The USA is reeling in the midst of violence, voices crying out for justice having lost their faith and trust in the institutions meant to protect them, lashing out in desperate misguided attempts to reset the balance, and the response by many of those in power is to further alienate the voices of the unheard.
In this context, I have humbly come from Korea to the US along with about 20 Korean pastors and professors to talk about the need to end the war in Korea, sign a peace treaty, and forego the dependence on violent means to solve conflicts. I realize this might be difficult to turn the focus to Korea in this moment, but the spiraling violence in the US is related to what could be spiraling violence in Korea as the US has finally agreed to installing the THAAD missile and radar system in Korea to the dismay of most of the rest of Northeast Asia. Yes, we must find a way to reform our institutional culture, police culture, and encourage people to non-violent responses in the US to create faith in the claim that Black Lives Matter to our systems of power.
The single story (which is dangerous) we have been told about the Korean conflict is that US forces selflessly came to the aid of Koreans when the evil and crazy communists invaded in 1950. What if there were more to the story that has been deliberately hidden and forgotten? What if violence in Korea began in reaction to US policies under occupation in 1945 when Koreans began asking themselves, “Do Korean Lives Matter to the US? Does Korean autonomy matter? Does the Korean right to self-determination matter?”
In the same way that we must not be distracted by violent responses to injustice, I ask that we are not distracted by the desperate violent responses of those we have demonized as our enemy in Korea. Instead we should commit ourselves ever more to uncovering and dismantling the system that leads people to that violent rebellions are the only way have their voices for justice heard.
Join this effort by signing our online petition here:
And read more about the background of the Korean context and the need for peaceful dialogue and respect of demands for justice and human rights on both sides at our website Global Campaign for a Korea Peace Treaty.
Our itinerary for the campaign in the US starting today:
July 18th – 19th: Los Angeles, CA:
Meet with Korean Church leaders in LA and share our story on the streets downtown.
July 20th – 22nd: Nevada, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa:
Make our way across the west, especially stopping to hear the story of Wounded Knee
July 23rd – 24th: Chicago, IL:
Meet Korean Church leaders in Chicagoland, and worship at UMC and UCC churches.
July 25th: Indianapolis, IN:
Meet with Global Ministries of the UCC/Disciples and with Indiana state representatives.
July 26th – 28th: Washington, DC:
Meet with NCCCUSA, US gov’t representatives and members of the US administration.
July 29th – 30th: back to Seoul/Incheon (and me back to Daejeon!)
Prayers are welcome!
You can also follow our journey on Twitter with the hashtag #koreapeacetreaty. My Twitter handle is @elfslinger.