Filmed March 21, 2015 in front of Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. On a snowy, cold winter day, just as the workers were heading home after a shift change, some 50 activists gathered to protest the building of war ships, and to participate in the national day of mobilization against the war machine.
Paco Michelson and his wife Hee Eun “Silver” Park attended the event and spoke passionately about their three years in Gangjeong Village where the massive naval base under construction is destroying the village, livelihoods and the environment.
Bruce Gagnon gave an impassioned talk about what the military industrial complex is doing to our government and our treasury, and how America’s aggression against Russia has the world on the brink of a nuclear World War III.
Lisa Savage wrote the street theater play, Canteen Annie at the Bomb Factory, and Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen organized the event as part of the lenten vigils at BIW.
This episode has photos from today’s over-the-top police assault on the Village of Gangjeong to dismantle a Peace Tent and tower. An update on the progress of the base construction and Joyakgol screening The Ghosts of Jeju around S. Korea.
Also a commentary on the state of US aggression around the globe.
On November 18, The Ghosts of Jeju was screened at Okinawa University. More than 100 people attended and it left people in tears.
Not a day goes by that I am not humbled by how people the world over have received this film. It is now available in Korean, Japanese, and French with subtitles. The Spanish and Russian translations are underway…all tedious work done by volunteers who have been moved by the Story of Jeju.
Here’s a rather lengthy comment from Natsuhiko Watase, a Japanese non-fiction writer after viewing The Ghosts of Jeju at Okinawa University. There were over 100 people in attendance.
Thank you for the last evening.
I am glad that I made it.
Ms. Shiroma (the organizer/local activist) asked me to send my thoughts to you, which I did to FB but I am copying and pasting it here in e-mail.
I saw a documentary film “the Ghost of Jeju”
Post film talk session surrounding Rachel Clark who had introduced this film, was good thing to participate. For the sake of the US military industry, they make bases and start wars!
Wars kill innocent people in a huge scale, construction of bases violates human rights of local residents, and destroy their precious nature. This film conveys this message very well.
At the Sakurazaka Theater, I have seen “the Crombie” which deals with people who oppose the construction of the naval base in Jeju (in a different way). Tonight’s experience further deepened my understanding.
Some images overlapped with “the Targeted Village” by Chie Miami and “the Pressured to Kill in the Ocean” by Yukihisa Fujimoto and Asako Kageyama, in terms of irrational.
Not only Takae, Oura Bay in Henoko, this Gunjung village in Jeju Island became a precious place of mine as of today.
When I actually visit there, such romanticism will be totally destroyed by its harsh reality. At least my biggest gain from tonight’s film viewing was that I clearly linked Okinawa and Juju Island.
I had to leave before the end of talk session. Rachel, Kimiko, Ms. Shiroma who invited me, and all the participants, thank you very much.
I wish as many people can watch this film.
Joyakgol says that it is being very well received by young and old alike. For most it is a “crash course” in the 4.3 massacre event, and an “eye-opener” about the US imperial advance on Jeju and the Pacific.
Thanks to Joyakgol, whom many of you will remember when he traveled with me on a 13 city tour with the film beginning with the Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival, who finished the Korean version with subtitles and is screening it all over South Korea.
I am so gratified that Korean people here in America have welcomed the film and thank me for telling their story. I can only hope that people all over South Korea are moved and informed by The Ghosts of Jeju, and that they take responsibility for the deeds of their government.
The reaction seems to be the same around the world where it has been seen in 14 countries that I know about. Even more gratifying is the offer by volunteers to translate it into Japanese, French, Spanish, and Russian.
Without the financial support of so many of you, this would not be happening. I hope you realize that your contributions have helped to tell this important story all over the world.
After seeing the film, people always ask “what can we do to help.” Among the many things people can do, the most effective have been to purchase copies of the film and share it widely and to contribute so that I can continue this important work.
As I say in the film, “with knowledge comes responsibility, the least we can do is amplify the voices of Gangjeong.”
Since the publication of my documentary, The Ghosts of Jeju, I have focused almost exclusively on peace and justice issues and climate change.
This is the first in a series on Peacemakers I have met as I’ve traveled around the country screening The Ghosts of Jeju. The connection with the 7 yr peaceful, non-violent protest in Gangjeong Village should be obvious.
The people in this series have all been life-long activists.
Christine DeTroy’s story is very moving. Her journey began in Nazi Germany during the war when a farewell meeting with Frau Rosa Abraham, a Jew who was deported to a concentration camp near Prague and later died in a gas chamber, had a profound impact on her life.
Ever since her arrival in America after the war, she has been an outspoken activist and this is her story.
Thanks to my dear friend, Joyakgol, a Gangjeong peace activist, who traveled with me from The Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival to the West Coast for screening in 13 cities, the Korean version of The Ghosts of Jeju has been completed.
Joyakgol edited and finalized the translation upon his return to Korea where he has been presenting the film. Joyakgol will also present the film this month at the following film festivals: Cheju Fringe Festival, the Environmental Film Festival in Incheon, The Catholic Film Festival, The Gwangju Human Rights Film Festival, and the Jeju Peace Festival.
He will be accompanied by Professor Yang Yoon-Mo, the former Korean film critic for 30 years, who left his career to defend his home. He has been imprisoned four times for protesting the construction of the navel base and went on hunger strikes each time. Here is a short clip from The Ghosts of Jeju:
I am happy to say that the Japanese version is nearing completion with only the subtitles to be added. The film is currently being translated into French with the subtitles due to be completed later this year. All of this work is being done gratis by people who have been moved by the film.
It is simply amazing that this almost no budget film has not only been screened hundreds of times here in America, but found its way to at least 16 countries that I know of, including Russia and Taiwan.
I am humbled and gratified by the appeal of The Ghosts of Jeju. As my good friend, Charles Hanley, the Associated Press Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Bridge at No Gun Ri told me, “you have no idea of the magnitude of the story you fell into.”
On going to Jeju in September of 2012, I thought I was going to make a short film about another anti-war, anti-U.S. militarism protest in a far-off land. And, like me when I discovered the untold and hidden story of the U.S. in Korea since 1945, Americans who see the film express the same disbelief, anger, and shame that I felt. The many Korean people in America who have seen it all thank me for telling this story which had been hidden from them as well.
You can help me continue to spread the film in the U.S. and around the world by purchasing a copy of the film in English or Korean and sharing it widely. There are no royalties, fees, or permissions needed. To date, I have not been compensated. Proceeds from the sale of the film have allowed me to make two cross country trips and countless regional trips to present it to both large and small groups.
Later this month I will be presenting it to the Peace & Justice Studies Association annual conference in San Diego, and the following week it will be screened by the Korean Studies Department at UCLA in a return visit.
The film is being sold in Korea with all of the proceeds going to the activists in Gangjeong Village, and all of the proceeds from copies purchased in Korea on line at www.theghostsofjeju.net will also go to Gangjeong.
Missed a few weeks because of illness. Here’s the 10th edition of The Spirit of Gangjeong.
Thanks to all of you who have contributed and continue to contribute towards my current project. But, it isn’t money that fuels my fire.
Amidst all of the dark and frightening barrage of daily news, here’s what is bright and hopeful.
The following email is what is most gratifying and why I do what I do. These three fellows were two years behind me at the Carmelite Junior Seminary in Hamilton, MA back in the 60’s. One of them heard about The Ghosts of Jeju and ordered it. Since the three have remained close throughout the years and get together regularly, they watched the film recently, and here is what they had to say:
This past weekend we were finally able to view your film: The Ghosts of Jeju. We were all impressed. It’s obvious that a great deal of research, work and heart went into the film–your commitment to the issue and the people there is clear.
All of us learned quite a bit about a situation we confess we knew nothing about. Even though all of us would consider ourselves Catholics who believe firmly in the gospel of peace and justice, much of what was presented was a revelation. We were aware of the massacre at the bridge during the Korean War, but did not know about the earlier slaughter on the island. It is reminiscent of US policy in Central America where anyone who protest the status quo or struggles for true justice is considered a communist…to be eliminated.
We likewise weren’t aware of some of the more recent dimensions in US Geopolitical thinking. We were shocked about the outer space dimension and the language used by the military about such a “cool” strategy.
So, Regis, we want to thank you for the work you have done telling a story that deserves to be told. We share with you the same sense of responsibility as citizens and as people of faith. We appreciate the commitment required of us all to make this world more just and peaceful.
It would be great to get together with you sometime. I know we’ll have plenty more to discuss. And since the three of us do meet up occasionally in New Hampshire it’s not too far afield to travel to Maine.
Redacted slightly so as to “protect the innocent.” 🙂
This is not about race and to buy into that line is to miss the most pernicious attack on our freedoms…EVER! What happened during the Vietnam War protests, Kent State, the riots in 1968-69 were only a preview of what was to come.
The violent, systematic and coordinated put down of Occupy nation-wide by military-armed local police, the U. Cal Davis student protest and the pepper spraying incident by university security guards dressed as riot cops, numerous accounts of local law enforcement in riot gear killing and brutalizing innocent and unarmed citizens – young and old – and of course the pre-planned lockdown of Boston after the marathon, all point to one thing: the dark forces that have overtaken our government know that massive uprisings are coming and they are prepared to hold onto their power at all costs.
They are the same ones who funded both sides of WWI and WWII, and the same who continue the stalemate in Korea, extended the war in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos because war is profitable, and keeps them in power.
And they are the same ones backing the Israeli genocide in Gaza, and the neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine and the goading of Russia into war.
Who are these dark forces? “THEY” are the big banks, the IMF, the World Bank, the military industrial complex (all those good jobs in every state manufacturing articles of war), the multi and transnational corporations, and the elite, wealthy oligarchs, all of whom profit handsomely from war.
They will stop at nothing, not even the ravages of climate change which threatens all life on the planet, and to which they have contributed more than anything else.
Capitalism has been the evil, driving force behind it all…and Americans have fallen for the lies and myths of American Exceptionalism, The American Way of Life, and the spreading of freedom and Democracy around the world.
If one honestly examines the facts since the discovery of the Americas by Europeans, it is a history of genocide, the abuse of human rights, endless wars for profit and the extraction of resources by force.
The facts are, America has invaded, bombed and created chaos more than 400 times all over the world since 1798. America has been responsible for untold millions of deaths of innocent civilians. And, instead of spreading freedom and Democracy around the world, America has spread nothing but death, destruction, and abject poverty.
It is important to understand that presidents and the U.S. Congress do not make foreign policy, conduct wars, and inflate the already bloated war budget. Politicians have long been puppets in the hands of these dark forces.
As my friend John Pilger has stated, “there are only two superpowers left in the world today; the regime in Washington, by which he means the dark forces controlling the U.S. government, and popular uprisings around the world.”
John concludes by saying, “If we remain silent, victory over us is assured.”
And therein lies the hope. The people of the world are rising up in China, Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan and Okinawa, The Philippines to name just a few.
The uprising in Ferguson is in tune with Occupy which is not dead, 350.org world-wide, and all of those millions of people everywhere demanding an end to war, an end to inequality, and an end to oppressive and tyrannical governments.
Our only hope as a human species is that we reach critical mass, a tipping point, when a new world order emerges that is based upon justice, equality, freedom, and true democratic institutions.
It may be too late for Americans to wake up, take back our country and join the rest of the world in a peaceful, non-violent uprising. I hope not.
With the ravages of climate change threatening life on the planet within this century, there isn’t much time left.
Viva La Revolucion!
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver puts the protests and over-the-top police oppression in Ferguson, Missouri in perspective. It is a must watch.