Friday, August 19, 2011

Naval Base Tears Apart Korean Village

By Christine Ahn, Foreign Policy In Focus, August 19, 2011

Christine Ahn

“The land and sea isn’t something you bought,” explained Kang Ae-Shim. “Why are you selling something that was there long before you were born?”

Kang Ae Shim is a haenyo, one of the legendary Korean women sea divers from Jeju Island who can hold their breath for up to two minutes while foraging the ocean floor for seafood. But today Kang and others are fighting to save their island from the pending construction of a South Korean naval base in Gangjeong village, which threatens to tear apart the age-old sisterhood of the haenyo and destroy the pristine ecology of Jeju’s shores. The government and construction contractors are attempting to stamp out the outcry by arresting, beating, fining, and threatening villagers and activists.

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