Upon the 10th remembrance year of the blasting of the Gureombi Rock coast for the Jeju navy base construction, 40 international solidarity messages have arrived from March 1st to 7th.
The struggle against Jeju naval base has been a truly international one, which shows the struggle for peace can seldom be a local one. We thank and remember all the international friends who have expressed solidarity to the struggle. The peace-loving people in the world will end wars and militarism together. We especially thank 40 internationals who recently sent us solidarity messages:
Christine Ahn, Dennis Apel, Sharon Chung, Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa, Jacqui Deveneau, Leonard Eiger, Bruce K. Gagnon, Heidi and Bruno, Martha Hennessy, Jane Jin Kaisen, Kyle Kajihiro, Yuchi Kamoshita, Eugene Kang, George Katsiaficas, Kristyn, Dohee Lee, Jon Letman, Grant M Leuning, Paul Liem for the Korea Policy Institute, Ramsay Liem, Seth Martin, Natasha Mayers, Lisa Natividad, Nodutdol, Okimoto Fukiko, Okimoto Hiroshi, Codie Otte, Paco, Koohan Paik-Mander, Nare Park, Juyeon JC Rhee, William H. Slavick, Tom Smith, Sara Spriggs, Mary Beth Sullivan, Toshio Takahashi, David Vine, Russell Wray, Angie Zelter
Add. on March 8: Hey W E Cheung, Tarak Kauff
Add. on March 11: Women’s Voices Women Speak
See the Korean translation, here. You can see the original request message at the bottom.
We send you our heartfelt gratitude for your peace activism which has inspired so many around the world. One decade ago, as Gureombi was being blasted and Gangjeong destroyed, the world watched with horror how a democratic country like South Korea could allow this naval base to be built to project US power against China. As war rages on in Ukraine and tensions between the US and China intensify over Taiwan, we must double our efforts to push back against the drive to further militarize the Asia Pacific and our world. We send our love and dedication to join you in struggle. Christine Ahn and Jeju Ahn-Miles
To my friends on Jeju Island and especially in Gangjeong Village. Ten years ago I was honored to join you in an epic struggle to resist the construction of the Naval Base there. As an activist in the United States who has known resistance and been arrested many times and imprisoned three times, my arrest on Jeju Island was perhaps the proudest of my life. I have never witnessed a struggle more dedicated, persistent, soul-centered and inspiring as was, and is, the struggle with which you have gifted the world. It is my deep conviction that, in spite of the fact that there is now a Naval Base where once was the sacred Gureombi Rock, you have been instruments for the salvation of humanity by your willingness to suffer for the sake of beauty against the onslaught of darkness and destruction. I honor your commitment and efforts and thank you for allowing me to be part of it. In gratitude for who you are…
Respect and honor to the mighty people of Gangjeong that have continued the people’s resistance and fight against the destruction of Gureombi, the pollution of the beautiful waters around Gangjeong and shutting down the Jeju naval base!
My spirit and heart continue to mourn for the destruction of Gureombi and the brutality against the peoples resistance who oppose the escalation of war and militarism. In solidarity, we must continue to resist and oppose the powers of militarism and imperialism that puts war and profits over people. I support the on-going resistance in Gangjeong and fight to SHUT DOWN JEJU NAVAL BASE!
Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa
No to the desecration and destruction of sacred places – Yes to life and peace!
Our deep respect and gratitude to all of the good people who defended Gureombi Rock – and all those who have acted, gone to jail, spoken out and prayed for peace on the Island of Peace… and continue to do so.
Solidarity and love across the miles, always, from the Sonoran desert,
Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa
The Nuclear Resister, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
My name is Jacqui Deveneau. I am from Maine in the US. Many Peace activists in Maine have known of and support the people of Jeju. I have been following all of this and sharing all that Sung-hee Choi has shared. It is heart breaking what they did to the Gureombi rock. It is very hard to live in the US and know all the inhumane things our government and military have done all around the world to cause so much death and strife. My wish would be that the US would restore the “Peace Island” to its people.
Dear friends in the struggle of justice for Jeju,
Thank you for the opportunity to send a message of solidarity. It is important to never give up in our resistance and to mark these important dates and events. I send this message on behalf of all of us at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, USA, where we are located next to the Bangor Trident nuclear ballistic missile submarine base, home to the largest deployed concentration of nuclear weapons in the United States. Some of our members have travelled to Jeju to participate in your resistance work. Your struggle is our struggle as well, and we are with you to the end of that struggle.
With Thanks and In Peace,
Leonard Eiger, on behalf of Ground Zero Center
Greetings and solidarity from all of us at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on the 10th remembrance year of the destruction of the sacred Gureombi Rock on Jeju Island. Although the violent, militaristic powers of empire have desecrated your beautiful Island of Peace, you still stand strong in your peaceful, collective spirit against violence, militarism and war. We stand with you, and will continue working for the day when the people of Jeju Island, and all the world’s people, live free from war and the suffering it causes.
Even across an ocean, we send love and prayers of perseverance for your protection and remembrance of this sacred space. While I have never set foot on Jeju, I recognize this is a place that reminds all of us in diaspora of who we are and how we connect at the core, to land, sea, and source. I have so much respect for you, as taking on an empire and being at the foreline of military imperialism takes more than anyone on the outside can know. I pray you take care of yourselves, your bodies, minds, and hearts, and perhaps through current and future alliships and solidarity, there will be forward movement to restore Jeju’s web of life. With Love, Derek (Grandson of a Warbride)
Bruce K. Gagnon
It is with mixed feelings that I send this solidarity message from the Global Network. First, it is with great sadness that we come to the 10th anniversary of the destruction of sacred Gureombi Rock.
But my other feeling is deep respect and gladness that the resistance to this outrageous naval base continues in the village and around the world.
Due to great organizing to oppose the base people all over the globe know about, and care about, Gangjeong village and its spirit.
We know that the US, and an ever expanding NATO, are planning big military operations aimed at China and Russia in your region in the times ahead.
Thus the spirit of resistance to this aggression by the US and its misguided allies remains more important than ever.
We pledge our un-ending loyalty and support for the positive and peaceful resistance against the naval base in Gangjeong.
Bruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Heidi and Bruno
It is the 10th anniversary of the blasting of Gureombi.
We are Heidi and Bruno Sägesser from Switzerland. In 2018 we met Brother Song and his family in Korea and we are glad to know them. Since then our thoughts and prayers have been with Jeju.
Brother Song was imprisoned from March 2020 to October 2021. During that time we felt sorry from our hearts. During those nearly 2 years we joined petitions many times. Today, the 10th anniversary of the blasting of Gureombi is a day of remembrance and mourning.
We cannot understand why our brother Song was locked up so long like that and we cannot understand why the military who stole the land and destroyed Gureombi Rock are not being punished.
We send our greetings to all of you in Jeju and Korea. We hope that your nonviolent resistance will always have strength and courage, creativity and confidence.
This World Heritage site is lost forever to us, especially to the people of Jeju.
God created such a unique phenomenon of this mother rock that was loved, held, and caressed by the people born to her. What a crime and sin, to destroy her in the name of war making. The idolatry of war demands innocent victims and so many have suffered the violence. But we have a vision that will never be taken away from us and we will make it come true. The peaceful paradise of Jeju will become a beautiful garden again when the war empire crumbles.
Hey W E Cheung
I hope we can be there with you guys yesterday.
It is not easy to talk about peace these days and with the strong oppression as a large net that no one in the world can easily escape. On this remarkable day, I hope we can have more confident with people around us so we can share more to face our fear with love but not hate. Thank you for sharing the courage of loving the world and each other.
May our memory make more justice.
Jane Jin Kaisen
In the spring of 2011 I used to come to Gangjeong often. At the time I was living in Jeju, a place I consider my ancestral home and that I hold deep in my heart. I was there to make a film about the memories of the Jeju Massacre and how this violent and traumatic event is not just of the past but resonates in the present moment. The Gangjeong struggle was at its height and civilians and activists were putting their lives and freedom at stake in their fierce and heartbroken protests against the naval base in a recognition of how its construction would mean a remilitarization of the island that would jeopardize peace.
Many mornings I would walk to the seashore, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by others like the morning when we did 100 bows at dawn with Gureombi Rock peaking out of the ocean carpet in the distance.
There is no longer a Gureombi Rock. A sacred place was shattered to pieces to pave way for the base. Its removal is one of the visible signs of just how much is lost to the logics of control and militarization. Along with that loss is the loss of sea life and peoples’ livelihoods. But what I learned in Gangjeong from people who resisted and are still resisting the base and structures of exploitation and power, and who spent years protesting, praying and building alternative visions, is something that can never be taken away, a deep sense of compassion, solidarity, and insistence that other worlds are possible.
From Jane Jin Kaisen, artist, filmmaker and professor of art living in Copenhagen
Aloha friends and fellow kia’i (protectors) in Jeju! I was blessed to visit Gangjeong at the beginning of your struggle, before the destruction. I will always remember the beauty and sacred power of the land and sea, and the brave spirit of the people. I felt as if I was home in Hawai’i. I mourn with you the destruction of Gureombi for war making, as we mourn the destruction of Pu’uloa (aka “Pearl Harbor”) to create a war base. But i celebrate the powerful and joyful movement you have become. Jeju will help to guide us to a better and more peaceful future! Thank you!
Kyle Kajihiro, member of Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice and Oʻahu Water Protectors
What is the true meaning of non-violence ?
It is to understand the people who are on the opposite side.
It is not giving up that anyone can change their minds.
Gureombi Rock, a symbol of nature & peace.
I thank you for your kindness.
Deep respect and love, as we honor 10 years of resistance since the destruction of the sacred Gureombi Rock, desecrated by the construction of the US naval base.
As a Korean in diaspora, I had the privilege of visiting Gangjeong in 2013, and again in 2014. Never before have I felt more connection to my Korean identity and ancestors. I was able to spend time with the most amazing community of people, and camped along the Gangjeong Cheon, in the powerful, palpable presence of Gureombi. It is hard to find the words for the feeling of injustice and sorrow and mourning for the destruction of such sacred land and life. The war machine moves rapidly and without conscience, but I know the fierce spirit of Gangjeong is unbreakable.
Peace and power to the people of Gangjeong! Sending love and respect to those who have been putting their lives on the line in the struggle against the US naval base and further militarization in Jeju, defending the sacred Gureombi Rock, precious land, and life in Gangjeong Village. Thank you for showing me, and the world, what resilience truly looks like. I stand forever with you. Toojeng!
Today, humanity and all life on this planet are threatened with a crisis of extinction. World leaders, the so-called “best and brightest“ of each nation, instead of combining forces to combat environmental devastation, ally with one another to fight petty wars over inconsequential objectives. The beautiful honeymoon island of Jeju has been caught in great power dynamics that not only have destroyed the pristine environment of reefs and coastline but also encouraged US military encirclement of China, thereby creating the preconditions for such conflicts such as now raging in the Ukraine. The struggle in Jeju is on the frontlines of the planetary struggle to end wars and to stop the ongoing destruction of the our planet.
Author and activist
I visited Gangjeong Village in 2015 along with other U.S. military veterans to stand in solidarity with the courageous people resisting the destructive building of a South Korean naval base that we all knew would be used to allow U.S. Navy warships to dock there. I was horrified to learn of the blasting and paving over with concrete of a natural wonder, Gureombi Rock, which was sacred to the people of Gangjeong Village. That was a crime not only against the people of the Village, but against nature itself. I applaud the courage and determination of all the people resisting this naval base and please know that members of Veterans For Peace, not only myself and those who were there are in solidarity with their struggle.
My name is Kristyn, and I’m a Korean American farmer in California. I think of friends and comrades in Gangjeong each day, and thank you for the ways you have protected your land and community. I understand how heartbreaking it is to see this sacred place exposed to this violence, but hope that your spirits can remain intact. Please know that we stand in solidarity with the farmers and fishers of Gangjeong, now and forever.
(Originally in Korean text)
Through art and spirituality activism, I send a solidarity message for peace in my homeland, Jeju, and solidarity for peace and justice along with the Ohlone people who are native to Oakland, California where I live.
The land is our mother and ancestor. Stopping the destruction and subjugation of the land is the culture cultivated by our ancestors and it is to protect our future descendants.
예술영성운동으로 제주 고향땅의 평화와 제가 살고있는 캘리포니아 오클랜드 올로니 땅의 원주민과 함께 땅의 정의와 평화를 위한 연대의 메세지를 보내드립니다.
땅은 우리의 어머니이고 조상입니다. 땅의 훼손과 탄압을 막음은 조상의 일궈온 문화와 미래의 자손을 지키기 위함입니다. – 센프란시스코 베이지역 오클랜드에서 푸리아트 이도희-
Dohee Lee (She/Her), Puri Arts Director/Performance Artist/Ritualist/Educator
The beautiful, spiritual, and irreplaceable Gureombi Rock coastline of southern Jeju island was and always will be a special and important place. Despite the decimation and destruction that took place, the spirit of peace remains strong there and in the surrounding areas, embodied in the fierce, but peaceful, tireless efforts of all who speak and act out against violence and militarism and continue to demand peace. May their efforts remain strong and lead to victory in the form of a world without war.
Grant M Leuning
My dear friends, may this message of love and solidarity find you well. I am one of so many who have been with you in Gangjeong who do not know the feeling of Gureombi Rock beneath my feet. And yet, as this anniversary approaches I feel a profound sadness and mourning for this place that I have not seen. Your daily practice of resistance that has allowed me and thousands like me to see Gureombi, to pray with Gureombi, to shout with Gureombi, to miss Gureombi rock and mourn with you on this anniversary. For that reason, as much as this date is the mark of a catastrophe, it is also the mark of a miracle. You are the miracle. The community that you have built through your endless struggle has not only kept the faith alive, that Gureombi rock will be returned to us, but has also shown us how resistance and protest can build something new, greater than a naval base, the culture of life and peace itself. 대지와 해방, 구럼비 보고 싶다, 강정마을 사랑해
Grant Leuning, Comité Magonista Tierra y Libertad
Paul Liem for the Korea Policy Institute
Beneath the concrete, Gureombi rock lives. Geopolitics and porous concrete are impermanent, fleeting, but Gureombi is steadfast, everlasting. Ten years since Gureombi was blasted with dynamite, and seventy years since Korea was divided are mere specks in time in the geology of Gangjeong’s coastline and in the history of the Korean people and nation. How arrogant and mean-spirited are the U.S. and R.O.K militaries to strut upon Gureombi rock, as if they own it. Gureombi belongs to the world’s people, under the stewardship of the Gangjeong villagers, and is the property of no one. As surely as the day will come when Korea is One, the brave villagers of Gangjeong will blast away the concrete, and sunlight will fall, again, upon Gureombi rock.
For the Korea Policy Institute
A ten year anniversary should be a joyous time. But for Gureombi and the people of Jeju Island and the Korean mainland who love her, it is a tragedy that only serves the militarism of those who would sacrifice pristine nature for ships of war. Deep respect for Gangjeong people and their supporters who have never given up the fight to preserve the spirit of Gureombi as a refuge of peace for all living things. You inspire the world in a time of great uncertainty.
For the Channing and Popai LIem Education Foundation
[Ten] years have passed since the brutal violation, attempted murder, and imprisonment of Gureombi by corporate and military profiteers and their cowardly followers. Just days before she was dynamited in March 2012, I felt Gureombi’s beating heart through my feet when a large group of us took part in a holy mass for and with her. We had to kayak to Gureombi’s shoreline, since her abusers had already fenced off all public entrances to Gureombi by land. We sang and wept together, and many of us were arrested that day. Gureombi filled all of us with love, strength, and righteous rage. When I sang on her surface, I felt Gureombi singing through me.
Now, whenever I sing or talk about Gureombi, I feel the weight covering Gureombi’s mangled body pressing down on my chest, and struggle not to choke over the concrete, shiny glass, and smiling lies used to continually smother Gureombi and the story of Gangjeong’s resistance with perverse narratives of “Progress”, “Self-Defense”, and–worst of all–forced, forgetful, silence.
Gureombi changed my life forever. Gureombi enflamed my heart with courage and anger and love. Gureombi welcomed me as her child, and commanded me to sing her song wherever I go, to share her pain and love and power with any struggle I am part of. How can I keep from singing?
I borrow the words of Utah Phillips to say what I know: Gureombi and Gangjeong did not die, and neither are dying now: Gureombi and Gangjeong are being killed, and the people killing them have names and addresses. We are the grasses growing from the still-beating, but concrete-covered heart of Gureombi. Ours are the voices remaining of the murdered creatures who called Gureombi Mother and Home, and sang her song to us. We must keep singing Gureombi’s song and weeping Gureombi’s tears, and refuse to accept the lie that Gureombi is no more and can never return. Because, as Malvina Reynolds used to sing, “The concrete gets tired, from what it has to do, it breaks and it buckles, and the grass grows through. God bless the grass.”
Mother Gureombi, like the sea grasses, we are your children. Give us strength to break apart all that smothers your heart and ours. We are on your side, and Spring is on ours.
–Seth Martin (Seth Mountain, 이산), March 5th, 2022
To my noble brothers and sisters who have waged a most glorious struggle against the militarism of my country (USA) and yours:
You are in my heart forever after having spent a week with you in Ganjeong, occupying Gureombi Rock, being arrested for entering the forbidden zone after crawling under the hideous barbed wire.
You danced and sang and fed us and taught us your history and inspired us to keep going with our activism in the U.S. protesting the Aegis destroyers built in our state.
Your vision and patience and courage are inspirational!
Whitefield, Maine, USA
Hafa adai (local greetings) from Guahan (Guam) in the Pacific! We stand in solidarity with the people of Gangjeong village on the 10th remembrance year of the blasting of the Gureombi Rock, where the Jeju navy base is now built. Our communities are victims of our geostrategic locations on the globe in the U.S.’s agenda for the containment of China. We must continue to defend our homelands. It is our wish that Jeju remains an island paradise of peace.
We are saddened to meet to remember these destructive events that are used for violence and war. On this occasion we also center in our minds the intention of peace throughout the Asia-Pacific region and Europe- in Ukraine and in Russia. It is at times such as these that we must stand strong and firm in our resolve for peace. Peace is the only option. We invoke the use of diplomacy and are reminded of the importance of respect in how we treat each other. It is the only way forward for all of humanity! May we find peace in our hearts so that it resonates throughout the whole world.
On the 10th year anniversary of the blasting of Gureombi Rock to make way for Jeju Naval base, Nodutdol stands in solidarity with the villagers of Gangjeong who are justly fighting for their livelihood and sacred lands. The destruction of Gureombi Rock is representative of the destructive nature of South Korean militarism and US imperialism all over the globe. Those who try to sacrifice our homelands, our shared environment, and our people for their selfish gains have no consideration for history and no vision for the future. Koreans overseas recognize and uphold your struggle as one of our own, and together we will close the bases and restore our lands. Toojeng!
I send you this message from my heart. I have visited Gangjeong with other women who oppose [the US base construction in] Henoko. I remember as if it was yesterday how we cried to see that the situation was just like Henoko.
Now, I am furiously angry about Russia/Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Those who are being sacrificed in the war are the citizens and soldiers of Ukraine and soldiers of Russia.
Russian soldiers, throw away your weapons right now! People of Ukraine, don’t take up arms!
I fervently hope that people of Russia and people of Ukraine will hold each other’s hands and people of the world who wish for peace will stand in solidarity, so that Putin and Zelenskyy will meet to dialogue in person. Ukraine does not need weapons; they don’t need bases or armies. In Jeju, as well as Ukraine and anywhere in the world, there must be no weapons that kill people or militaries or bases. With my whole heart I wish for a world with no war.
Fukiko Okimoto, Okinawa
March 5, 2022
For the 10th year since the blasting of Gureombi, a solidarity message to all of you in Gangjeong who keep up the struggle and don’t give up.
Just as Gangjeong’s sea was destroyed as concrete flowed in to build the navy base, the tropical coral sea of Henoko/Oura Bay is being filled everyday with earth and sand to make a base for the US marines. The Ryukyu archipelago is being militarized. Local people’s lives are threatened and livelihoods are destroyed for no reason by the policies of the Korean, Japanese, and US governments. Like the sudden invasion of Ukraine by Russia, East Asia is also facing the threat of imminent war. Across the seas, across borders, let us join hands. We always gain courage from all of you in Gangjeong. We will raise our voices loudly. In Jeju and in Okinawa we don’t need all these bases. Through demilitarization of the islands of East Asia, we will stop the vortex of increased military spending and the threat of war! Though it may take time, the people of Jeju and Okinawa, and the people of East Asia will prevail!
Okimoto Hiroshi, Okinawa
Sending you strength as the struggle continues for over ten years. I visited Jeju and Gangjeong in 2014 when the gureombi was still somewhat intact. I felt lucky to have a buk and take a moment to drum as the waves met the gureombi. As a Korean adoptee in diaspora, experiencing the sacredness of the coastal rock was a profound moment. Although it was my first time being on and near gureombi, there was an undeniable power and beauty, and it has shaped my definition of what it means to be Korean even though i have not grown up or lived in Korea. The destruction of the coast by the US military is an abomination, and as the resistance continues on Jeju, i look forward to the day when there is no more war, or US imperialism. Much love and standing in solidarity with you all!
The tragic destruction of the sacred Gureombi rock was a loss for the whole world and the struggle to protect Gureombi, and preserve Jeju as an island of peace, has brought much emotional, physical, and spiritual pain. But amidst suffering and desperation, it has also been a beacon of hope for those who seek alternatives to the violence that appears to permeate everything around us. Never perfect, yet still a model for a different way to live in a world seemingly overcome with capitalist greed, selfish pursuits, and violent lust for war. Out of this movement, many seeds will sprout.
Jeju Island is the Island of Peace. And the word “Pacific” means “peace.” So, how ironic and heartbreaking that Jeju-do has been targeted (along with many other “key” islands) by the U.S. military machine to be used as a node from which to project violence toward China. This is the very antithesis of “peace.”
The blasting of the sacred Gureombi coastal habitat and the dredging of the biodiverse coral forests are also the antithesis of peace. The blasting of Gureombi is a grave crime during this time of a species-extinction crisis and climate catastrophe. We should be nurturing the regeneration of ecosystems, not killing them. Gureombi provided a habitat for many species that sequestered greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Mother Gureombi was taking care of everyone on Planet Earth. It has been a decade since you were taken away from us, but we will never forget your love. In fact, we have become your Love.
you had become the ocean when we finally came. it was late fall five years after. we came and stood with you, and danced with those who protect life as a submarine docked at the base. two nights before, in gyeongsangbukdo elders laughed with us and sang songs cursing war. those elders, who had handed us steaming eomuk tang to chase off the cold night, barricaded in a shipping container the next day and stood in the way of two militaries. behind one of those militaries is the latest state on that land that wields power over the people, over you. behind the second was the state that blasted us, tore at our spirits, separated us from you. now we are becoming the ocean too. we are with you. we greet you in the morning and cry for you at night. may you be unearthed.
may we dance together on the ashes of the jeju naval base and all military bases.
welcome to a new day, our gureombi.
from a member of anti-imperialist, anti-racist gyopo group visit, november 2017
Juyeon JC Rhee
Nodutdol for Korean community development, located in New York City in the US has been visiting and standing with villagers and peace-keepers of Gangjeong village since 2010. We are deeply saddened on this 10th commemorative anniversary – blasting of the Gureombi Rock coast. We still see the Gureombi Rock in our minds. The Gureombi Rock is still our sacred base for livelihood and spiritual growth in maintaining our commitment to fight against militarism and to build true peace in Jeju Island and the world. Sisters and brothers, each of us are the Gureombi Rock when we are peace-keepers. Toojeng!
William H. Slavick
We live in a time when it has become quite clear that conditions for human life and its necessities are finite, yet we continue to level, obliterate, waste, burn, and pollute as if Earth is ever regenerate of whatever we destroy. Jeju’s fate should model the environmental responsibility its conversion to war purposes flouted.
William H. Slavick, Pax Christi Maine
Courageous Gangjeong Island villlagers waged a crucial struggle against the militarization of their home and I was honoured to join in solidarity. Militarization tears the social fabric and communities of resistance are our only hope against it. Despite it being blasted and now occupied by war machines, one day Gureombi will return to its people. What a priviledge to have been able to join this struggle! I have no doubt the people’s struggle will continue to inspire future movements for demilitarition and peace – which are both crucial for the survival of our species.
I visited Jeju Island in 2014. I will never forget what I witnessed there. The sacred beauty of Gureombi rock and beach. The power, love, commitment, strength, emotion, humor, resilience, and relationships of the people who refuse to give up. You welcomed us, strangers, and fed us a delicious meal. Your struggle against US imperialism protects not only Jeju but all of Asia and the Pacific, and all our kin across the world from military expansion. You inspire the world. The world is watching and supports you. I am so grateful to you. Seeing your devotion to the land that nourishes life truly changed me. We support you Jeju!
Love, Sara Spriggs in Oakland, California, USA
Mary Beth Sullivan
We send a message of solidarity to the people of Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island who continue to inspire the world with their persistent prayer and fierce resistance to the militarism that buried their sacred, rocky shore. We mourn March 7, 2012, when the blasting of Gureombi Rock began. The people who live the Gangjeong Village struggle inspire everyone on earth who refuses to be intimidated by the bullies of militarism. You give your lives to honor the sacredness of the natural world. Your efforts show the path to survival for the 21st Century. May your strong spirit continue to lead the way.
From Mary Beth Sullivan, Social Worker in Maine, USA, advisory board member of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
This year is the 50th year since Okinawa’s reversion [from US to Japanese control].
50 years ago, our predecessors hoped for an Okinawa without US bases, but after the reversion, not only US bases, but also Japanese self-defense force bases are multiplying one after another.
Stop the structural discrimination against Okinawa! US forces, get out of Asia!
With love, friendship, solidarity and thanks,
Ginowan-city Okinawa JAPAN
March 3, 2022
Toshio TAKAHASHI (Okinawa-Korea People’s Solidarity)
Many more than a hundred people from Okinawa have visited the persistent struggle of Gangjeong Villagers against the navy base, and met and connected in solidarity with the local villagers, their supporting colleagues, and people who have joined the struggle from around the world. For many years, while struggling to oppose base construction in Henoko and Takae, Futenma and Kadena, Miyako Island, Ishigaki and Yonaguni Islands, and on Okinawa Island, we have encouraged each other across the sea. Now we can’t come and go for exchange events because of the COVID pandemic covering the world, but our hearts are always one. We will continue to be with you. Tujaeng!
오키나와는 올해 [반환50년]입니다.
우리 선배들은 50년전에는 미군기지 없는 오키나와를 희망했지만, [반환]후 미구기지 분만아니라 일본 자위대기지까지 연이어 많아졌습니다.
구조적 오키나와 차별을 타파! 미군은 아시아에서 떠나라!
사랑, 우정, 연대, 그리고 감사로
Ginowan-city Okinawa JAPAN
海軍基地に反対する江汀村の粘り強い闘いの現場には、沖縄から、100人をはるかに超える人々が訪問し、地元の住民や支援の仲間たち、そして世界中から闘いに馳せ参じた人々と出会い、連帯のきずなでつながってきました。この長い時間、辺野古・高江で、普天間・嘉手納で、宮古島・石垣島・与那国島で、沖縄もまた、基地建設に反対する闘いの渦中にあり、海を越えて励ましあってきました。世界中が新型コロナ感染に覆われた今は、お互いに渡航して交流ができませんが、心はいつも一つです。앞으로도 함께 하겠습니다. 투쟁!
I had the privilege of visiting beautiful Gureombi and the equally beautiful movement that struggled so hard to save it. The destruction of the gorgeously intricate black volcanic rock, a sacred part of Gangjeong village, is an outrage and a crime that never had to occur. I am ashamed and apologize to the people of Gangjeong and South Korea and the region for the role that my government, the US government, played in the destruction and in the creation of the naval base that now sits awfully on the shoreline. The base has fueled the dangerous militarization of East Asia and should be closed. I hope people around the world take inspiration–as I do–from the brave movement of people that rallied to save Gureombi and that is still struggling to make the world more peaceful.
David Vine, Professor, American University, Washington, DC, USA
Women’s Voices Women Speak
Women’s Voices Women Speak stands in solidarity with Gangjeong on March 7th, 2022, the 10-year remembrance of the blasting of the Gureombi Rock to build yet another useless naval base. This is a grave injustice. As a collective of women resisting militarism in Hawaiʻi, where U.S. bases have desecrated Kanaka Maoli (indigenous) land and poisoned wai (fresh water), we see our struggle as interconnected with the struggle in Gangjeong. We are inspired by the people of Jeju Island who have demonstrated such courage and determination to protect their place known as a Peace Island. #SolidarityfromHonolulu #HawaiiforJeju #genuine_security (Sent by Kim Compoc)
I first learned of your long and difficult struggle to protect Gangjeong Village, its people, lands and waters, and all the other life, and Peace itself, from my friend and fellow Mainer Bruce Gagnon. In 2015 I had the great opportunity to visit Gangjeong for a short (too short!) time with a Veterans for Peace delegation, where I was able to meet many of the wonderful activists and see for myself what remains of the extreme natural beauty. I also witnessed this beauty’s desecration that had resulted from the brutal demolition and covering over of Gureombi and construction of the war-making Navy base.
I remain deeply inspired by the incredible persistence, creativity, and bravery of your ongoing resistance to the insanity of militarism. Many, many thanks.
With Love and Solidarity,
Dear Jeju peace campaigners,
I send you solidarity greetings on this sad 10th anniversary of the blasting of the precious Gureombi Rock. I remember so well the protests there and wish I could be with you again to aid you in your continuing struggle against the militarisation of your island of peace. Your protests have to continue and I hope you find the strength to continue your resistance.
I can hardly believe so much time has passed and the world is still at war contributing to the existential climate and biodiversity crises. The military are a major cause of these crises and all of us in our different ways must continue to work for disarmament and peace rather than allowing the continual preparations for war to destroy our world.
We are at a crucial time in the history of humankind and we need to act together to bring equity, justice, and compassion to all. We must work in solidarity with each other, across the false borders that try to separate us, in order to change the ways in which our governments, leaders and corporations are extracting and exploiting the resources of our planet through their military and economic power for the short term benefit of the very, very few which leaves the vast majority of the population and our environment in destitution, conflict and immense suffering.
You understand well that we all live or die together on this fragile planet. The struggle in Ganjeong is one that concerns us all as it is a struggle against the industrial war machine. You are brave, special war-resisters and an important part of our global peace loving community. I send you strength and love for the continuation of your struggle. I am with you always in spirit. Angie Zelter.
[Original request letter]
Dear friends around the world,
Hope you are very well in this hard time of COVID and wars..
We wonder whether some of you can write a short solidarity message (around 100 words) for Gangjeong upon the 10th remembrance year of the blasting of the Gureombi Rock (where the Jeju navy base is now built
For translation purposes, it will be great if we can have your messages no later than March 5th (In Korean time). If you can, please send a ~100 word message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are very sorry for the short notice of this request.
Yet, we are requesting this because we are aware that the anti-Jeju navy base struggle has been truly international. Without the mention of the devotion by internationals, the struggle loses its profound meaning.
Gureombi Rock, a 1.2km length contiguous rock coast next to the Gangjeong sea was an absolute preservation area with many spring waters and inhabited by many species including endangered species. It was a sacred site itself.
The South Korean government forcefully built the base there despite people’s fierce resistance. And this year hits the 10th year since the blast of Gureombi Rock for base-building. The blast started on March 7th, 2012 and continued for two months that year (many parts were just buried under concrete, also). The base now serves for the United States Indo-Pacific strategy, contributing to increasing regional military tension.
We, the people in Gangjeong remember the day of March 7th with tragic feelings but also with the determination that we should close the base someday. The day also reminds us that we still have many tasks as Jeju Island is in danger of more militarization including the building of a new navy base entry road.
As wars and militarization extend throughout the world, we hope this is another small chance to connect us and to build stronger solidarity.
For the past solidarity messages, you may refer to http://savejejunow.org/gangjeong-struggle-5000-days-solidarity-messages/
Love, friendship, solidarity, and gratitude,
The Gangjeong Village International Team
Attached photo: The Gureombi rock coast by Cho Sung-bong, 2011
Photo by Curry, 2021