Photo by Jang Hyun-Woo/ For more photos by Jang Hyun-Woo, see here.

 It was found on Dec. 8 that an older brother of a wife of a dead worker on Nov. 28 posted a writing in the Gangjeong village website (Click here). On Nov. 28, the very day that the ruling Saenuri Party unilaterally railroaded 2013 budget bill on the Jeju naval base project in the National Defense committee of the  National Assembly,  a chief mate, Mr. Kim (43, living in the Jeju City) of a tug boat named Jungseungho died  in the morning. The crews in the tug boat have been put to work  on the Jeju naval base project. To see more on the background of the incident behind his death, click here. The writing was forwarded by Mr. Lim Ho-Young, village website (in Korean language) manager and peacekeeper.



A father of a family, who has worked on the naval base construction, left this world

 By Kim Sung-Ki


I can hardly restrain my very complicated heart while I write this.

On Nov. 28(Wed), I heard the news in Seoul that my sister’s husband died by accident.

Upon my sister’s cry, “Brother, please come here quickly,’ I stopped all my works and boarded myself on the airplane to Jeju

As a result of confirming the  situation, I found my brother-in-law died while he worked on the Jeju naval base construction. My brother-in-law was the chief mate of the company called Jungseung haewoon (maritime transportation) and the company has made sub-contract to the Taehwa Construction who also made a sub-contract to the Samsung C &T.

According to the day’s accident story heard, my brother-in-law had been put to work of the Taewha Construction,  which had not been planned. It was a work on a tug boat that drags a barge. He was returning from the Gangjoeng village to Hwasoon port after some work. The accident happened during the mooring process in the Hwasoon port. According to a Jeju Sori article, it was a human life accident caused by a rope that links between tug boat and barge( in the words of captain, it is ‘wire’). It is told that the thickness of the wire is about 18 cm. To my inference, he seems to have immediately died due to the stroke by wire. At the time, there was an excursion ship and many tourists witnessed the site. That is what I was told on the accident at the time.

Personally experiencing this incident, I became to recognize how ironic situation I am placed in. My hometown is Jeju and I am a peacenik who opposes the Jeju naval base construction in the Gangjeong village. Of course, I don’t actively participate in the struggle in the village. I only sympathize it, in my heart. Still I and my sister became to lose a member of our family during the naval base construction.

My brother in law was the head of a family, having two children. He is a dad of a daughter attending middle school and a son attending an elementary school. Do I have to think them praiseworthy as they accept the fact that their dad is not here any more in this world, with calm attitude? Or do they think it is a matter of no importance as they could not see their dad often? My feeling is complicated.

I became to think that the incident of my brother in law is an example that shows the problems of Korea society.

My brother in law is an ordinary citizen who happened to have been victimized during the process of state drive for anti-peace policies. The Jeju where the Peace museum and military base co-exist cannot be our ‘Jeju’.

My brother in law has been a worker belonging to a sub-contract company dependent upon a big corporation. As you know, a sub-contract company cannot but subordinate to the demands by its master enterprise. Probably a tremendously unfair contract was done. I cast doubts to think that, if my brother-in-law who had carried out unplanned task had worked in a proper work environment, he would not have been victimized.

A head of a family, who was responsible for the livelihood of four members of family became to meet a very sorry death due to the contradiction of this society. Taking this incident, I feel a much sense of shame that there are little thing that I can help my sister as an older brother and my nephews as an uncle. Should a petit bourgeois victimized by state policy merely cure for one’s pain inside the wall of law and system?

I feel shame as I feel like that I appeal ‘personal’ pain to the people who try to save the village from the ‘social’ scope. The incident shows the values of ‘peace’ and ‘human rights’ coexist. I hope there is no 2nd victim.

While I am writing this, two children are sleeping and their mom cannot sleep for the wound of losing her husband, only absently looking at ceiling.

I hope my hometown, Jeju is where human beings are respected, wounds of human beings are cured and peace co-exist. Various selfishness and greed stay in Jeju. That is why there are the  “Saving the Gureombi Rock,” “Gangjeong village,’ and “Jeju of Olle.”

The Jeju we want is the Jeju of ‘human being,’ ‘peace,’ ‘human rights,’ and ‘happiness.’ I hope there happens no same thing that happened to my sister. How we can save the Jeju as true Jeju? I pray for the happiness of my sister’s  family.



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