The people in Gangjeong are having an urgent and important campaign to send letters to Pope Francis, appealing him to please visit Gangjeong. Please refer to the below and send yours to Pope Francis. Please visit Pope to Jeju site here, too.
Let’s write peace letters to Pope Francis so that His Holiness can visit Gangjeong village on his trip to South Korea in August!
Yes, Pope is coming to Korea this August. The details of his trip or itinerary is not decided yet, but we think that the Vatican will soon decide detailed schedule. So it is very important for us to write and send letters to Pope Francis NOW to help Him know more about Gangjeong’s 8 years of peace movement against massive naval base for nuclear… warships, and convince Him to visit the suffering village on the island of world peace.
Just think about Pope Francis holding the Eucharist at the daily Catholic life-peace Mass at the naval base construction site. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousnads, of people will gather together, and in fact as Bishop Peter Kang U-il
once said, peace will begin to flow from this tiny village of Gangjeong to the rest of the world.
So please take a pen and write your sincere heart out at a piece of paper. Send it to the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican City. It’s easy and anyone can do it for peace of Gangjeong. Here’s a sample peace letter envelope that I had sent to Pope Francis. His Holiness will be likely to read our letters if we write from all around the world with one heart. Please circulate this message to your friends. Let’s make Pope Francis read our peace letters and meet Him at Gangjeong this summer! And leave a copy of your letter at Facebook No Naval Base group https://www.facebook.com/groups/nonavalbase/
Here’s a letter that I sent to Pope a week ago, and I am writing again and again until he replies!
Joyakgol (aka dopehead zo)
Dear Holy Father,
I am a peace activist, living in South Korea. I hope this letter finds you well. I have a big, but a simple wish for Your Holiness. And I am praying God hear me and make it come true.
When you come to South Korea this year, please visit Gangjeong village in Jeju Island. Even though Gangjeong is a small village, but peace-loving people have been resisting against the construction of a massive naval base for 8 years. The naval base construction project has been tearing apart peace of the residents here. The people used to live peacefully before the military project started. We desperately want the peace back.
As Bishop Peter Kang U-il said once, peace around the whole country begins here. We pray everyday courageously and tenaciously at the entrance of the construction site with the presence of thousands of riot cops and the threat of arrests coming from them. We have never given up the hope that one day we will be able to live peacefully without the massive naval base for nuclear warships. We will keep praying. So when you come to South Korea, please come down to Jeju and meet these incredibly beautiful people.
The Jeju Island was declared the island of world peace in 2005, and yet peace here is under severe danger. We just want to love unconditionally without arms and weapons.
Very respectfully, Joyakgol
‘The response I’m getting from the blog I posted this morning is enormous. I believe it started a major letter-writing campaign to Pope Francis. Even the Korean Quarterly newspaper will promote it on their FB page, and through the editor’s church. I sent out my letter to Pope Francis which is in my blog to over 300 people, and I am sure that others will forward it to their lists of friends and colleagues around the world. People are saying things like, “what a great idea,” “amazing how creative the people of Gangjeong are,” “they just don’t give up,” “I’m going to write a letter myself today,” and more.’
Peace and Solidarity,’
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.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,
Pax Tibi Productions
209 River Rd.
Woolwich, Maine 04579