Gwangju International Center


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GIC Events

"Practicing Solidarity in Jeju"

▶ Date: April 6, 2019

 Title: Practicing Solidarity in Jeju

▶ Speaker: Kaia Vereide

▶ Review: BAE Do Hyeop (GIC Volunteer)



These days, tens of thousands of news items are flooded every day. Just as breaking news from yesterday is fading from the memory of people living today, it is not awkward at all for us to forget what happened in Gangjeong Village in Jeju Island. How much do you remember about Gangjeong Village? Destruction of Kurumbi rocks, fierce confrontation between demonstrators and police, fear of arms race that would spread from the construction of naval base, marine being blamed in a truck; people would remember at least some moments of what happened. After a long time since the news went up and down, the naval base was eventually completed in Gangjeong Village.


 So far, the demonstrators are holding campaign and bowing a hundred times every Saturday. I know the majority of people are not satisfied with the result, but why are they still doing it for? I could hear the reason from Kaia Vereide from America has lived for 6 years in Gangjeong Village.


 Kaia became interested in international affairs in her high school days through an event commemorating the massacre of Darfur, South Sudan. She got appalled by the fact that such thing happened even now in 21st century. While agonizing over what she could do other than pray for them, she decided to study international studies and has since campaigned for peace through various NGOs, including anti-death penalty rallies and anti-military support from the U.S. military dictatorship in South America.

 While working through various institutions, she came to Gangjeong Village with a group called Frontiers. The organization is for educational activities for countries with conflicts and has a hub for activists in Gangjeong. Kaia said she was interested in the history of Jeju Island of numerous foreign along with the Jeju 4.3 incident, and could not understand how to overcome its history and build a naval base there that had been reborn as an island of peace by hosting a pleasant natural environment and various international conferences or events.


After all, the naval base was built, but the reason why Kaia is still a hundred times ahead of him was that the people who were with him were good and that they should learn their commitment to peace and how to carry it through. Now, Kang's rally is not just for Kang. The move was taken a step further as an event to pray for peace in all parts of the world in conjunction with the peace movement for other disputed areas. Kaia is continuing a number of activities, including conducting peace classes as well as rallies. With the belief that these efforts are the beginning of a more peaceful world.


 Who keeps peace? Superman? Police? How should peace be kept? By being stronger than others? By putting down all the weapons all together? Then, what is peace? Everyone answers to this question differently. And I also find it is difficult to answer the above questions clearly. But I believe that at least to the extent of protecting my loved ones from immediate threats is to keep 'our' peace.

I don't know even now while I'm studying in college, but Kaia insists on putting down the weapons firmly. She responded by doing what she believed. Regardless of right or wrong, the image of someone dedicates his or her life to the values for all is truly noble. Isn't that why all saints are being respected? Although she did not mark as great as historic people yet, I would dare to say that Kaia's life was never been futile in any aspect. I hope that the sweat of her and her colleagues to spread in the hearts of all those who look forward to peace.