Monday, July 18, 2016

Film: "The Ghosts of Jeju" by Regis Tremblay

Regis Tremblay's "The Ghosts of Jeju" is an 81 minute documentary film describing the resistance of the people of Jeju Island in South Korea to the establishment of a United States naval base.

Bruce Cumings describes massacres on Jeju Island carried out by South Korean police and military units under United States direction in 1950. This history motivates resistance to militarism today.

The United States's "pivot to Asia" involves establishing a stronger military presence in the South China Sea, and the naval base at Jeju Island is a component.

Jeju Island is also an environmentally sensitive area. Construction and operation of this base may harm its ecology.

The film portrays the inspirational resistance to militarism and to loss of local control by residents and supporting international activists.

I saw this film in a screening with other peace activists. Afterwards, in our discussion, all of us acknowledged we had known nothing about the origins of the Korean War as a civil war which included peasant uprisings in South Korea which weren't supported by Soviet or North Korean communists in any way. None of us had heard about the construction of a naval base in the South China Sea.

The film poses the question: Is there any place on earth whose beauty and history make it off limits to militarism? Are the great and strong of the world, in their deadly competition, willing to put the weak in the middle even when the weak reject their assertions that war preparations are done on behalf of the weak?

For more information on the movement to end militarism in Jeju Island, visit The film's website is Information on purchasing the DVD is also available.

The Ghosts of Jeju from Regis Tremblay on Vimeo.