2021: Petition for Dr. SONG Kang-Ho 송강호
Dr. SONG Kang-Ho hat in Heidelberg Prakt. Theologie studiert (1989 Promotion) und am Symposium der DOAM im Jahre 2008 in Seoul teilgenommen. Diese Petition wurde von Freunden der Mennonitenkirche in Südkorea, den USA und Deutschland initiiert. Mehr zu Dr. Song auf dieser Webpage der DOAM.
Petition for Dr. Song Kang Ho
Your honor, As people who support peace activist Dr. Song Kang Ho, who fights against war and violence and leads peace movements all over the world, we lament his two years prison sentence in the first trial, because we are well aware of the journey that the defendant Song Kang Ho has taken as a peace activist and peace theologian over the past 20 years. While the defendant Song Kang Ho was studying at the Graduate School of Theology at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, he was recommended by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to study at Heidelberg University in Germany and received a doctorate in theology. During his five-year degree course in Germany, he visited Rwanda and Bosnia, which were war zones experiencing the tragedy of civil war. He was shocked to see how religion (Christianity), that should teach peace, was degenerating civilians into cruel genocide. This led him to give up his stability as a theologian and commit his whole life to healing and working for those who were victimized by war and the military as a peace activist. Thus, for over 20 years, he has devoted himself to peace work in the Timor-Leste (East Timor) civil war, war in Afghanistan, and helping victims of the civil war in Aceh, Indonesia, earthquake victims in Haiti, and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh at the world's largest refugee camp, and made his way to Gangjeong Village in Jeju Island, which was suffering from the naval base construction, due to the lack of equity in the process. Our defendant Song Kang Ho is a religious person who believes in the existence of God and continues to pray for the presence of God who heals the suffering land. As a theologian and religious person, he never ceased nor gave up praying for God's full intervention for peace and reconciliation despite the dire situation in conflict areas. Even in Gangjeong Village, he prayed every single morning on Gureombi Rock, a symbol of peace for the people of Gangjeong, long before the blasting of Gureombi began. On that rock he prayed that Jeju Island, an island of world peace, would become a true island of peace without military bases, and that the Gangjeong Village community would be reconciled and restored in truth. When he was unable to pray on Gureombi, due to the blast, he continued his prayers at the southern seawall overlooking Gureombi, and after the naval base was completed he prayed in front of its main gate. He was unafraid of detainment, danger or any ridicule. On March 7, 2020, to commemorate the passing of eight years since the blast of Gureombi, a sanctuary for the people of Gangjeong and where Song Kang Ho prayed, defendant Song Kang Ho wished to pray at the remaining part of the Gureombi Rock, which lies within the naval base. He applied for numerous official visits to the Navy, but he did not receive any reply. Two years ago, president Moon Jae-in himself visited Gangjeong Village. He apologized to the people for the illegality and violence used in the process of construction, and promised efforts towards cohesion and harmony, but the Navy remained unresponsive to any proposal regarding this issue with no answer or explanation. In the midst of the Navy’s irresponsible silence, Song Kang Ho had no choice but to damage the base's barbed wire and enter the base. However, while he was there for an hour and a half, he only prayed on top of the remaining pieces of the unbroken Gureombi for peace. No harm was done to the military, which is why the soldier and police officer who first discovered him simply evicted him. Your honor, Defendant Song Kang Ho was accused of destroying military facilities and was taken under custody on March 30, 2020. On his first trial he was sentenced two years and is now held in Jeju prison. However we cannot help but think that this is an excessively harsh ruling. Defendant Song Kang Ho did not intend to pursue any private interests or inflict any harm on the military through his actions. In some ways his actions can be perceived as rather innocent and reckless. However, he is a believer of peace and a religious man who consistently believes that the very childlike innocence and recklessness can finally overcome war and the violence inherent in the military. We sincerely plead that in the second trial the ruling takes this faithful peace activist and theologian’s sincere activism into consideration, and teach our society and the next generation how noble and dignified is the value and pursuit of peace.