[This letter was published just before Christmas in the Weekly Packet. I meant to distribute it at the time for those who may have missed it, but it got away from me. Thank you to Dud H. for giving us permission to send it out broadly. — JR]
To the editor:
My thanks go to Peninsula Peace & Justice and Island Peace & Justice (full disclosure—I am a member of IP&J) whose work inspires us to be mindful of our responsibilities as citizens and is especially visible at this time of the year with the posting of the “Peace on Earth” banners in Blue Hill village and on Deer Isle. But I write especially in gratitude for the “Save Jeju Now” banner posted at the Field of Flags on Main Street.
Jeju, a South Korean island sits in the China Sea, 60 miles south of the Korean peninsula. A naval base is being constructed there in ironic contradiction to its official designation, by the South Korean government, as the “Island of Peace”. This appellation was given the island of 600,000 in 2004, in acknowledgement of the Jeju massacre which occurred in 1948 and resulted in the slaughter of 30-80,000 lives and the razing of over 40,000 homes at the hands of Korean police forces under the directional control of the U.S. military.
The base will support the U.S. “pivot” to Asia of American military forces and will raise tensions in the area. Jeju islanders, joined on occasion by international activists, Blue Hill resident Carolyn Coe and myself among them, have stood in objection since 2006 when construction began.
‘Tis the season to know better what is being done by our country around the world. Please go to savejejunow.org.
Veterans for Peace