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Koreans in U.S. call for peace treaty

Published Aug 6, 2010 10:03 AM

Two Korean groups in the United States — the pro-reunification, community-based, grassroots organization Nodutdol and the National Campaign to End the Korean War — held a joint cultural event in Washington, D.C., on July 25 to call for a peace treaty between the U.S. and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, often referred to by the U.S. media as north Korea.

This action comes 60 years after the start of the devastating Korean War, a war that is actually still not over, since the open hostilities ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

On the same day that this interactive art installation, called “100 Bojagis for Peace,” took place, U.S. imperialism and its puppets in south Korea began provocative war “games” to threaten socialist north Korea. Called “Invincible Spirit” by the imperialist military, the exercises are the largest ever conducted by the U.S. military. The Voice of America, speaking for the government, called them “unprecedented in scope.”

In contrast to U.S. militarism, the focus of the art installation was bojagis, patchwork bags traditionally used by rural poor people as backpacks in which they carry their belongings. They are closely associated with the experience of refugees during the war who were fleeing the U.S. bombing of their villages and towns. Several of the bojagis had MP3 players showing interviews with former refugees and U.S. soldiers speaking about their experiences during the war.

Members of Nodutdol also put on a Pungmul band performance. Pungmul is a drum band that has its roots in the collective-labor farming culture of poor peasants in Korea. It was also used as a form of social protest during the years of Japanese colonial occupation.

Later that evening, a program of spoken word performances and a film about Korean adoptees, “In the Case of Cha Jung-hee,” was shown at the Justice Center. Organizations that helped make this powerful national action a success included DMZ-Hawaii, Ubuntu Works, Korean-American National Coordinating Council, Korea Policy Institute, the International Action Center, Vets for Peace and the ANSWER Coalition.