Wednesday, April 1, 2009
* Image Source*
1. Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea
2.~8. No base stories of Korea
Today, April 1 is the 2nd anniversary of the immolation of Heo Se-Wook. The cause can be read in the cited letter below. I had a chance of visiting his tomb (2nd photo) last July when Jeong, Yoo-Mi, one of my friends, an adored Korean American activist (4th photo) died for a stomach cancer. The Maseok Moran Park in the Gyeonggi province (5th photo) is special for so many activists’ tombs.
There is Chun, Tae-Il, a textile worker who immolated in his early 20s for the workers’ rights in the 1970s, under the government of the military dictatorship (3rd photo) He has been said to be a first beacon for the South Korean labor movement becoming mass movement. He only graduated an elementary school but was intellectual, sincere with a very good heart. He remained the beautiful diary by that not only workers but so many students could not sleep in the nights. He still lives in many people’s hearts.
Like Chun, Heo was a very integral person. He can be specially memorized now to the people who have been against the expansion of the Mugeon-ri military training fields since last August. Heo started his unification movement combined with labor movement upon the two 15 year old girls’ death nearby the Mugeon-ri military training field in 2002 (6th, 7th photo). The two girls were killed on their way to their friends’ birthday party by the U.S. tank in training. The soldiers simply ignored the girls shown in their view. It was illegal itself that a tank processed on such a narrow road. Heo was very active against the expansion of the Pyeongteaek U.S. base, as well. His trace is everywhere.
The activists would have the 2nd anniversary day of his death on April 12. After that, they would participate in the peace march by the Pan-Korean Committee against the Expansion of the Mugun-ri Military Training Fields and Village people’s committee against the Expansion of the Mugeon-ri military training fields.
Spring has come with April with all the memories that need to be kept.
On April, 2007, No base stories of Korea wrote. The letter was gratefully forwarded on Bruce Gagnon’s blog at the time.
A death of a taxi driver
Recent days are very hard for many Koreans. Needless to say, the violence by a South Korean student in the United States, that sacrificed many precious lives is already unbearably sad.
But for me, today’s Korean news of the death of a taxi driver, Heo Se-Wook, 53, who self- immolated himself as a protest against unjust FTA and US base expansion in Korea, on April1 during the mass protest of Anti US-SK Free Trade Agreement in Seoul just makes me mute. I can hardly express this feeling. He just wakes up many Koreans including me.
He was a SPARK(Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea) member. An introspective, calm but with the most integral personality, he was one of the rare examples of the organic intellectuals whose origin was desperately poor working class. Never having the chance of high education, he was always poor and desperate for making living.
His life was changed in 1994 when he saw a woman activist beaten by police during the protest for the poor in Korea. Since then, he began to study himself on social justice, knocking the doors of the activist organizations, always in agony for what he could do best for the people whom he loved.
The news of his death was known today. All the SPARK activists who were so loved by him and loved him so much are in deep unspeakable sorrow.
I tried to find a English summary of it in their website but quite understandably, they had no spare for it. I can only guess how his act and death was shock and sorrow for them . I feel it is my responsibility to let you know the news even if this is a humble summary.
You can see his photo and Korean web video here. His name was Heo Se- Wook, born in 1953. He was the person who never abandoned his integrity. He will live forever in many Korean?s heart.
You can leave your note on the e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks very much .
http://www.spark946.org/popup/20070415_sewook.htm [ link no more works]
* Related article*
Man who immolated himself in protest of FTA dies
Activist and taxi driver