Today, the young girl was surrounded by a couple of old friends: a few surviving 'comfort women' who are now in their 80s or 90s. They live in the House of Sharing, a residence and museum in Gyeonggi-do, and come every Wednesday to protest. Not against the statue, but with it, and for justice.
Today, these halmoni were surrounded by hundreds of friends: longtime activists and supporters of the cause, or simple citizens of the World from all ages, all origins, all beliefs.
Today, December 14, 2011, marked the 1,000th Wednesday of protest since January 8, 1992, and masses met in front of the Embassy in Junghak-dong. Wiping away their tears and facing again the camera: they've overcome shame for 20 years, and since then more than ever, the shame is on Japanese leaders.
This is not about nationalism, and this is certainly not about Korea vs Japan, but about Japan vs Justice, and about Japan vs its own future. Crimes were committed and victims simply expect justice*. Japan must face history in order to face the future, and its leaders cannot hide the truth to Japanese citizens any longer.
I've said the same thing about other issues: this is also about saving Japan. And if I joined the protesters, it's also because I love Japan and because I can't accept to see a minority of die hard ultra-conservatives setting a corrupt agenda and betraying the Japanese people.
And to Korean ultra-nationalists who try to hijack this case for their own corrupt agenda, I say: clean your own mess first, and restore the Truth and Reconciliation Commission***.
Help the victims and support the cause:
House of Sharing / Nanum : houseofsharing.org / nanum.org
Join the Facebook group
NB (reminder): until Friday, the House of Sharing's International Outreach Team is organizing near Hongdae a multi-media art exhibition dealing with issues of sexual slavery, human trafficking, and violence and oppression against women, and including film projections, works from halmonies...*
Seoul Village 2011
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* Justice means:
1. That the Japanese government admits the compulsory drafting of Korean women as Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
2. That an official apology will be made for this.
3. That all the atrocities will be fully disclosed.
4. That a Memorial will be built for the victims.
5. That the survivors or their bereaved families will be compensated
6. That the facts and truth about Military Sexual Slavery by Japan will be taught in Japanese history classes so that such inhumanities are not repeated.
7. Punish the war criminals.
** until Friday at Cafe Anthracite (Hapjeong-dong 357-6, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea, near Sangsu station)
*** see previous episodes, including "TRCK : families of victims demand essential follow-up", "TRCK lost in translation or lost in transition ?", "Achievements and Tasks of TRCK's Activities", "Truth and Reconciliation : which model for Korea ?"