The members of the Tamra Artists Association of the Jeju, including Mr. Koh Gilchun, has visited Okinawa, as its artists’ culture trip program from Feb. 19 to 23, 2013.
During the trip, Mr Koh Gilchun has visited Takae, a small town located in the northeastern part of Okinawa, struggling against the expansion of the US military helipad that destroys its precious community life and diverse species of the Yanbaru forest. Watch the movie on the struggle of Takae, here. On Feb. 19 and 20, he joined the members of Peace Nomad led by Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyoen. The people from the Jeju joined the Takae people in solidarity protest to stop the construction of the Osprey airstrip in the early morning of Feb. 20 and were warmly welcomed of their presentation on the Gangjeong addictive dances to them.
Mr. Koh told how Okinawa residents and peace activists warmly welcomed the people from the Jeju, despite the South Korean government oppression of entry denial on some of them. About 15 Okinawa ans Japanese and activists have been denied entries to South Korea regarding the Jeju naval base issue since Aug. 26, 2011. You can see the summary on it, here.
As an artist, Mr. Koh could have the time to present the resistance arts in Gangjeong to the people in Okinawa, thanks to hard organizing works by Masami Mel Kawamura, Yuuri Arime and Toshi Takahashi and other peace activists in Okinawa and Japan. During the Jeju International peace Conference on February 24, 2012, Toshio Takahashi has presented his wonderful speech. See here. But unfortunately he has been denied, in relation to the Jeju naval base issue, during the 2012 WCC Jeju on Sept. 6, 2012. See his letter on it, here. Yuuri Arime was also denied entry on June 5, 2012, just for the reason that she had visited Gangjeong before. Noticeably, none of the 20 people who were denied entry to South Korea have gotten the clearly and responsibly documented replies from the South Korean government for the reasons of their being denied entries to Korea. But inferring from the remarks of the Immigration Officers heard each time, it was clear that they were denied entries to Korea, hated by the South Korean government who oppresses international activists who sympathize and support the struggle in Gangjeong village,
The friends in Okinawa and Japan gratefully wrote the postcards to Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo, the currently only political prisoner regarding the struggle against the Jeju naval base project and who has been taking prison fast for 29 days as of March 1, 2013. Mr. Koh brought five of those postcards from Okinawa, along with other thankful materials on the struggles in Okinawa,
We want to express our deep gratitude to the people in Okinawa for their heartfelt solidarity and organizing support for the Jeju people’s trip.
See the more pictures from Okinawa from here and here. The photos are from Mr. Koh Gil-Chun (visit to Takae and other areas of Okinawa), Yuuri Arime ( Mr. Koh’s Presentation on the Ganjeong resistance art and group photo after it. The photos were thankfully informed by Masami Mel Kawamura), Jay, Peace Nomad ( “Love Okinawa” movie leaflet) and Gonyang (Gangjeong people’s group photo in expression of thanks and solidarity to Okinawa. The photo was posted by Paco Booyah, Gangjeong village international team)
Video by Dungree: Close the US military bases in Okinawa ( A record of Okinawa trip based on Mr. Koh Gilchun’s report after the trip)Photos