you don’t give a fuck about our little yellow brothers & sisters, do you lisa

SK Buddhist monks protest THAAD missiles near Seoul
Guy Taylor, Faschingstein Times, May 7 2017


SEONGJU, SK – Buddhist monks in this hillside county 135 miles south of Seoul have spent the past 59 days in a nonstop meditation protest along a road leading to where the Pentagon recently positioned an ABM system designed to counter the threat of incoming warheads from North Korea. While Washington’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system has triggered outrage among peace activists across SK, the protest here by monks from the Won sect of Buddhism, whose founders once lived in the nearby hills, has added a religious element to the backlash. As a helicopter swirled overhead and about two-dozen South Korean military police stood guard nearby, a 53-year-old monk named Won Ik-son told me:

We’ll keep praying here until the THAAD goes away. This is our resistance to the government’s violation of our freedom of religion. There are many monasteries and temples around here, and the holy site is nearby. The primary teachings of our grandmaster was about peace. The deployment of THAAD is accelerating the pace of war. The whole Korean Peninsula could be destroyed at anytime by conventional weapons. The deployment of THAAD hasn’t done anything but escalate that.

The police were fanned out across the entrance of the road leading to a former golf course where components of THAAD are now positioned. The course previously was owned by the Lotte Group, one of SK’s biggest business conglomerates. A village about a mile away was the site of a clash between several thousand protesters and police last month, when the system was first being deployed to the course, which Lotte made available as part of a land swap deal following political friction over other possible locations for THAAD in SK. Division over THAAD has burned through the campaigns ahead of SK’s presidential vote on Tuesday, with liberal front-runner Moon Jae-in calling for a government review of the system’s deployment if he wins the election. Dozens of local residents and antiwar activists from around the country continue to gather daily at a community center in the village to protest, asserting that the system’s deployment represents an unnecessary and dangerous military escalation that has made the area a target for potential missile strikes from NK or potentially China. But it’s up the road from the village, closer to the golf course, that the Won monks are carrying out their round-the-clock meditation session, arguing that the SK government should have done more to prevent THAAD’s deployment, which the monks say is insultingly close to the holiest sites of their Buddhist sect. The actual road leading up to the course was previously used year round by monks on pilgrimages to honor Won Buddhism’s founders, who lived in the area during the early- and mid-1900s. Now the road is blocked, while groups of about a dozen monks at a time switch off in shifts to carry out the continual meditation protest under a makeshift, blue plastic canopy on the side of the road.

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