Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Report of the 2008 Nanjang - Human - Free Concert


The 2008 Nanjang-Human-Free Concert is a domestic event that hosted by the Promotion Committee of the 2008 Nanjang-Human-Free Concert and dedicated to Gwangju citizens. This event organized by The May 18 Memorial Foundation and was held from May 23 - 25, 2008 at the May 18 Memorial Culture Center and the May 18 Memorial Park.

The Nanjang-Human-Free Concert aims to commemorate the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. Besides, the government already built some historical places like Memorial Culture Hall, Liberty Park, May 18 Cemetery, etc. They also want to make programs in the historical places so the citizens not only enjoy the places but programs as well.

This year the theme is 'Getting Beyond Discrimination'. This theme made by the Committee of the 2008 Nanjang-Human-Free Concert. They also choose and made the programs. They had publication in several ways, like:
1. Banner. They posted the banner at Universities (Chonnam and Chosun), downtown, the bridge of E-Mart, and other public areas.
2. Posters. They post the posters at some public areas like hospital, apartment, and other public areas.

3. Pamphlets and Tissues. They also spread the pamphlets to the citizens especially who live at Sangmu Area. Also distributed at subways and downtown from May 22 - 25, 2008.

4. Newspapers. The post the advertisement at some newspapers.
5. Ju Mok Bab Magazine. They also post the advertisement at Ju Mok Bab Magazine.

In 3 days, visitors and participants got a chance to enjoy variety of performances. The performances were Music, Theatre, and Dance. There were different programs between last year (2007) and this year (2008). In 2007, there were no band music live, just theatre and dance.

On May 23, 2008 started at 18:00 there was band music live. There were 5 bands who performed they played in turns. The kinds of music were variety. The visitors were not only students or youth, but also mature audience. All the visitors enjoyed the performance, this can be proven by their staying on despite the rain. The end of the programs, when the Goguryo band appeared, they invited the visitors especially the students and youth to stand up near the stage to sing and dance together. The event finished at around 21:00.

On May 24, 2008 the event started at 16:00 at Minju Hall. The first performer was a theatre group. For this day, the visitors mostly were families. This theatre was held around 2 hours.

When the theatre was finished the visitors could enjoy tea at book cafe that was put up by the May 18 Memorial Foundation. The book cafe opened from the second day (May 24, 2008) until last day (May 25, 2008) during the events. The visitors could enjoy tea while listening and watching the May 18 songs and animation or read the variety of books of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising.

The second performer started at 18:00 and the third performer started at 18:30 in the same places. The programs were dances. The second performer more classic dance and the third more modern. From the movements of the dancers showed the situation during the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. Especially in the third performance, they played like they got caught by bullet in their arms, shoot, attacked, and other movements.

The final show was Tobagi “Mourning” at Daedong Hall. It was a theatre program. The story was the struggle of an old woman who didn’t want to move from her house because she awaits for her son coming back. The government always pushed her to move but she always would always go back to her house. The end of the story was sad because she died when the house was bulldozed by the real estate developers.

On May 25, 2008 the performances started at 16:00 at Daedong Hall. The first program was a theatre. There were 5 person who played. They are still young. This theatre played around 1 hour.

The second performance was dance at the reception hall. The visitors could watch the dancers close by.

For the third and fourth programs showed at the Daedong Square. The third performer was Jang Seung II, he was really talented. He played song melody with a saw. It was really amazing. He also played cow bells. The visitors were excited to see his performance.

On this day, there were some interesting games. The last performer was a theatre, the group used some tools like posters.

After the performers finished their performances, Mr. Jintae Cho as a Secretary General of the May 18 Memorial Foundation gave presents for the 4 winners of the photo contest. The theme is same with the 2008 Nanjang- Human - Free Concert theme 'Getting Beyond Discrimination'. The contestant could put their opinion. The contest was started on April, 2008. There were 40 contestants.

C. Conclusion
It was a big opportunity that I get involved on the 2008 Nanjang-Human-Free Concert. I had a chance to work with the volunteers again after the 2008 Gwangju Interntional Peace Forum and the 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. I am very grateful for this opportunity. We have experience on the difficult and happy time together.

link: http://www.518.org/

Monday, June 23, 2008

Report of the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum

Gwangju International Peace Forum is an international forum that aims to strengthen international solidarity between domestic and foreign activists working for democracy, human rights, and peace. Some 150 participants usually join this forum. During the program, the participants will have the opportunity to participate in the official ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the May 18 Gwangju Uprising and pray for the victims souls to rest in peace. The participants will also attend the award-giving ceremony of The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.
This year, the forum was hosted by The Committee of 28th May Anniversary. The Co-organizers were ARENA, Gwangju Regional Office of NHRC of Korea, Citizens for Decent Housing, and The May 18 Memorial Foundation. The forum was supported by Gwangju Convention and Visitors Bureau, Korea Democracy Foundation, and Cooperation and Aggregate Busan Democratic Movements Association.
The forum was held from May 15 until 18, 2008 at the May 18 Memorial Culture Hall. The objectives of the forum were:
1. To spread the spirit of the May 18 democratic uprising and provide a venue for Asian democracy movements to network.
2. Aiming to become a hub-city of democratization movement in Asia, we recognize the need to develop Gwangju International Peace Forum as a platform to engage civil society movements to dialogue on peace, human rights, and democracy.
The following were the 4 programs of the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum:
1. The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Conference Room
- Gwangju Network for Democracy Movements in Asia
- Workshop for the Memorial Associations on International Solidarity
- Civil Society Group Workshop on International Solidarity for Asian Human Rights
- Forum on Asia Regional Solidarity : We are facing ‘Asia’
Korean Civil Society Organizations are facing challenges deepening understanding people and culture of Asia. Asia Institute plans to have a dialogue with scolars and activists from Asia which reflect or current situation of Asian studies and divers way of Asian solidarity of civil society.
2. ARENA / The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Audio – visual Room
2008 International Workshop on Human Rights to Peace in Asia : Peace and Right to Resist : Exploring New Dimensions of the Human Rights to Peace in Asia
ARENA the International Workshop on Human Rights to Peace in Asia, aiming at the advancement of the concept and content of the Rights to Peace through in-depth discussions and examinations with nine presenters from all different countries.
3. Gwangju Regional Office of NHRC of Korea in Exhibition Hall
Workshop on the Human Rights Perspective of a Local Autonomous Ordinance
Through “Workshop on the Human Rights Perspective of a Local Autonomous Ordinance”, we want to check over a Local Autonomous Ordinance. The lives of local people have been effected a lot by a Local Autonomous Ordinance more than by a National Law and Ordinance. We hope we can find ways for the local areas have become a Human-Right community through this workshop.
4. Citizens for Decent Housing in Lobby, 3rd Floor
2008 Program of the 2nd ANAH 2008 in Gwangju Korea: For the Asian NPO Leaders’ Networking for the well-being of Asian housing, CiDeH (Citizen for the Decent Housing) established the ANAH (Asian NPO Networking on Adequate Housing) in 2007 with agreement with 9 people from seven different countries during ANAH 2007 session in Korea from Oct 1st through 4th.
This forum expected outcome were:
1. Participants will recognize the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum as an international event and platform for civil society movements to network and for Gwangju to be considered as one of Asia’s sacred places of democratization.
2. We aim for Gwangju International Peace Forum to grow and develop as Asia’s World Social Forum for human rights, democracy, and peace for the upcoming 30th Anniversary of the may 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising in 2010.
There were 188 participants from 21 countries. The breakdown as follows:
Korea 121; Taiwan 10; Japan 8; India 7; Thailand 7; Nepal 5; Indonesia 5; Pakistan 3; Cambodia 3; Bangladesh 3; Malaysia 2; Sri Lanka 2; Philippines 2; China 2; Spain 1; Laos 1; Germany 1; Mongolia 1; Burma 1; Vietnam 1; Myanmar 1.
Most of the participants from other country arrived in Gwangju on May 15, 2008. At night, there was a welcoming reception at 6 PM at the Reception Hall. The ceremony was opened by a donation of censored newspaper by Mr. Sin Yong Ho as a Chairman of the Chonnam Mail Newspaper and was given to Mr. Yun Gwang Jang as a Chairman of the May 18 Memorial Foundation. The ceremony took place around 2 hours including dinner. After the dinner, the participants went to their respective hotels.

On May 16, 2008 the forum were started with the opening ceremony at 9.30-10.30 AM at Daedong Hall. Representative from organizations that were involved in hosting gave reception words. On the first day, the workshops started at 10.30-12.00 AM for the first session.

The participants had lunch at 12.00-1.30 PM. For 3 days there were 2 restaurants the participants can choose: Natural Living (Vegetarian) Restaurants and Su Mok Gwan Restaurants (for meat eaters). The second session started at 1.30-5.00 PM. After finished the second workshop, the participants had dinner. At 7-9 PM, the participants must choose one discussion from three choices. The topics were:
1. Solidarity Movements
2. Recent Development in Nepal
3. Update on Relief and Support for Victims of Cyclone Nargis in Burma
The discussions took place for 2 hours. At 9 PM, the participants went back to their hotel.
The second day on May 17, 2008 the participants joined the first workshops from 10-12 AM. They had lunch at 12-1 PM. The second workshop started at 1-5 PM, and after they finished they had dinner.

At 6 PM, the participants with several staff and volunteers had a journey to downtown. They attended the eve event of the 28th Anniversary of the May 18 Democratic Uprising until 10 PM. This event was presented by the Gwangju citizens. Every year they did the event to commemorate and celebrate the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. There were some workshops and demonstration too and mostly the Gwangju citizens opposed the beef importation (madcow) and other policy of Lee Myung Bak.

In the eve events there were some performances like sing and dance on the program. The stage is in front of the former provincial hall. There were parts where citizens from various sectors and age expressed their feeling about the president’s economic and political policies. Some were even crying. At 10 PM, the participants went to the hotel by bus.

On the last day on May 18, 2008 the participants with several staff and volunteers attended the 28th Commemorative Ceremony of the May 18 Democratic Uprising at the May 18 National Cemetery. The ceremony started at 10-11.30 AM. This year president, Lee Myung Bak, come to grow the location. The security was strict. There were Korean choir and Korean dance presentation. After the ceremony finished, some participants prayed at the altar for the victims of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising.

Around at 12 PM, the participants had a field trip to the Unju Temple. The journey took around an hour. In the temple, the participants went around the area and some of them had discussion at the restaurant.

We arrived at the May 18 Memorial Culture around at 4.30 PM and then took pictures together. At 5 PM, the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights was started. The winner of the 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is Muneer A. Malik, a Pakistani lawyer.

The audience were entertained by performances, like singing and dancing. After the ceremony, the participants took pictures with the winner, Muneer A. Malik in Daedong Hall and then had dinner at the Reception Hall. We didn’t have lunch, just some breads so when we had dinner the participants had big appetite. Around 9 PM the participants went back to the hotel. They said goodbye each other.


It was a big opportunity for me to be involved on the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum. I meet and shared with the activist of democracy, human rights, and peace from other countries, especially I had chance working with the volunteers. I am very grateful for this opportunity.




Friday, June 20, 2008

The May 18 Memorial Exhibition

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization established on August 30th, 1994 by the surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, the victims families, and the citizens of Gwangju. The foundation aims to commemorate as well as continue the spirit of struggle and solidarity of the May 18 Uprising; to contribute to the peaceful reunification of Korea; and to work towards peace and human rights throughout the world. Since its establishment, the foundation has carried out numerous projects in various fields, including organizing memorial events, establishing scholarships, fostering research, disseminating information to the public, publishing relevant materials, dispensing charity and welfare benefits, building international solidarity, and awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

One of the memorial events is organizing the May 18 Memorial Exhibition around the cities in South Korea. Every year the place and the time are different. In the case of the month of May, the exhibition is always conducted in Gwangju (the 518 gallery). For this year, the Culture and Solidarity Team of the May 18 Memorial Foundation organized the May 18 Memorial Exhibition in 3 places which are:

1. Gwangju, from May 15 – 25, 2008

2. Jeonju, from June 5 – 18, 2008

3. Busan, from September 5 – 25, 2008

There are 2 types of support which the foundation provides in organizing these exhibitions, namely:

1. The foundation funds all of the expenses of the exhibition.

2. The foundation is funding half of the expenses of the exhibition.

For this year’s exhibition, the foundation is funding all the expenses of the exhibition (type 1).

On June 5, 2008 at 5 PM the opening ceremony was held for the exhibition in Jeonju. The exhibition was held at the 2nd floor of Sori 21 Art Gallery. On the 1st floor there is another exhibition with the same related theme. Every year the exhibition are different kind of creations but the theme is always the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. Everyone look and appraises the Uprising in different aspects. Also, the foundation organized the exhibition with different creation so the people can enjoy and feel it in many ways.

On 2007, there were 2 themes which were:

1. Look at the new of the May 18 Uprising. It was discovery of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising.

2. The Cartoons. The foundation gave opportunity for young artists to create using the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising as a theme.

This year the theme of the exhibition is a little bit different. The Foundation made used of the archive of pictures. The exhibition was the pictures of the victims before the Uprising. On the pictures, the people look happy. Some of the photos were takes with their families or friends.

The exhibition is talking about the human, they have their own life, friends, and families. When the Uprising happened, they could not take pictures because the situation was very dangerous. The memory left for the victims’ families were the last pictures that they took before the Uprising.

The foundation collected the pictures from the victims’ families. The pictures left were not so many, the families mostly burned them because they want to throw the sad memory. The pictures, reminds them of their loved ones who died in the Uprising that makes them feel sad.

During the opening ceremony, there was a performance. There was 1 artist. He performed his creation in front of the visitors. His performances took around 30 minutes. The theme of the performance was the rice. As we know that rice is an important for symbol Asian countries. He used different kinds of rice (look at the follow pictures). After the performances, there were some reception words.

After the opening ceremony, the visitors looked around the exhibition. The organizers also prepared snack and drink. The opening ceremony finished at around 7 PM.

Some of the citizens in Gwangju and South Korea look The May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising just as a history. With the exhibition, the foundation aims for the people who lives after the Uprising to look, hear, and feel the history. History not just history per se, but history that now was great influence in their lives.

link: http://www.518.org/