On 7 July, in Korea, Columban Fr Pat Cunningham joined an international group of Columban Lay Missionaries on a solidarity visit to Gangeong village, Jeju, the scene of an 8-year non violent struggle against the building of a Naval Base.
Gangjeong village is located on the southern coast of Jeju Island, the largest island in South Korea. The island contains the natural World Heritage Site, Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.
Villagers and peace activists are deeply concerned about the militarization of Jeju and the building of the base on this designated "Island of Peace". A Naval Base will place Jeju and the entire peninsula directly in the crosshairs of war between larger, more powerful nations.
The Lay Missionaries delivered the following message of solidarity and peace to the people of Gangjeong:
As an international group of Columban Lay Missionaries we visit Gangjeong in solidarity and friendship and join with you in calling for the protection of Gangjeong Village and Jeju Island from expanded militarization, which threatens all of Creation. We join you in calling for the building of the Naval Base to be stopped immediately.
We believe your on-going public witness is a sign of hope that another world is possible in which people of goodwill and faith from all cultures and religions can join together in a shared vision for peace. We celebrate your courage and creativity in expressing your voices for peace and for the wholeness of life. We join you calling for global peace and a world free of violence in all its forms.
We see the militarization of Jeju Island as part of a broader emphasis from the West on the militarization of the Asia Pacific. History tells us that military bases threaten ecosystems, cultural heritage, and the livelihoods of the local community, with women and children being particularly vulnerable. Military bases, missiles and missile defense systems once again place Jeju and the entire Korean peninsula directly in the crosshairs of war between larger more powerful nations.
Columban Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in Korea will be participating in the Grand March For Life and Peace of Gangjeong between 29th July – 2nd August and have devised a petition as an expression of their solidarity with the people of Gangjeong and all those opposed to the construction of the Naval Base.
Fr Pat Cunningham invites supporters internationally to SIGN THE PETITION and share it far and wide.
Columban Fr Pat Cunningham SSC is the Columban Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Coordinator in Korea.
Read another story by Fr Pat Cunningham:
The Ghosts of Jeju wins award