Asia West Pacific – November 12, 2018

Liberation Workshop With Peace Educators

Nadine Hoover returned to Gwangju for the first time since May 1980. In December 1979, the head of the Korean CIA shot the president of Korea declaring that he was too repressive. The people saw this as an opportunity to call for democratic elections. The military suppressed their cries for democratic elections and installed commander Chun Doo Hwan in the presidency by force. When Gwangju students protested, the military response was so brutal that the people of Gwangju joined a bloody fight for freedom, democracy and self-determination against the Korean military. Many Koreans thought that given the chance the U.S. would support democracy in Korea, but were shocked when U.S. supported these repressive military attacks on civilians and the military take-over of the presidency.

It was strange to be back in Gwangju for the first time since the massacre. The city has changed so much, it felt vaguely familiar but totally different. A bit haunting. The people of Gwangju know well the dangers of militarized society and provide public support for peace educators. Many of our participants were school teachers who offer peace education in schools and the community.

We had sixteen hours over three days in a beautiful mountain retreat center outside of Gwangju City, 2-4 November 2018 (Friday 3-6 pm and 7-9 pm; Saturday 9 am-12 pm and 2-6 pm; and Sunday 9 am-1 pm). We did a welcome, opening, affirmations, agreements to practice, big wind blows, core self, good companions, limbo sticks labels, stories of overcoming oppression, dancing, breakthrough, journaling, speak out, and reflection.

It was very powerful for them. They have been meeting for over a decade and have received many trainings, such as Help Increase the Peace Project (HIPP), Circle Time and Nonviolent Communication. But they said that this training really touched them deeply, reaching into their own lives. It gave them many insights about themselves and a sense of healing.