The people of South Korea stand up against US militarism

In the wake of the attack on Syria, Trump’s administration has made it very clear that it will be continuing the imperialist policies of war and regime change in the Middle East and beyond. Just yesterday, Trump dropped a “MOAB” (known as the mother of all bombs), or the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal on Afghanistan.

The Trump administration has made it clear that it will continue the United States’  wars of aggression across the globe. In particular, the Trump administration has moved an armada, a series of aircraft carriers carrying weapons of war, close to the North Korean waters, and it is now threatening a potential re-opening of the Korean war.

Trump is threatening military action if North Korea launches it missiles, so until then everything is up in the air. One thing that we know for certain is that like every war before it, the U.S. government with continue to claim that a war with North Korea would be to “defend” the Korean people (both North and South) from the evil dictator Kim Jong Un. We will hear news stories praising Trump for his “heart” in helping the Korean people. We will hear that the South Korean people will be calling for war just as loudly as those in power here are calling for war.

What we will not hear, however is anything about what the people in South Korea truly want. Residents of South Korea’s Seong-ju providence, where the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is being illegally built, have stood up in record numbers to U.S. militarism and imperialism. Beyond that many South Koreans, including many involved with the anti-THAAD movement are calling for reunification and diplomacy with North Korea.

THAAD is a battery that has the capabilities of shooting nuclear missiles out of the stratosphere. The South Korean government and the United States have claimed that THAAD is a defensive weapon that will protect the South Korean people from a North Korean attack. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Reverend Kim, a leader in the local Buddhist communist of Seoung-ju recently visited New York City to bring the news of the Seoung-Ju resistance. Seoung-Ju is a small town of 40,000 or less residents that have historically been isolated and very conservative. When THAAD was announced, this village of melon farmers and families knew that their home would become a battleground because the United States wanted to place one of its most powerful weapons of war in their backyard. They chose to stand up and protest, gathering in numbers of 5,000 or more locals.

The United States has colluded with the recently impeached president of South Korea Park Hyung Geun-hye to bypass South Korean environmental and local law to implement THAAD without a democratic or public discussion of what the local residents wanted. There was no vote, there was no discussion, only trucks full of parts appearing on the road to build the weaponry.

In protest, 908 residents shaved their heads, which for the residents shows an incredibly deep commitment to the ending of THAAD and militarism. Every day for the past year, the residents dropped whatever they are doing and twice a day hold a candlelight vigil against the implementation of THAAD.

Recently, Buddhist monks and representatives from the three other major religions in South Korea stood together and occupied the road where trucks were bringing THAAD materials. The area where THAAD is being built is considered to be sacred ground by the Buddhist community. They stopped 5 trucks, and what was first meant to be a 24 hour protest turned in to a 35 day occupation. Much like Standing Rock, the people of Seong-Ju have stood up for their sacred ground and continue to the occupation to keep U.S. militarism out.

The resistance of the people of Seoung-Ju shows us loud and clear: that U.S. military intervention and action is not what the south Korean people want. Thousands have been in the streets, and even more are occupying space to stop the agenda of U.S. imperialism. No matter what Trump is trying to claim, it remains clear that the people of South Korea are saying no to THAAD and no to the U.S. imperialist agenda!

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