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Jeju both subject, venue of meeting on global militarization trendsGangjeong naval base controversy highlighted at international peace conference, Feb. 24 to 26
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승인 2012.02.27  13:57:30
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▲ Activist and Global Network keynote speaker Angie Zelter examines a display at the 4.3 Peace Park in Jeju City, Feb. 24. Photo by Angela Kim

From Feb. 24 to Feb. 26, the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (Global Network) held the second part of its annual international peace conference on Jeju.

The conference was co-organized by the Global Network, Jeju Forum C, and 12 other organizations.

The Global Network is a network of some 160 groups from all over the world which are against the growth of militarization.

   
▲ Global Network Chairman Dave Webb. Photo by Angela Kim
Some 40 members of the Global Network came to Jeju after the first part of this year’s conference held in Hawaii, Feb. 18 to Feb. 22.

Chairman Dave Webb told The Weekly that the immediate goal of this year’s conference is to increase awareness about “what’s really happening” regarding the Gangjeong Naval Base controversy.

“Jeju Island is very important,” he said. “It’s highly likely that some of us will join the protest…we want to support.”

On the first day, attendees gathered at Jeju 4.3 Peace Park to learn about the island’s tragic history.

“It’s quite not the same scale, but it could be,” Webb said after his tour of the 4.3 exhibition, comparing the 4.3 massacre to what is happening in Gangjeong.

At 2 p.m., the conference began with Gangjeong village chief Kang Dong Gyun’s welcoming address, followed by speeches from Webb, monk Do-Beop, and the bishop of Jeju Kang U-Il.

Approximately 200 people ranging from Catholic nuns, Buddhist monks, students and activists, filled the auditorium at the Jeju 4.3 Peace Park.

   
▲ Attendees at the 4.3 Peace Park Auditorium. Photo by Angela Kim
   
▲ Photo by Angela Kim

“This Global Network Conferences give us all the opportunity ….[to] work together to prevent an arms race in outer space,” said Webb during his speech.

The bishop of Jeju Kang U-Il also gave a congratulatory speech; he thanked everyone, “Especially those who came to Jeju for peace from overseas.”

   
▲ Speakers and organizers of the event. Photo by Angela Kim

Keynote speaker Angie Zelter described her experiences as a peace and environmental campaigner, adding, “these tactics could be used in Gangjeong.”

On Saturday, members of the Global Network gathered to tour Gangjeong village. Some boarded kayaks and paddled into Gangjeong Port to view the naval base construction site and the damage to the gureombi (a distinct volcanic rock formation which is known on Jeju as “living rock”) up close.

That same day, Bruce Gagnon, the coordinator of the Global Network, and six other network members were arrested.

According to a blog entry by Gagnon, “Ten international activists and six Korean activists were arrested today after crawling under the razor wire at the Navy base on Jeju Island.” Mary Beth Sullivan, Natasha Mayers, Agneta Norberg, Gun-Brit Makitalo, Dennis Apel, Webb and Gagnon were arrested, but later released.

Additionally, more activists were arrested during a candlelight vigil held at Gangjeong that evening, but they too were soon released.
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