all in a state of shock here.
Finally to add to our shock and sadness, the coast guard has decided that our lives are not important and that they are going to lie to cover their mistake. They are claiming that Father Moon pushed the coast guard officer and then the officer didn’t touch him and he fell on his own, losing his balance because of the push. Of course, in the moments after it happened, you could see very clearly in the face of the officer that he knew he had made a huge mistake. And even if this story were true, why was he even there and why was he aggressively blocking us from a public area? But now the police are going to lie to cover it all up! Are they really human? Have they no sympathy for suffering? Do they not care about human life? Unbelievably shameful.
Please pray for Father Moon. Please pray for all of us here. And please pray for the hearts of the coast guard, that they will not lie about what they have done.
Update 1: April 6, 11:44 p.m.
We are still waiting for more details but a slight update: apparently Father Moon has broken 4 vertebrae in his back (earlier 3 were reported) and also broken one of his hands. Also he will need to stay at least 6 months in the hospital to recover (before 3 months were reported). More updates as we hear them…
Update 2: April 19, 11:44 p.m.
Father Moon is out of the Hospital! 13 Days ago we watched this 71 year old man fall 5 meters to what we thought was his death. He said he thought it was his death too. He broke 4 vertebrae in his back, he broke his arm, he was bruised all over. The doctors said, that two other patients who were in their 30s and fell only 3 meters were paralyzed. The doctors said he would have to stay in the hospital for 6 months. 13 Days later, and he’s walking around, smiling! Tomorrow, he will go to his hometown to rest for around a week. Amazing and unbelievable! If you don’t believe in miracles, now’s your best chance…Hurray!!!