“Please, Holy Father, would you come and visit our Gangjeong village?”

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <Hankyoreh > on Feb. 14, 2014, reporting a campaign by Gangjeong villagers and peace activists to ask people to write letters to Pope Francis to drop by Gangjeong village where peaceful and tenacious anti-naval base movement has been going on for the last 7 years. Although villagers and peace activists involved in the movement there are ordinary people, many Catholic priests and nuns are among the most steadfast participants of it. Some were even prosecuted and imprisoned only for doing so. Many expect Pope Francis’s visit to Gangjeong village can soothe the distressed hearts of Gangjeong villagers and peace activists who suffer owing simply to trying to protect their peaceful living foundation and opposing unreasonable government policy. Moreover, it can be a real healer for His people there who try so hard to embody ‘the Church for the weak and the suppressed’ there. All rights regarding this post stay with the author(s) of the original article or with <Hankyoreh> and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. In the post, I tried to match the English translation of names of people / institution(s) / position(s) to authentic one(s) as much as possible but, unfortunately, some of them still can be different. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the link above.

Villagers opposing Naval Base implore people

Please ask Vatican for Pope’s visit to Gangjeong

By Ho-Jun Hur, 허호준 기자

Residents of Gangjeong village, Seogwipo city and peace activists who are waging the anti-naval base construction movement in Jeju island are staging a campaign asking people to send letters to Pope Francis who may pay a visit to Korea in coming August to drop by Gangjeong village.

This campaign was set off when activists encountered a news report on 7th last month of Holy Father’s possible visit to Korea and came up with an idea for it. Peace activist Mr. Yak-gol Cho who lives in Gangjeong now said “I wrote to Holy Father myself while pondering over a way to petition Him to drop by Gangjeong village while in Korea. This grew up to be the ‘Let’s write to Holy Father’ campaign through discussions with other Gangjeong villagers and activists."

Mr. Cho and others set up a team the campaign and started it for themselves since 20th last month. Mr. Cho said “At first, we started it small like writing hand-written letters to Holy Father ourselves. Then, we realized that there were so many foreign activists who actually visited this Gangjeong village. So, we decided to turn it into an international campaign and got more interests from friends out side of Korea."

Movie directors and activists from America, Germany, and Italy have already sent letters to Vatican imploring Holy Father’s trip to Gangjeong village, Jeju. Campaign team also set up a web page (http://pope2jeju.org) to make it easy for people to send letters to Vatican and participate in the campaign. She or he who wants to send an email to Vatican can simply fill up the main petition, provide her or his name and address, and then send it in the website. Such written petitions will be delivered to Vatican as emails.

Campaign team said “Gangjeong villagers have been staging the anti-naval base movement for the last 7 years in a peaceful and non-violant manner. ‘Let’s write to Holy Father’ campaign wholeheartedly inherits this spirit and character of Gangjeong villagers’ peaceful movement. Everyone can write a peaceful letter to Holy Father with her or his own language and appeal to Him to pay a visit to Gangjeong, Jeju during His visit to Korea"

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