Sunday, April 12, 2009
* Informed in Bruce Gagnon's blog as below*
Saturday, April 11, 2009 GETTING READY FOR SPACE ORGANIZING CONFERENCE IN KOREA
We begin our journey to South Korea tomorrow to attend the Global Network's 17th annual space organizing conference that will be held in Seoul. Mary Beth, and fellow Maine Veterans for Peace member Tom Sturtevant (who was in the Korean war), will be attending the confab as well and both will also be speaking at the event.
When we arrive in South Korea we will be met by friend Sung-Hee Choi who has come to the past four GN conferences that we held in Nebraska, Germany, New York City, and Maine. If it was not for the extraordinary efforts of Sung-Hee (who was an art teacher in New York City for many years until her Visa ran out) we'd not be meeting in Korea. Also instrumental in making it possible for us to meet in Korea is Lee Haeng-Woo who is the President of the National Association of Korean Americans and lives in New Jersey.
Things will get started on April 16 with a field trip to the DMZ which will be led by Lee Si-Woo, an internationally known photographer who is famous for documenting the scene along the heavily militarized border between the north and south.
April 17 will be our day-long conference with speakers from all over the world, most of whom are involved in local struggles against US space related facilities and "missile defense" systems.
On the morning of April 18 we will hold the GN's internal business portion of the conference where I give my reports and we have strategy discussions. Then that afternoon we all jump on a bus and visit Pyeongtaek which is the emerging hub of a major US military base now under construction. In order to build this base large tracts of land are being taken from local farmers. We will meet with local citizens and join a protest with them in front of Osan Air Force Base.
On April 19 we will take another trip to a community struggling against expansion of US military training areas. The Pan-Korean Committee against the Expansion of the Mugeon-ri Military Training Fields (pictured above) will host us for a look at the military expansion area, a dinner and shared words, and then a candlelight vigil.
All conference participants will be staying in the same location which will make it much easier for ongoing dialogue with everyone who has come from so far away for the event. Our Korean hosts have done a remarkable job putting this event together and we are very grateful for all their hard work.
I hope to be able to make a few blog posts from Korea so stay tuned.
posted by Bruce Gagnon | 10:31 AM