The Church against the military base in Jeju Island: “It is against Christian conscience”
» 08/20/2011 20:24
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
For over 7 years, the island was the theatre of a massacre of civilians by the former military dictatorship in South Korea’s: Today, Seoul wants to settle thousands of marines there. The President of the Korean bishops on a visit: “To remember the voice of the popes in search of disarmament, not war.”
Seoul (AsiaNews) – The island of Jeju “should be a constant invitation to peace. Building a military base here, where so much innocent blood has been spilled, offends Christian conscience: we remember the calls of all the great popes of centuries past and give voice to peace, not war”, said the president of the Korean Bishops Conference, Msgr. Peter Kang U-il, yesterday during a visit to the island.
The South Korean government plans to build on this island, which lies in the south of the Korean peninsula, a base for the national and U.S Marines. As recalled by the bishop, however, “this must be a land of peace, especially in light of the incidents of April 3. With a military presence the meaning of the death of those who have sacrificed their lives for freedom is lost. ”
The prelate was referring to the massacre that began on Jeju April 3, 1947 lasting until 1954, when South Korea was divided between the military dictatorship and the U.S. presence, thousands of people died on the island. These were part of armed civilian groups, who opposed the bloody rule of Seoul. Thanks also to the leadership of the Church, the dictatorship was defeated and Jeju became a symbol of resistance.
In addition, for Msgr. Kang there are also practical questions: “Is it really useful to build a military outpost costing billions of dollars today, in a time when so many people suffer from the economic crisis and the downturn in the markets? I do not think so. Anyway, as Christians our conscience tells us that it is wrong, that this construction is opposed to the divine plan for our salvation. ”
Speaking before thousands of faithful, the president of Cbck concluded: “All the popes of our age have with one voice asked the world to follow the path of disarmament. Every Christian should hear this voice that speaks of truth, and be in the front line to save the world from the violence that will destroy it. “