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radical lang exchang   pm.10:35, Wednesday ( 4496hit )
"When You Grow Up, You Must Take the Village Back"

Ceremony for Daechuri's Last Days.

On 7 April 2007, a ceremony was held to mark the conclusion of the Daechuri struggle. The residents who had left earlier, and those who had stayed until the end, came together to have the ceremony.

The villagers set fire to the two bamboo guardian statues that stood at the entrance of the village. They wept as they watched the statues burn. It made me remember last spring when the villagers resisted, fighting the advancing backhoes and shouting desperately, crying in the field. We struggled, but now we're leaving.

While the statues were still burning, the residents left the field, carrying a symbolic peace boat, decorated with flowers. As they approached the Daechu Elementary School yard, someone said to Byeong Cheol, an elementary school student of the village, who was riding in the boat, "Byeong Cheol, when you grow up, you must take the village back."

A hole for a time capsule had previously been dug in the Daechu Elementary School yard, and a jar had been placed at the bottom. After the boat arrived in the yard, the residents began to write their wishes on pieces of wood, with tears in their eyes.

"We will definitely come back."
"Our descendents will certainly take the land back."
"Oh my homeland, I will never forget you."
"I hope that we will live happily, that our children will be successful, and that we will take our land back."
"I hate leaving Daechuri."

Kim Won Sun, an old resident, was holding the piece of wood with "I hate leaving Daechuri" written on it. "I can't stop shedding tears." she said, "It's the first time I've moved out. I've lived here 60 years. My heart is totally broken. I really hate leaving here. When I close my eyes, I see an image of my house and my village." On this day, though, Kim didn't visit her old house. "I didn't go to my house. Last time, when I went to the house, all of the doors were torn off. It looks so bad. I couldn't go there today."

Father Moon made a speech. "We'll never forget our defeat and our anger and disgrace. As the two school girls' death showed us, we can see clearly how Korea is cruelly subordinated by the US. Have we ever struggled as desperately as we have now to stop the expansion of the US army base?
Now we are recording our history that will be handed down to our descendants. The Anseong Stream is still going to flow along the field. The field will remain in people's minds as a shrine of peace. Our struggle is a seed of hope for people who dream of world where there is equality. Time will tell who was in the wrong. Even though we were defeated and the Korean government and the United States won this time, their violence will be revealed in time. We have learned how valuable human rights are while struggling against the imperialist army and the violence of the state. Noh Moo Hyun achieved the common ground with the conservative party that he so wished. He's degraded himself. He is no longer our president. Noh Moo Hyun will be remembered by the people as a shameful president who sold out his country."

Father Moon's last words echoed over the field. The residents began to place the pieces of wood into the time capsule. The village head, Shin Jong Won, burst into tears as he was lowering the pieces of wood into the hole. The residents also began to weep. After the people's treasured things and messages had been sealed in the jar, they filled in the hole, stamped down the earth there and set a sign over the place. To conclude the ceremony, the flower boat was set on fire.

from Chamsesang; translated by Radical Language Exchange

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