Monthly Archives: April 2007

Documents: U.S. troops used ‘comfort women’ after WWII

TOKYO, Japan (AP) — Japan’s abhorrent practice of enslaving women to provide sex for its troops in World War II has a little-known sequel: After its surrender — with tacit approval from the U.S. occupation authorities — Japan set up a similar “comfort women” system for American GIs.

An Associated Press review of historical documents and records — some never before translated into English — shows American authorities permitted the official brothel system to operate despite internal reports that women were being coerced into prostitution. The Americans also had full knowledge by then of Japan’s atrocious treatment of women in countries across Asia that it conquered during the war.

bell hooks Pt 5 cultural criticism (madonna)

Malcolm X – Who are YOU ??

The House Negro and The Field Negro

Three topics for Saturday evening

Don’t feel like writing lately–just feel like reading a lot and experiencing life. However sometimes I need to jot things down. Today’s jottings on 3 topics:


I read this on The Transracial Korean Adoptee Nexus:

Hello all. I was presented with a rare opporunity by a member of the Holt International Board in the U.S. She, like so many of us, is a transracial Korean Adoptee.

She recently sent me an email asking for suggestions on what we as TRA KADs would like the Korean Government to be aware of. I’ll include a tidbit of the email she sent to me without including her name or position within Holt.

“I was wondering if I
could get your opinions on what you, as adoptees,
would like from the Korean government. Our group is
trying to get a sort of ‘wish list’ together for the
Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea, per their
request. This would include anything from current
adoption laws/policies to post adoption laws/policies.

An example: Allow Korean Americans/Korean Adoptees to
adopt under Korean requirements and not have it count
into the quota-have it count as a “Korean Adoption”.”

With the presidential election coming up in December and the daughter of former military dictator Park Chung Hee as the 2nd- favored candidate for the conservative GNP, I wonder does anyone in the Natl Assembly give a care about the welfare of adoptees anyway?

Well, I guess it doesn’t matter much as I don’t have a “wish list.” I don’t think that small tweaks to the program (adoption programs have been tweaked away at for years) are really going to help much. Nothing less than radical institutional and structural change is going to help this very ill system. The radical change that needs to happen is about what makes adoptees available in the first place. That is what Outsiders Within is all about, so that is enough said on that topic.

TOPIC NO. 2: I read this great interview with Angela Davis and the light bulb totally went off. I figured out that this (among other things) is why things like well-meaning Korean Kulture Kamps make me uncomfortable.  No, it’s not because I never got to go and I’m jealous that I cannot fucking fan dance. I have no use for fan dancing or doing the big sit-down bow or wearing a hanbok in my daily life. It’s because……

Davis: The debate often focused on what young black people wanting to associate themselves with a movement for liberation should do, whether they should become active in campaigns against police violence, for example, or whether they should focus their energy on wearing African clothes and changing their name and developing rituals. One of the names members of the Black Panther Party used to call those who focused on Africa and African rituals was sort of pork chop nationalists. There were some of us who argued that yes, we need to develop a cultural consciousness of our connection with Africa particularly since racist structures had relied upon the sort of cultural genocide going back to the period of slavery so that many of us were arguing that we could affirm our connection with our African ancestors in political ways as well, following for example Dr. Du Bois’ vision of pan-Africanism which was an anti-imperialist notion of pan-Africanism rather than the pan-Africanism that projected a very idealized, romantic image of Africa, a fictional notion of Africa and assumed that all we needed to do was to become African, so to speak, rather than become involved in organized anti-imperialist struggles.

Eureka! I’ll focus on participating in struggles that are against violence against women, not for perpetuating a fictional and romanticized culture that actually supports the removal of more children and more therefore violence against women (because these things build on themselves when they become trendy) .

 That is not to say that I don’t support the cultural education of adoptees (as impoverished as it is).  I’m just saying that empowering women to keep their children is a billion times more important and PRIMARY. It is a middle-class thing to commodify Kulture when others are struggling just to keep their children.

Topic 3

Something unexpected that has been a by-product of my living in Korea for almost 3 years now has been that, thankfully, I have a richer idea of what is really going on in contemporary South Korea and “Koreans” are no longer the monolith that they used to be for me. There are all kinds of Koreans and one of the major divisions between them is class. So having the luxury of, for once in my life, being in the ethnic majority, my thinking leans more towards class issues these days (even though race is a factor in Korea as well, and of course race and class are intertwined in the U.S. and globally).

 It occurs to me to look at international adoption not just from a race standpoint —  especially when we have ethnic Koreans in both S. Korea and the U.S. involved in the transactions of transnational adoptions of Korean children — but also from a class standpoint.

from The Field Negro — The Rise of the Patio Negroes
So let’s look at these words I have coined for the Obama types shall we. I call them patio Negroes. They are not quite in the house, but they sure as hell ain’t out here in the fields with us. So this makes them patio Negroes in my book, half way between the fields and the house. Wisely moving between both worlds and doing what it takes to fit in when they have to.

 I’m not going to claim that I’m a “field negro,” but I sure as heck can claim to be the daughter of a Korean woman who took out the trash and cleaned the toilets of richer Koreans.  I bet almost every adoptee can claim to have their origins in a low social or economic class — THAT’S WHY WE’RE ADOPTEES IN THE FIRST PLACE.

But then we get ensconced into relatively wealthier and more privileged families and it’s easy to start thinking like wealthy privileged people.

So what we have in the international adoption agencies is people — often of the same ethnic group as the children they are selling for adoption — who are operating from a point of view that is rooted in middle-to-upper-class “values,” if you can call “values” whatever bizarro notion it is that makes people think that taking children away from mothers is preferable to supporting mothers so they can keep their children, and then commodifying those children’s cultures, which is now completely foreign to them.

Yet what does international adoption offer poor working-class people like my mother?


I never once heard my mother say she was “grateful” for my adoption. I believe she was grateful to my adoptive parents because she had no other choice than to give me away and she was happy that I managed to live. But really, the adoption got her nothing. Nothing nothing nothing. She did not get a trip to Kamp Kimchi in Brainerd or whatever white place in Minnesota they haul adoptees up to so they can learn about “Korean” culture. It did not get her American citizenship (as if that’s better than Korean) or a college education (as if all adoptees get free passes to that).  International adoption only robbed my mother of her children.

 Oh wait. It got her a massive amount of shame and undying guilt.

I do not see how people who love freedom, truth and justice can support a practice which robs adoptees of their legal idetities, silences natural mothers out of shame, in China criminalizes them,  and makes it so that most natural families can never be reunited. International adoption is the opposite of liberation. It is bondage, it is lies, it is injustice.

 International adoption is not a feminist practice. It supports patriarchy, both in the U.S., where women think they have to have children to be full women, and in S. Korea, where unwed mothers and divorced women are discriminated against. International adoption sprouts from patriarchy and it FEEDS patriarchy. Talk about a vicious cycle.

 Certainly I can see that there may be some personal benefits to international adoption. However the personal benefits that can be derived  from international adoption cannot be used to dismiss or diminish the incredible evils that exist alongside the good.  

Daechu-ri: Kaput

Ceremonies honor residents driven from lands slated for Humphreys expansionBy Franklin Fisher, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Monday, April 9, 2007

Franklin Fisher / S&S
Outside the village of Daechu-ri, former village residents and their activist supporters take part in peaceful ceremonies to bid a formal farewell to the area. The South Korean government has required residents in Daechu-ri and other villages near Camp Humphreys to vacate so the post can eventually expand on to nearby lands under a South Korea-U.S. agreement. Seated, front row, second from right, with bear, is Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, a Catholic priest who for several years had led opposition to the expansion project.
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Franklin Fisher / S&S
In village of Daechu-ri, South Korea outside Camp Humphreys, elderly residents are overcome with grief during a day of ceremonies bidding formal farewell to the village on Saturday, which the South Korean government will demolish to make room for an expanded Camp Humphreys. Residents said at least one of the women was overcome when she passed the rubble of a church that had been dear to her family members.
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Franklin Fisher / S&S
Outside the village of Daechu-ri, South Korea near Camp Humphreys Saturday, former village residents and their activist supporters march peacefully through the area during afternoon ceremonies that bid a formal farewell to the area. T
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Franklin Fisher / S&S
Elderly resident collapses in grief during a day of ceremonies.
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Franklin Fisher / S&S
Kim Wol-soon, 70, took part in a ceremony. Kim was one of the last residents to agree to leave the area in exchange for relocation assistance from the South Korean government.
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DAECHU-RI, South Korea — Residents forced to vacate their homes to make room for theCamp
Humphreys expansion bade their farming village a tearful farewell Saturday with ceremonies symbolizing both defeat and defiance.
The ceremonies marked a public end to more than two years of often-violent resistance to a South Korean government effort to move residents from a belt of villages near Humphreys so the
U.S. military can expand onto a 2,238-acre tract.
The last of the residents, mostly elderly farmers, moved from Daechu-ri last week. Hundreds of others had left the villages at various times over the past two years after accepting government compensation.

“We are defeated, but we will not give up,” said Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, a Catholic priest who for several years has been the leading figure in opposing the Humphreys expansion.

Mun acknowledged that “physically, it will be impossible” to block the expansion because South Korean security forces last year seized control of the contested lands and turned them into a restricted area laced with concertina wire and other obstacles guarded by South Korean soldiers. But he said expansion opponents acted in a “just” cause and that many take satisfaction in a conviction that the U.S. military will some day depart
South Korea.

Humphreys is to triple in size and become the
U.S. military’s flagship installation under a South Korea-U.S. agreement. U.S. forces in
Seoul and to its north eventually will relocate to the expanded camp.

One lifelong Daechu-ri resident, Kim Wol-soon, 70, said leaving the house her family built early in her life left her feeling as though she’s suffered a death in her family. She was among villagers who recently agreed to move into thevillage of
Songhwa-ri, where the government has set up temporary residences for those displaced by the project.
The government also found her a job planting flowers along public roads.Saturday’s events went forward in a village where house after house lies in rubble. Government work crews last September used earthmovers to render buildings uninhabitable. They left untouched only those still occupied by holdouts.

Residents expect the government to complete the demolition and clear the land now that they’ve left.

After that, Mun said, “Nobody will be allowed to get in” to the area.

At one point during the afternoon an elderly woman dropped to her knees as she passed the rubble of what had been a one-story church that served the village. Clasping a large chunk of masonry, she began a crying that quickly became a keening. She moaned repeatedly a Korean word of vexation or grief.

“Aay-go-oh-oh,” she wailed. “Aay-ay-go-oh-oh.”

Several women rushed to comfort her.

The ceremonies began earlier with about 125 people walking from the village to a small bridge about a half-mile out amid what until last year had been rice fields.

Authorities knew of the planned ceremonies and made no attempt to stop them. A handful of police stood behind shields near the bridge, but there were no confrontations.

The group gathered below two towering bamboo-strip statues meant to serve as totem-like guardians of the villagers’ welfare, Mun said. The statues, each 30 or more feet high, were set afire.

Mun said the burnings symbolized something akin to suicide because the figures had failed to ward off misfortune and no longer had a reason to exist. He said the concept had its roots in a native totemist religion.

The group took part in several other ceremonial acts, in one of which an object in the shape of a boat was burned, signifying the displaced residents’ hope that they can one day return to their former lands.

Workers have already begun readying one portion of the expansion lands for eventual construction, and work crews could be seen in the distance as the ceremonies were under way.

TJ has posted some great photos of the last day of Daechuri on her blog

Korean adoptee kills adoptive mother in Chicago

Jae Harrell was not reported to be an adoptee in this story. However, the S. Korean media reported the story saying he is an adoptee. Thanks to my Korean friend for giving me the heads up. So sad.

Bail set for man accused of killing mother

[라디오코리아 2007-03-30 21:11]

시카고에서 한인 입양인이 양어머니를 목 졸라 살해한
혐의로 기소돼 충격을 주고 있습니다. 자세한 소식
뉴욕에서 이희향

특파원이 보도합니다.

24살 재 하렐씨. 그는 한인 입양인 입니다. 시카코 주요
언론들은 재 하렐씨가 자신의 양어머니를 살해했다고

있어 충격을 주고 있습니다.

시카고에서 보도된 신문 내용에 따르면 재 하렐씨는 지난
24일 자신의 양어머니인 루스 하렐씨와 양 어미니의 집앞

안에서 발다툼을 벌였으며, 이 과정에서 재 하렐씨는
격분한 나머지 둔탁한 흉기로 양 어머니의 머리를
내려치고, 목을 졸라 사망케 했다고 보도했습니다.

그이후 재 하랠씨는 시신을 자동차에 실고 한 학교
주차장에 유기시켰으나, 몇시간 후 다시 자동차를 몰고
시카고 일리노이주 아이젠하워(I-290) 고속도로 갓길에
버렸다고 보도하고 있습니다.

재 하렐씨는 양어미니를 살해한 이후 양어머니가 살고
있던 동네인 듀페이지 카운티 경찰서에 전화를 걸어
양어머니가 실종됐다며 신고한 것으로 알려지고 있습니다.
경찰은 양어머니인 루스 하렐씨는 고속도로 순찰에게
발견됐으며. 실종신고를 조사하는 과정에서 재하렐씨를
용의자로 기소하게 됐다고 밝혔습니다.

재하렐씨는 현재 1급 살인혐의로 기소된 상태입니다.

재 하렐씨는 이미 전과기록을 가지고 있는 것으로
알려지고 있습니다. 양 아들에게 살해당한 루스 하렐씨는
재 하렐씨 이외에는 다른 가족이 없는 것으로 알려지고
있습니다. 루스 하렐은 10년 전 남편과 사별했으며, 현재
한 요양원에서 간호사로 근무해 오다가 이같은 변을