Sunday, July 12, 2020

No, Woman, No Cry

In the Catholic Times' Eyes of the Believer column, a religious sister remembers her visit to the War and Women's Human Rights Museum. At that time she listened to the music that gently entered her and the whole museum. 'No, Woman, No Cry' by Bob Marley was the symbol of peace and resistance in Jamaica. The 'Woman' of the song symbolized Jamaica, a poor country, or any people who are exploited.

The song contains memories and hope for all. While she listened to the song, the background of a video, she remembered the woman victims of wartime violence and sexual exploitation with reverence. 

The museum was built in 2012 as a space for education and memory to solve the problems of the Japanese 'comfort women'— remembering the history of the victims of war and to help future generations to work together through education on these issues. Many students and young people have visited since its establishment: a great educational space that nurtures human rights' sensitivity and desire for peace. 

In particular, there is a guide to the "Butterfly Fund" on the first floor where the song flows through the building. On World Women's Day 2012, two grandmothers expressed their willingness to donate in full to women victims of wartime sexual violence, if they were legally compensated by the Japanese government. So was born the 'butterfly fund' which has helped many women around the world, as in the Congo and Vietnam, and has become a holy example to show that the grandmother victims are now reborn as subjects of hope.

There is another field of "Human Rights Peace Education", which is a hope for future generations. On Wednesdays, over the past 30 years, there is a statue of a girl in front of the Japanese Embassy where demonstrators meet to remember the women who were sex slaves during the War.

With the correct historical perception of the comfort women issue, she sees students and youth make the protest scene lively. Even though the grandmothers are gradually leaving us, they are moved by the thought that this space in the future will be filled with young people. However, it was very painful to see the demonstrations recently disfigured by a lack of discretion on the part of a few. 
The religious sisters have continued to participate regularly each Wednesday for 25 years since 1995. After the courageous testimony of Kim Hak-soon for the first time in 1991, the religious sisters resolved to join hands with the grandmothers. Sisters at that time gathered at the Myeong-Dong Cathedral and held a prayer meeting for the victims. Immediately afterward, they marched in silence to the Japanese Embassy and the next day delivered a letter to the Japanese Prime Minister. We will continue to be with the grandmothers who have courageously witnessed the pain of war crimes by Japan, until the honors of the grandmothers are restored, Japan's acknowledgment of war crimes, true apology, and legal compensation. 

Occasionally, senior peace activists from Japan also participate in the Wednesday demonstrations, and they always appreciate the students who come. She hopes these students will now go beyond Korea, in solidarity with human rights peace activists around the world, including Japan, to work for peace, against violence, and to stand out as a worker in the world where everyone can enjoy universal human rights.

Lastly, she expresses sincere gratitude to the grandmother activists, who have devoted themselves to achieving true peace through their pains, and to many activists who have been with them for a long time. And she finishes—

Everything’s gonna be all right! No, woman, no cry!

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