Saturday, February 05, 2011

Life and Death in Gangjeong

There has been much talk recently over the cultural and historic properties in the Pagat area of Northeastern Guam, and where exactly Pagat begins and ends. Last weekend and this past weekend I went with members of We Are Guahan into the northern section of Pagat to see what artifacts we could find. Although we weren't the first to find them, we found quite a bit of latte and lusong, which I'm sure I'll be writing about very soon on this blog.

The issue of historic relics and cultural artifacts reminds me of the current situation in Gangjeong Village, on Jeju Island in South Korea. Although the villager of Gangjeong have been fiercely resisting the creation of a military dock there which will be used by both US and South Korean Navy forces, the construction and hence the destruction of parts of the coast and the land in Gangjeong have already begun.

As usual, the blog where you can find the most update to date info on this (which is graciously translated into English by the author) is No Base Stories of Korea, which is where I found the video below, as well as a poem which was written recently by the son of a Gangjeong Villager describing his anguish over what is happening on their coast.

Whenever large military projects are undertaken, whether it be a Naval Base in Jeju or a firing range near Pagat, there are a number of important and obvious questions which are sadly rarely ever asked, usually because of some vague, abstract and more wishful than anything hope for some economic boost or boom. In the case of Gangjeong, while I was there last year, one simple question which every villager asked but which no one wanted to answer, was why use such rich and fertile land to build a base? The area where this Navy base will be built is so abundant in water that the villagers say it was the first place where their ancestors were able to plant rice. Why would you want to use something which can be so important in providing life, to create a place which is so invested in death? For those who have been paying attention, while few are claiming that Pagat is rich agricultural lands, the similarity should still be clear.

Video taken on Feb. 2, 2011

South Korea government has planned naval base construction in Gangjeong village, Jeju Island since 2007. Despite the villagers' struggles against it, including many lawsuits for more than three years and eight months, the navy is pushing the plan.

Recently it has completed navy field office at the end of January and its bay & harbor construction starts in February, right after the New Year holidays which are from Feb. 2 to 6, 2011 in lunar calendar.

But it has to go through excavation research on cultural properties in the other planned areas such as farmlands by law. While the first research by the Jeju Cultural Heritage foundation that the navy had requested to do on behalf of it was done for the area of now completed naval field office from March 22 to May 7, 2010, the navy remained three other bigger areas. The 2nd excavation research started on Jan. 25 and is estimated to need 54 days, except for bad weather and holidays.

The video was taken on Feb. 2 when the excavation was posed for holiday. The area is near the navy field office. You can see some excavation trenches where the research was finished or still going on.

Some villagers say they were told that there some relics had been discovered in this area. But relics are not enough to stop the opposed naval base construction. If any remains not relics are found in one of the three areas, the navy should stop the naval base construction, which is villagers' hope and is the reason why they and other people should monitor the excavations. If not there is the possibility that the navy may unilaterally dispose the process, hiding the result to the people.

유적에 대한 바램 -제주 해군 기지를 반대하며

2011년 2월 2일 찍혀진 비디오

남한 정부는 제주도 강정 마을에 2007년부터 해군 기지 건설을 계획해왔습니다. 3년 8개월 동안 많은 소송들을 포함한 주민들의 투쟁에도 불구하고 해군은 그 계획을 밀어붙이고 있습니다.

해군은 최근 1월 말 현장 사무소를 완공하고 그 항만 공사를 2월에 시작할 것인데 음력으로 새해 휴일들인 2월 2일부터 6일 직후가 될 것입니다.

그러나 해군은 법에 의해 농지등 다른 예정 지역들에서 문화재 발굴 조사를 거쳐야 합니다. 해군이 요청하여 제주문화 유산 재단에 의해 1차 조사가 2010년 3월 22일부터 5월 2일까지 현재 완성된 해군 현장 사무소 지역에 행해졌는데 해군은 다른 더 큰 지역을 3개 남기고 있습니다. 2차 조사는 2011년 1월 25일 시작, 54일이 소요될 것으로 산정되는데 이는 악천후와 휴일들을 제외합니다.

비디오는 2월 2일 찍혀진 것으로 휴일로 인해 발굴이 멈춰진 날입니다. 이 지역은 현장 사무소에서 가까운 지역입니다. 발굴 조사가 끝나거나 진행되고 있는 지역을 보실 수 있습니다.

몇 마을 주민 분들이 이 지역에서 몇 유물들이 발견되었다고 들었다고 말했습니다. 그러나 유물들은 반대되는 해군 기지 공사를 중단하게 할 수 없습니다. 세 지역에서 유물이 아닌 유적이 발견된다면 해군은 공사를 중단해야 하는데 그것은 주민들의 희망이기도 하고 이 발굴이 주민들과 다른 사람들에 의해 모니터 되어야 하는 이유입니다. 그렇지 않으면 해군이 사람들에게 그 결과를 숨기고 일방적으로 과정을 처리할 가능성이 있는 것입니다.


만세 삼창
Three Cheers

강정 주민 민성 아빠 씀
By Minsung’s dad, Gangjeong villager

넓디 넓은 중덕 바위에 외소한 몸뚱이누워 하늘을 본다
I look at the sky laying my short and small body on a spacious Joongduk rock.

차거운 겨울 바람이 온몸이 져리도록 불어 온다
A cold winter wind blows as much as my body benumbed.

세차게 불어 주는 겨울바람 때문인가
Is it because of this winter wind violently blowing?

마음이 춥다 아니 가슴이 아프도록 슬프다
My heart feels coldness-no-it is rather sad to the extent my chest being painful

나라를 생각 하는 마음 으로 소중한 자연이 파괴됨 을 바라보며
Seeing precious nature being destroyed, with the heart thinking of nation

만세 삼창 이라도 부를까
Will I shout three cheers?

작은 몸뚱이 하나가 울음보가 터졌구나
My small body bursts with cry

피를 토하는 심정은 어찌할꼬
How should I deal with my blood-vomiting emotion?

생각 하면 할수록 분통이 터진다
Fury bursts as I think and think

울분이 치밀어 오른다
Pent-up rage springs

들리는가 운명이 휘감아 도는 바위에 울음소리를
Do you hear the cry of the rocks around which fate winds

들리는가 먼곳. 가까운곳 으로 밀려오는 파도에 몸부림을
Do you hear the twisting of sea waves being pushed far and near?

아풀싸: 그리움 과 시작의 끝자락에 메달린 초생달 과 같은 신세인가
D’ oh: Is it a lot like a crescent moon hung at the end of missing and beginning?

말하노니 천지여
I tell you, sky and earth

이 비극은 민초의 뜻이 아님을
That this tragedy is not the will of grassroots

말하노니 중덕바당아
I tell you, Joongduk Sea

이 비극 또한 자연를 사랑한 모든이 에 뜻이 아님을
That this tragedy is not the will of all the people who love nature

To the creatures in sky

바닷속 바위틈 속에 속한 모든 생명체에게 고하노라
To all the living creatures belong to the sea and gaps among the rocks, I tell

이 비극은 평화를 사랑하는 모든 사람들에 생각이 아님을.........
That this tragedy is not the idea of all the people who love peace……

2011년 1월 24일
Jan. 24, 2011

강정 주민, 민성 아빠
By Minsung’s dad, Gangjeong villager


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