More than 700 civic and social groups will be joining a candlelight march for peace in condemnation of the US’s plans to wage war against Iraq.
The ‘Anti-War Peace Front,’ consisting of more than 700 groups including the People’s Alliance that campaigned against the Gulf War in 1991, will not stop at the International Anti-War peace march on February 15. It will go on to join hands with the committee dealing with the killing of the two schoolgirls by American soldiers to launch the Rally for Autonomy and Peace on March 1, thus spreading the anti-war peace movement.
Through the February 11 press conference, participating civic groups announced, “The international society, concerned over the US’s unilateral militarism, is planning a worldwide peace march in over 100 cities. The US’s provocations to war will destroy the achievements of democracy and the system of international politics.”
Chung Soo Young, secretary-general of the Anti-War Peace Front, says, “It is a pity that the Peace Front, which actively opposed the Gulf War in 1991, has to become active again in the face of war threats.” Chung emphasizes, “We cannot understand the US’s logic behind war when Iraq is still suffering from the aftereffects of the Gulf War such as deformed babies due to exposure to uranium radiation.”
Adds Chung, “The death of the two schoolgirls by American soldiers in Korea happened because of the threat of war, and so we plan to gather the will of all who oppose war and desire peace. Starting with the peace march, we also plan to initiate a peace network.”
The candlelight peace march scheduled for February 15 starting off from Marronnier Park and finishing near City Hall has drawn much public attention, as it has been announced that netizens will be holding a voluntary performance along the way.
An online group (www.cyberaction.or.kr) says, “We decided to form this group because we realized that the war on Iraq has deep implications for us, considering George Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ speech.” Since last year, the group has held anti-war demonstrations in the form of picket protests in front of City Hall and Yeouido and video screenings and musical performances.
In a statement supporting the Korean anti-war peace team that left for Iraq on February 7, the Socialist Party said, “According to UN reports, a war on Iraq will result in at least 500 thousand deaths and 1.2 million refugees. We are concerned about the terrible consequences of war and will make all efforts to spread the anti-war campaign opposing the Korean government’s support for the war on Iraq.”
Chung Hyun Baek, representative of KWAU, points out, “Women aught to be at the forefront of the peace movement, but it’s true that we have been remiss for various reasons including preparations for the new administration. KWAU is seriously considering a plan to embrace the theme of anti-war and peace in its preparations for Women’s Day.”
Son Lee Duk-Soo, president of the Women’s Forum of the Reform People’s Party, exhorted women’s participation, pointing out, “It is only a matter of course that women pour their efforts into opposing war, considering the possibility that the Korean peninsula is next after Iraq and our duty to oppose our government’s dispatching of troops to Iraq.”