Commentary: Not only Koreans who live in Japan but also many Japanese -- far more than one would think after watching a few hours of TV programs about North Korea -- are yearning for an end to the Korean War. Peace is popular! Our global candlelight solidarity action in Nagoya demonstrated that.
Peace for the Korean Peninsula:
Candle Action in Nagoya City Joseph Essertier / World Beyond War Link to a 1 hour 9 minute video here
(March 31, 2018) -- Not only Koreans who live in Japan but also many Japanese -- far more than one would think after watching a few hours of TV programs about North Korea -- are yearning for an end to the Korean War. Peace is popular! Our global candlelight solidarity action in Nagoya demonstrated that.
It is one thing to understand this from polls, and quite another to see the evidence in the wide-open eyes, the tears in the eyes of some Koreans and Japanese, the loud clapping, and the enthusiasm on the faces of the many passersby who stop to listen on a Saturday night, when they probably need to finish their shopping before the stores close (at 8 PM in Nagoya) or they are on their way to enjoy the evening with friends or family.
Japanese are curious about the history of Japan-Korea relations. They even want to know about the violence committed against Koreans by the former Empire of Japan (1868-1947) and the country that continues to use much of their land for violence in other countries through its military bases (i.e., "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world, my own Government. I cannot be silent."). Peace is possible. Peace is popular. Remember the three Ps: Peace, Possible, Popular.
An impromptu interview on March 24 in advance of the March 31 solidarity action in Nagoya.
In the Glow of the Candlelight Revolution Joseph Essertier /World Beyond War
NAGOYA, Japan (March 31, 2018) -- Good evening, everyone. My name is Joseph Essertier and I'm with World Beyond War.
Tonight we have gathered together to do a solidarity action here in Nagoya, standing alongside Candlelight Revolution activists. Do you know what is meant by these candles? I'll explain.
Between October of 2016 and the present, huge numbers of South Koreans have fought for democracy with candles in their hand. One important result of this has been their success in impeaching the president, Park Geun-hye.
The Candlelight Revolution gave birth to the presidency of Moon Jae-in. President Moon Jae-in is now continually building relationships to enable dialogue with the heads of state of other countries for the sake of peace between North and South Korea. This has improved the security of those of us who live in Japan.
Thanks to the work of the Candlelight Revolutionaries, the opposition/conflict on the Korean Peninsula has been temporarily stopped for Northeast Asia, and peace has become possible. We who are standing here today are engaging in this solidarity action out of a feeling of thankfulness to those South Koreans. We, too, like South Koreans, hold candles symbolizing democracy and peace, and in this way demonstrate our hope for peace.
The United States government has threatened and bullied Koreans for 70 years. As you know, the Pacific War ended in 1945. The US military occupied both Japan and Korea. They established many bases in Okinawa and in the southern part of Korea. The bases in the southern part of Korea as well as the bases in Okinawa have continually caused suffering among the residents of these regions.
Back in those days (in the late 1940s), the United Nations was a weak organization since it was new. Please allow me to simplify. The UN was manipulated like a puppet and let unfair elections be held. As a result of unfair manipulation and these unfair elections, the dictator Syngman Rhee won. That was one of the major causes of the Korean War.
Russia and China also did some bad things, but the country that caused the most suffering among Koreans was America, the country where I was born and raised.
The future of Korea must be decided by the people of Korea.
It goes without saying that America, Russia, China, and Japan must keep their mouths shut and leave the future of Korea up to Koreans. No matter what happens, we who are standing here do not want these countries to cause war on the Korean Peninsula or in Northeast Asia.
Speakiing in Japanese
Adding insult to injury, as if 70 years of bullying Koreans was not enough, Trump became president through a weird election last year. The Trump administration has threatened North Korea over and over, causing worry among Koreans both North and South that the Korean War might be reignited! This puts in jeopardy our safety, too, i.e., the people who live in Japan. The people of Northeast Asia, as a whole, must be worried about war.
This is terrifying! Enough is enough! Stop the bullying! Only the Trump administration and some extremely rich people would ever hope for a nuclear war. We don't need American bases anymore.
It is true that Americans do not know very well the tragedy of war since few Americans have been victims of war, but even 80% of Republican Party members want Trump to talk with Kim Jong-un, according to a recent opinion poll. Americans, too, are hoping for peace.
The military and its bases consume a huge amount of money. The taxes of Japanese, of Americans, and of South Koreans are being used for war, even when nobody wants war. This is absolutely stupid.
But I have happy feelings today, too. To think that so many of you have taken the time and effort to gather here, today. Sure enough, even in dark times such as these, humanitarians and good-hearted people always appear.
Looking back over the course of the half-century during which I have been alive, I cannot think of a year when humanity has faced such a crisis, or so much danger, as what we face today, in 2018. A nuclear war could break out in the Middle East or Northeast Asia. Whether a war will occur or not is for us to decide.
Those of you who are cooperating with us are not turning a blind eye, are taking responsibility, and taking action, but to be honest, our numbers are too few. To those of you listening today to what we have to say, and to those of you who watch this video recording, please do not relax. There has never been a nuclear war and we do not know what could/would happen.
There is the possibility that such a war could be even worse than the Pacific War. This is not a problem for other people in other countries to solve. This is a problem for those of us in East Asia and for Americans to solve.
I have never been to North Korea and there are not many news sources or broadcasts that tell us the truth about that country, but I am sure that there are many people in that country whose hearts are full of love. Because they are human beings, the same as we are.
I want them to live healthfully in safe conditions. Much of the news that comes out of South Korea is reliable, so we have access to some of the truth of that country. The more I read about the Candlelight Revolution, the more I think that here is a wonderful movement, a movement that I would like to participate in.
Because of that movement, there will now be dialogue between North Korea and South Korea, as well as dialogue between the US and North Korea. I say this to the Candlelight Revolutionaries who gave us this possibility of peace and this project of building peace: "Thank you."
To those of you gathered here today and to the Japanese and Americans who may watch a video recording of this event, I say, "One good turn deserves another. Let us give back in kind to those South Koreans who have been working hard for the last year and a half to bring us democracy and peace." Let's cooperate together, actualize peace, and thereby save the lives of a huge number of people.
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