On Sept. 4, 2011, Women's Voices Women Speak, Ann Wright, and a few friends gathered at the Korean Consulate of Hawai'i to hold a vigil in solidarity with peace activists on Jeju Island. This action was catalyzed by the current military and police encroachment on the Peace Camp at Gangjeong Village, Jeju. As we prepared for this event, Ann Wright reported back on her recent trip to Jeju Island. Despite the fact that Jeju island activists are being arrested and harassed for protecting the island from the naval base construction occurring on the island, they continue to protest.
Women's Voices Women Speak read the International Women's Network Against Militarism letter of support to Jeju Island activists to contextualize the vigil. They left messages of opposition to the Naval Base at Jeju on the Korean Consulate compound. Some wrote letters to the Korean Consulate. The Naval base on Jeju is to house Aegis destroyers, equipped with U.S. anti-ballistic missile and radar systems. This construction matters to Hawai'i because the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range on the island of Kaua'i is also part of the anti-ballistic missile defense system network. In 2009, Hawai'i Senator Daniel Inouye pushed for funding for Aegis Ashore test facility at Barking Sands. Women's Voices Women Speak stand in solidarity with peoples of Jeju island to expose how Asian and Pacific island nations are being used to connect networks of U.S. Military weaponry.
No Naval Base on Jeju!
No Military Expansion in Hawai'i!
End Military Dependence in all Nations!
APEC had a meeting in 2010 in Yokohama Japan. Here are perspectives from No APEC TV! and People's Plan Study Group about what is APEC. These are resources on alternative views on APEC from people's perspectives.
Message from the International Women’s Network Against Militarism to the peoples movement for No Naval Base on Jeju!
September 1, 2011
Dear friends in the struggle against US military expansion at Jeju Island,
We women from Okinawa, mainland Japan, the Philippines, Marshall Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Australia and west-coast USA send our greetings in solidarity with the people of Ganjeong who oppose the construction of a new naval base to house Aegis destroyers.
We understand that 94 percent of the residents do not want this base. We admire and respect your strong opposition by occupying land seized by the government and by blocking roads in an attempt to stop construction. We deplore the fact the South Korean government has ordered police to take further measures against you, especially as you have used every possible democratic means to overturn the decision to construct the base in the pristine waters and land that have been your livelihood for many generations.
We agree that this base and the increased militarization of the island of Jeju will create new security threats in an increasingly tense region.
We also live in communities that experience increased militarization and the effects of enormous military investments that distort our local economies and take resources needed for our communities to thrive. The political and military alliances between our governments and the United States jeopardize our genuine security. Indeed, U.S. military expansion in the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean relies on these alliances to tie our communities together according to their version of security that is not sustainable.
The plan to relocate U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam includes military construction projects that involve labor from Hawai’i, Micronesia and the Philippines. In addition to the destruction and loss of life caused by continued wars in the Middle East, these wars are also destabilizing our economies. For example, Filipinos who have been recruited to work on military construction projects are laid off during times of crisis and return to the Philippines where they have no jobs. On Guam, local companies cannot compete with larger military contractors and are seldom able to get contracts for base construction projects. The establishment of the U.S. military base at Ke Awa Lau o Pu’uloa, or Pearl Harbor, has transformed Oahu's food basket into a toxic “Superfund” site where many of Hawai’i's poorest communities live along its contaminated shores. In Puerto Rico, Governor Luis Fortuño has unleashed brutality against citizens, and suppression of their civil liberties because of protests against budget cuts to public services and education. In the continental United States a new campaign is calling for new priorities in federal spending away from war and toward services to support local communities.
We see your struggle as part of a wider pattern of people’s protest against increasing militarization.
Although we are far away, please know that we stand with you. We thank you for your courage to resist the militarization of your home. Your example inspires and strengthens us.
Signed, on behalf of the IWNAM:
Kozue Akibayashi, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Japan
Ellen-Rae Cachola, Women for Genuine Security/Women's Voices Women Speak, U.S. & Hawai'i
Grace Caligtan, Women's Voices Women Speak, Hawai'i
Lotlot de la Cruz, KAISAKA, Philippines
Cora Valdez Fabros, Scrap VFA Movement & Philippine Women's Network for Peace and Security, Philippines
Annie Fukushima, Women for Genuine Security, U.S.
Terri Keko'olani, Women's Voices Women Speak, Hawai'i
Gwyn Kirk, Women for Genuine Security, U.S.
Rev. Deborah Lee, Women for Genuine Security, U.S.
Bernadette “Gigi” Miranda, Women's Voices Women Speak, Hawai'i
Eri Oura, Women's Voices Women Speak, Hawai'i
María Reinat Pumarejo, Colectivo Ilé: Organizadoras para la Conciencia-en-Acción
Aida Santos-Maranan, Women's Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organization (WEDPRO), Philippines
Dr. Hannah Middleton, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Australia
Suzuyo Takazato, Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, Okinawa
Lisa Natividad, Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice, Guahan (Guam)
Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, WomanHealth Philippines.
Darlene Rodrigues, Women’s Voices Women Speak, Hawai’i
The International Women’s Network Against Militarism was formed in 1997 when forty women activists, policy-makers, teachers, and students from South Korea, Okinawa, mainland Japan, the Philippines and the continental United States gathered in Okinawa to strategize together about the negative effects of the US military in each of our countries. In 2000, women from Puerto Rico who opposed the US Navy bombing training on the island of Vieques also joined; followed in 2004 by women from Hawai’i and in 2007 women from Guam. The Network is not a membership organization, but a collaboration among women active in our own communities, who share a common mission to demilitarize their lands and communities. For more information, visit http://www.genuinesecurity.org.