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Korea truth comes to Chicago

By Beth Semmer
Chicago

Yoomi Jeong, Deputy Secretary General of the Korea Truth Commission, addressed over 600 people in Chicago on the weekend of May 31 through June 1. In multiple presentations and venues, Jeong was able to reveal the truth of both past and present atrocities committed against the Korean people by the U.S. military. She was also able to give Chicago peace and justice activists an overview of U.S. foreign policy toward the Korean peninsula and a political analysis of what is behind the current U.S. threats against North Korea.

Her specific information about Korea was woven into the context of the tremendous threat U.S. imperialism poses to numerous sovereign nations around the world.

Over 50 Chicago activist organizations jointly sponsored and built a Peace & Justice Teach-In on May 31 at a downtown high school. The teach-in drew over 600 activists from all over Chicago and northern Illinois. Simultaneously with the teach-in, another 400 activists were demonstrating against 13 Klan members and the 300 police "protecting" them in Berwyn, Ill. All in all, the weekend was an indication that the activism of the recent period is not dead.

Jeong is originally from South Korea but had been a Chicago activist for many years. She was invited to address the opening plenary to give a political analysis of the current period, using the threats against the Korean peninsula as an example of the U.S. drive for empire. She told the crowd that an attack on North Korea by the U.S. would be an attack on all Koreans.

Jeong also conducted a workshop at the teach-in specifically on the Korea Truth Commission. She showed a video that contained testimony the commission had gathered as well as footage of a tribunal held in New York City on June 23, 2001. She told the participants that the Korea Truth Commission is organizing a peace delegation to Korea this summer marking the 50th anniversary of the Korean armistice. It also plans a Korea forum at the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva in August of 2003.

On June 1 at the First United Methodist Church in Chicago, Jeong addressed a group of 50. The Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, the Inter na tional Action Center of Chicago and the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee sponsored this meeting. These three organizations had been instrumental in bringing Jeong to Chicago for the Peace and Justice Teach-In.

Pastor Thomas Kim of the church welcomed the group and thanked all for their commitment to the truth and struggle for peace and justice in the world. Jeong showed the BBC video "Kill Em All," which documented the Nogun-ri massacre as well as other civilian casualties during the Korean War. Ik Tae Kim, who is currently the assistant public defender in Kane County, just outside Chicago, also addressed the meeting. Ik Tae had been imprisoned in South Korea while a student government leader at Yonsei University. He had been an activist in the struggle for democracy and reunification and he spoke on the current fight against U.S. occupation in Korea.

At all three presentations, Jeong encouraged everyone to continue to arm themselves with knowledge of the crimes of the U.S. and to continue to join in struggle with the millions of anti-war activists who have been in the streets opposing Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Reprinted from the June 19, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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