Archive for the 'May 18' Category

Call for Application – 2008 International Internship Program

Dear friends and partners:

Greetings! Please find below our call for application for the 2008 International Internship Program. Please help us disseminate the information.

Thank you and good wishes,
International Cooperation Team
518interns@gmail.com

CALL FOR APPLICATION
THE MAY 18 MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

The May 18 Memorial Foundation was founded by Gwangju citizens, sympathetic overseas Koreans, and from individuals who sacrificed and got indemnification from the government. It was created on August 30, 1994 by people who believe it’s important to keep the ideas and memories of the 1980 May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising alive and remembered.

The International Internship Program on Human Rights is a program of the Foundation created to contribute in the development of democracy and human rights throughout Asia. It is also an opportunity for interns to learn and experience the history and process of the development of human rights and democracy in South Korea. Specifically the purpose and aim of the program are the following: 1) To improve international solidarity and networking and 2) To promote Gwangju as Asia’s Hub for Human Rights Movement.

The Foundation is looking for two interns who will serve for 10 months from March-December 2008. Applicants female or male should not be more than 25 years of age, with a minimum of 3 years NGO or social development work experience on the issues of human rights, democracy and peace. Must be proficient in English and working knowledge of Korean is an advantage. Must be computer literate (email/internet, blog/web page, lay-out/design, etc).

Living allowance will be provided to successful interns. Housing will be provided for free but utilities (telephone/internet, electricity, and gas) will be paid for by interns. The Foundation will pay for the round trip airfare of interns.

Please download the application form if you are interested to apply from any of these links/sites:

http://eng.518.org/main.html?TM18MF=B04&bc_table=ENG_NOTICE&form_act=V&bnum=38&page=1

https://themay18.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/call-for-application-2008-international-internship-program/

Deadline of application is on 15 January 2008. Short listed applicants will be emailed for an online/webcam interview through Skype or Yahoo messenger.

Visit our blogsite archive to learn more about the internship program – 518interns.blogspot.com

Call for Application – 2008 International Internship Program

Dear friends and partners:

Greetings! Please find below our call for application for the 2008 International Internship Program. Please help us disseminate the information.

Thank you and good wishes,
International Cooperation Team
518interns@gmail.com

CALL FOR APPLICATION
THE MAY 18 MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

The May 18 Memorial Foundation was founded by Gwangju citizens, sympathetic overseas Koreans, and from individuals who sacrificed and got indemnification from the government. It was created on August 30, 1994 by people who believe it’s important to keep the ideas and memories of the 1980 May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising alive and remembered.

The International Internship Program on Human Rights is a program of the Foundation created to contribute in the development of democracy and human rights throughout Asia. It is also an opportunity for interns to learn and experience the history and process of the development of human rights and democracy in South Korea. Specifically the purpose and aim of the program are the following: 1) To improve international solidarity and networking and 2) To promote Gwangju as Asia’s Hub for Human Rights Movement.

The Foundation is looking for two interns who will serve for 10 months from March-December 2008. Applicants female or male should not be more than 25 years of age, with a minimum of 3 years NGO or social development work experience on the issues of human rights, democracy and peace. Must be proficient in English and working knowledge of Korean is an advantage. Must be computer literate (email/internet, blog/web page, lay-out/design, etc).

Living allowance will be provided to successful interns. Housing will be provided for free but utilities (telephone/internet, electricity, and gas) will be paid for by interns. The Foundation will pay for the round trip airfare of interns.

Please download the application form if you are interested to apply from any of these links/sites:

http://eng.518.org/main.html?TM18MF=B04&bc_table=ENG_NOTICE&form_act=V&bnum=38&page=1


https://themay18.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/call-for-application-2008-international-internship-program/

Deadline of application is on 15 January 2008. Short listed applicants will be emailed for an online/webcam interview through Skype or Yahoo messenger.

Visit our blogsite archive to learn more about the internship program – 518interns.blogspot.com

518 Nominated for the OneWorld’s Person of 2007

Ms. Anna Malindog, Executive Director of PPDD nominated The May 18 Memorial Foundation for the Oneworld’s Person of 2007 – Nominate a Trailblazer, check out the link below:

http://oneworldus.civiblog.org/blog/_archives/2007/11/27/3377573.html#1052271

Thanks Anna for the nomination.

This is the call for the award:
OneWorld’s Person of 2007 – Nominate a Trailblazer

Who do you think should be OneWorld’s “Person of 2007”? Maybe it’s someone who was working at the grassroots to bring change to their community or their country. Maybe someone working to improve governments’ policies towards marginalized people. Or someone who raised issues that others were neglecting.

Al Gore came in second place last year, after a close vote where OneWorlders chose Dr. Rashad Zidan and the women of Iraq as the People of the Year, for “their tireless work to keep families together through the terrors of war.” Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf certainly deserves some consideration this year for what she’s done to bring stability to Liberia after years of war. What about Muhammad Yunus, the “father” of microfinance? Or Matt Flannery, the founder of kiva.org, which is bringing microfinance into the living rooms of the United States.

It doesn’t have to be a single person either. Is there a corporation, an organization, or other group you’d like to nominate? The founders of Skype were nominated last year, for “helping connect people from all around the world.” So was the town of Kinsale, Ireland, which has adopted a plan to wean itself off of fossil fuels. How about Bill Clinton? Hillary?

We’ll leave it there. Now you tell us who you would nominate for OneWorld’s Person of 2007 — and why! Leave your nomination(s) in the comment fields below by Wednesday, December 19.

Opening Remarks of Hongkil Lee 518 Chairperson

It is the opening day of the May 18 Memorial Foundation’s 2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School. Below is the opening speech, both in Korean and English translation of Hongkil Lee Chairperson of the Foundation.

2007 광주아시아인권학교 입학식 환영사

먼저 2007년 광주아시아인권학교에 참가한 14개국 스물네분의 아시아지역 인권 활동가와 지도자 여러분을 진심으로 환영하는 바입니다. 그리고 바쁘신 가운데에서도 오늘 입학식에 참여해 주신 내빈 여러분께도 감사드립니다. 민주화의 도시 광주에서 이렇게 여러분을 직접 만나게 되어 반갑습니다.【통역】

First of all, we would like to welcome all the Asian Humans Rights activists from 12 countries. We also would like to show our appreciation for all the guests who are here for the opening ceremony. We are very pleased to see you all here in Gwangju, the sacred place of democracy.

지난 2004년 처음으로 개최되었던 광주아시아인권학교는 이제 아시아인권교육의 중요한 프로그램으로 자리 잡고 있습니다. 지난 2000년부터 시작된 우리재단의 국제사업이 인권학교를 통해 그 결실을 맺고 있는 것 같아 매우 기쁘게 생각합니다.【통역】

Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School, which has been held in year 2004, has been recognized as one of the significant Human Rights trainning programme. I am very glad to hold the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School as a activity of the International Cooperation Programmes since year 2000.

그러나 광주아시아인권학교가 높은 관심을 받고 있다는 것은 다시 말해서 더 많은 요구와 기대를 받고 있다는 뜻이라는 것을 잘 알고 있으며, 우리재단은 그동안 제시되었던 다양한 요구와 미진한 점을 보완하고 개선해 왔습니다. 한편 무엇보다도 광주아시아인권학교를 통해 다녀간 적지 않은 수의 아시아 인권활동가들이 광주와 오월정신의 전도사가 되어 민주주의와 인권발전에 의미 있는 협력자가 되었다는 사실은 더 없이 소중한 인권학교의 성과입니다.【통역】

We fully recognize that more attention to the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School should be improved, so we are trying to accommodate various demand and recommendations to improve it. Meanwhile, it is very inspiring that many of the participants of the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School become our fellows and ambassadors of Gwangju and the spirit of the May 18 Democratic Uprising.

광주아시아인권학교 참가자 여러분과 내빈 여러분.【통역】

Ladies and Gentlemen for 2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School,

아직도 많은 분들은 국내민주화를 완성하지 못한 처지에서 해외 인권과 민주주의에 대해 연대 사업을 진행하는 것에 대해 마뜩찮게 생각하기도 합니다. 그러나 5․18기념재단이 추진해온 아시아 지역의 민주주의와 인권과 관련한 연대와 교육 사업은 우리 사회의 민주주의를 완성시켜가는 또 다른 길이라 생각합니다. 우리 이웃의 인권과 민주주의 발전 없이 우리의 인권과 민주주의가 성장할 것이라고 믿는 사람은 아무도 없기 때문입니다.【통역】

There are still some people who disagree to carry out international cooperation programmes, because they consider we have not fully achieve Human Rights and Democracy in Korea. However, we are very sure all programmes for international cooperation of the May 18 Memorial Foundation in the field of Democracy and Human Rights is the proper way to acheive the democracy in our society. Because there is nobody who believe the possibility of development of our Democracy and Human Rights without those of our neigborhood.

이곳 광주까지 기쁜 마음으로 참가해 주신 아시아의 인권활동가들이 광주아시아인권학교를 통해 광주와 아시아를 잇고, 지역과 지역을 이해하며, 서로의 차이를 존중하는 소중한 시간이 되길 기대합니다.【통역】

I fully desire all of you to play a significant role as a bridge between Gwangju and Asia, and understand different communities and respect our differences.

다시 한 번 광주아시아인권학교 참가를 환영하면서 끝으로 오늘 광주아시아인권학교가 개최되기까지 수고해 주신 국제사업위원회 여러분께 감사의 인사를 드립니다. 감사합니다.【통역】

Once again, with my sincere heart I welcome to 2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School. Finally, we appreciate you and all the international committee members who have paved the way for the 2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School.

Thank you very much.

‘We are May 18’

by
Amit Sengupta
Gwangju (Republic of Korea)


The May 18, 1980 Gwangju uprising against military dictatorship is a reminder that history is still incomplete

There is a chill in the air and the flowers are blooming in orange, blue and vermilion-yellow on the beautiful, stunningly clean, pebbled, rain-washed, sunshine streets of Gwangju, the epical landmark of the great democratic uprising against military dictatorship in 1980. The city is celebrating, even as young couples walk through the inner lanes holding hands. There are banners everywhere, anticipations, tragic memories; there is the will to hope, to create new rainbows of democracy, justice and freedom.

There are old ‘war-zone’ landmarks, the sacred places of the dead, the missing and the murdered, the spontaneous students’ protests at the Chonnam National University, the ‘civilian army’s’ combat with the armed forces at the legendary Provincial City Hall which was captured by the people. May 18 is in the air. The Koreans call it simply: 5.18.

In down town Gwangju students are preparing for massive demonstrations, carnivals and traditional/revolutionary cultural shows. The market is overwhelmed with young people, girls and couples, schoolgirls in uniform, while food stalls in handcarts are happy with the crowds. At the Kenya Espresso coffee shop, a young history teacher sipping coffee with her school students, sums it up: “I am proud of the May 18 uprising. I was 12-year-old then, but I know that this change was necessary. Not much is mentioned in the textbooks, but I show videos, keep the memory alive,” says Kim Young Sin. Her student is not shy. “When I see the images of the massacre, tears flow down my eyes,” she says.

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is celebrating the 27th anniversary of the uprising, and the city is proud of it. Gwangju stands in world history as a city which knows how to preserve its precious memories and respect it, because the inhabitants are deeply aware that those, who inherit the fruits of democracy and then choose to forget the sacrifices of their rebels, are fated to be condemned. “South Korea is indebted to Gwangju,” says journalist Moon Tae Jeong.

That is why two Indians have been awarded the prestigious $50,000 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights this year: Irom Sharmila of Manipur, for her six-year-long fast against the repressive Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1985; and Lenin Raghuvanshi of UP, for fighting child and bonded labour and untouchability in the Hindi heartland. Ironically, the organisers said, the Indian government refused to respond.

The Foundation building in the heart of the city is a sacred space. There are 135 delegates in the East Asia peace forum shaking hands, feminists, journalists and human rights activists from Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma (exiled pro-democracy freedom fighters), Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Japan. Predictably, none from China or North Korea.

“We want a new Asian solidarity, a new vision for human rights in South Korea and Asia,” said Foundation Chairman Honggil Rhee. He was a 39-year-old history professor in 1980 who fully backed the movement and was suspended and jailed. “Korean people believed that military dictatorship under Chun-Doo-Hwan is not acceptable. Students and professors joined the struggle of the citizens. The killings started. They thought they could crush the movement for democracy and set an example. It back-fired because of the people’s resilience. We learnt many things from the rising. We have to constantly fight to get and retain democracy. These were the highest form of sacrifices and we just can’t afford to forget that,” he said.

During and after the democratic and peaceful uprising and the massacre that followed, the people took up arms. A civilian army was formed with students, teachers, workers, farmers, doctors, daughters and mothers. The Provincial City Hall was liberated as a symbol and the city too was liberated. People spilled onto the streets to create support systems. Weapons were looted. Food supply was restored, cooking often on the streets. The locals looked after the injured. The dead were buried.

The city’s memories are full of dark anecdotes. There were stories that the clampdown was US-backed because the military dictatorship was supported by the US. The city was isolated and under siege. No news was allowed to filter out. The rest of the world, from May 18 to May 27, 1980, was blocked out, and even much later, for months. Rumours were circulated by the dictatorship that the uprising was inspired by anarchists and communists led by North Korea, which proved to be an utter lie, because it started as a spontaneous and peaceful rebellion of ordinary citizens, disgusted and angry with the atrocities of military rule.

A taxi driver saw the killings. A priest from a nearby province discovered the bloody stories. A shoeshine boy was a witness, and later, a fighter. The stories started floating out. Some people arrived from Seoul to find the city “as usual”, with not a flutter—so entrenched was the terror. Then the rebellion started spreading with word and text, the dirty official rumours began to sound dirty, protests moved in a spiral from villages to towns and cities, especially among the strong Leftist, anti-imperialist students’ movement in Seoul. But it still took a while, almost a decade and more, for the military dictatorship to dismantle its ugly scaffoldings.

The official death count of the Gwangju massacre is 207. The unofficial runs in the 2,000 plus figure. There are many who have still not been identified. Many students died fighting. The missing have gone missing. Many fell to their injuries, many were tortured, many became insane, some committed suicide. All stories remain categorical yet ambiguous, moving from lips to lips, eyes to eyes, fingers to fingers, flowers to flowers.

But the spirit and the soul of the great rebellion remains. At the sublimely aesthetic National May 18 Democratic Cemetery, an hour from Gwangju, where the entire city, political establishment, students, Buddhist monks, mothers and relatives of the fighters, remember the martyrs with a series of prayer meetings and traditional Korean songs. Tears flow easily. On the mud and grass graves, they put food and Soju, the local drink. A girl student kneels and touches a grave: she has read about it, she wants to feel it herself.

A young Korean volunteer tells us that there are 481 graves, there are more ‘spaces’ for those yet to be discovered, “We are still looking for dead bodies.” Next to every grave, there are vases of flowers, neatly arranged, a message and name on the little monument, and a framed photograph of the rebel: girls, boys, elders, and workers. Those whose pictures can’t be found, or who can’t be identified, have a framed flower instead of a face: Mugunghwa, the serene national flower of South Korea, with its unique aroma.

The aroma spreads. In down town Gwanju outside the epic landmark of the City Hall, thousands are marching, screaming, shouting pro-unification (with North Korea), pro-democracy and anti-Bush slogans, grandmothers with drums, masked students with branches of the trees, girls with paper lamps, workers and activists with torch-lights, with massive music in the background. Thousands are holding hands and singing. All the delegates of the May 18 peace forum are jumping, hugging and clapping. They are all singing, laughing, shouting slogans, some with tears in their eyes. “We are May 18,” says a poster in a students’ hand. “Chun-Doo-Hwan, go do harakiri,” shouts the woman leader on the loud-speaker. They hate Chun-Doo-Hwan. Thousands repeat this angry slogan. Again and again.

At the entrance of the sunshine cemetary, there are two banners, which sum it up, simply: History is Never Complete, May 18 Uprising is Continuing… It is not Finished.

Yes, because ‘We are May 18’.

THE GWANGJU INTERNATIONAL PEACE FORUM 2007 IN SOUTH KOREA

PRESS ADVISORY
8th May 2007
Contact Person : ChanHo Kim
Contact Number : +82 62 456 0518

THE GWANGJU INTERNATIONAL PEACE FORUM 2007 IN SOUTH KOREA

The Gwangju International Peace Forum 2007 is an event that is organized by The May 18 Memorial Foundation of Gwangju, South Korea together with Forum Asia,Thailand. This peace forum is hosted by The May 18 27th Anniversary Committee.

The Gwangju International Peace Forum 2007 is a 4-day event that will be taking place from the 15th of May 2007 till the 18th of May 2007. It will be held at The May 18 Memorial Culture Centre in Gwangju. This event is a brainchild of The May 18 Memorial Foundation that strives to strengthen the solidarity amongst human rights and democracy organizations around the world.

The keynote speaker for The Gwangju International Peace Forum 2007, Mr. Young-Ho Kim is a popular figure in Asia. Mr. Kim was the former Minister in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy in South Korea. He was formerly a professor in Tokyo University, Japan and is currently the President of Yu Han College in Korea. This 4-day event will witness many well-respected and esteemed speakers addressing issues concerning human rights and democracy and the possible measures that can be taken to triumph in this struggle for democracy.

This year The Gwangju International Peace Forum will be held simultaneously with Forum Asia’s East Asian Human Rights Forum. The Gwangju International Peace Forum 2007 will see a total of 150 activists from Korea and abroad participating in this important event. The foreign participants will consist of activists from the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Burma, Mongolia, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Hongkong, Japan, Vietnam and Timor Leste.

‘Gwangju Network for Democracy Movements in Asia’ is the theme for this year’s forum. This is in line with the request of various human rights and democracy organizations that have participated in the previous peace forums of The May 18 Memorial Foundation to play a bigger and more active role in the Asian struggle for democracy. Co-organizing the East Asian Human Rights Forum together with Forum Asia, Thailand, The May 18 Memorial Foundation hopes that the proposed network for democracy movements in Asia will be a bridge that will connect activists from different parts of the world, providing them with solidarity in their struggle for human rights and democracy to be upheld. It is hoped that this network will help facilitate the process of democratization in Asia by putting into place a monitoring mechanism for member countries, producing audio-visual materials of democratic uprisings in Asia as well as developing an education program to nurture youths to become actively involved in the quest for democracy.

Besides the information and dialogue sessions, the peace forum program also includes organized visits to historical sites that are significant to the democratization movement in Korea, participation in the 27th Commemorative Ceremony of the May 18 Democratic Uprising and The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2007 Award Ceremony.

An intense and fruitful dialogue is expected during this peace forum. The May 18 Memorial Foundation is no stranger to the struggle for democracy as they have experienced the bitter struggle during the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising in 1980. It is the foundation’s fervent hope that their fellow activists will be able to triumph in their struggles for a better future.

For more information about The Gwangju International Peace Forum 2007, please contact Mr. ChanHo Kim at +82 62 4560518. Alternatively you can e-mail us at gwangjupeaceforum2007@gmail.com or visit www.518.org .


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