2012 in Review. In Korean only for now.

Korean. Directed by Dunguree


As done at the end of every year, an old year is good-byed and a New Year is welcomed with the fire ceremony and wind-lantern flying. Last year, people made a ceremony of putting the fire on the cotton-made letters of ‘absolutely no Jeju naval base.’

The year of 2012 started with the arrest of about 20 Catholic nuns (which was the biggest arrest of Catholic nuns since the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948). Meanwhile, it was an unforgettable winter for the Save Our Sea Team who struggled in the freezing and snowy sea to stop the maritime construction. The people also fought against the navy who took the Gureombi Rock, a public property, as if it is its own land. About 14 people were arrested on a day during their protest against the demolition of people’s property in the Gureombi Rock. On Fec. 27, a villager who protested against the police violence on her sister was violently arrested along with her younger brother (* It was right after the International peace conference (GN annual meeting from Feb. 24 to 26)).

The blast of the Gureombi Rock started on March 7. During people’s fierce protests, about 100 people were arrested within a month. Rev. Lee Jeong-Hoon and Catholic priest, Kim Jeong-Wook(Jesuit) were imprisoned each for 40 days. Lim Ho Young, leader of media team was violently arrested at the end of March. Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo was released after about 40 day’s prison fast following more than 70 days’ fast including about 60 prison days in 2011.

Benjamin Monnet who entered the Gureombi Rock and climbed up on a crane along with Kim Seri on March 12 was forcefully expelled on March 14. He had been also with Angie Zelter, a UK peace activist, who entered the Gureombi Rock during the International peace conference and was enforced later to return back to her home country on her planned date. Beside them, at least 20 internationals including Dr. Cha Im-Ok, three members of Veterans for Peace and 16 Okinawa and Japanese peace activists have been denied entry to Korea, in relation to the struggle against the jeju naval base [from August 26, 2011 to Oct. 16, 2012]

The beginning of April started with a violent arrest of Dr. Song Kang-Ho. On April 16, Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyun fell from the highly filed-up tetra pods when he and others protested against the coast guards’ unreasonable oppression on the peace activists. (* He still suffers for the pain of his spine)

In May, villagers’ fury on the Island governor was expressed by near 1,000 bows daily and hair-shaving protest that included Jeong Yeong-Hee, Chairwoman of the Village Women’s Association. in front of the Island Government hall. Meanwhile, In front of construction gate, people also experienced the violence by company thugs who even dared to grab the throat of Fr. Mun.

On a day of June, people occupied the venue for the navy’s hearing on the military presidential house planned to be set up in the village. People eventually dissipated the navy’s hearing. On June 14, Mr. Kim Bok-Chul was arrested . He had been targeted by the police for a long time. He is still in prison and met his 200th day in jail on Dec. 28, 2012. On June 30, Mr. Kim Dong-Won, a member of Save Our Sea team was arrested. (* He was released on Oct. 24)

In July, during people’s protest, the police sprayed even tear-liquid to the people.

It was August that the police even trampled down the Catholic priest’ Eucharist. Since then, the police’s merciless violence was done against people for two weeks. It was on Aug. 29, that the typhoons destroyed the navy’s seven caissons, concrete structures, the basis of the breakwater construction, which are told to cost 35 billion won.

It was September 6 that 5 people occupied caissons to protest against the naval base construction during the WCC (World Conservation Congress) period from June 6 to 9. Illegal photo & video collection of protesting people was also raised this time.

On Oct. 25, night time entry started and Fr. Lee Young-Chan was arrested on Oct. 26 (* He was released in December after 63 days.

November was of a struggle against the 2013 Jeju naval base budget. On Nov. 29, about 20 people in Gangjeong and Seoul shaved their hairs in protest of the ruling Saenuri Party’s passing the budget in snatched way. People including Fr. Mun slept on the street in front of the National Assembly, fighting against cold weather.

However, despite people’s fierce struggle, Park Geun-Hye, a daughter of the military dictatorship and candidate of the ruling conservative Saenuri Party was elected amid many suspicions on unfair election and the ruling and opposition parties would eventually pass the most of 2013 Jeju naval base budget, 201 billion won, on Dec. 31.

The 2012 is remembered with many hardships. Still we would remember all the people’s inspiring efforts such as a month-long nationwide candle relay from June 29, people’s sports meeting, Island peace pilgrim from July 30 to Aug. 4, Struggle upon the WCC and people’s month-long nationwide march.

We will also remember international people’s support, friendship, solidarity throughout the year. Beside the forceful deportation of Benjamin and exit order on Angie Zelter, entry denial against at least 20 international peace activists, arrest of 10 internationals including the GN members on Feb. 26. Paco Booyah was the first international to stand in the court under the false charge of so called ‘obstruction on business,’ on Dec. 21. We will also remember many international friends who have visited us and gratefully showed their kind support for and concern with the struggle.

The 2013 may be more difficult year for all of us. Still our vision and efforts to realize the Life and Peace village and Island will never end. Here is the Gangjeong village.