Gwangju: the city of peace and human rights

20150517_154948

Korea and the Philippines have a lot of similarities in history, such as experiencing martial law and having its people protest against dictatorship. One of the positive things I noticed in Korea is that the spirit of fighting for democracy is still very strong. Whenever I go to central Seoul, I always see demonstrations and campaigns. I especially feel very moved when I pass by Gwanghamun Square where the Sewol ferry demonstration’s been ongoing for a year.

When it comes to democracy, Gwangju city in Jeolla region is famous. Throughout Korean history, its people have had different struggles. In 1980, civilians had a peaceful demonstration (Gwangju uprising) against the military rule. Sadly, it ended with violence by the military. However, it inspired other cities to demonstrate as well. More than three decades later, Gwangju serves as a reminder of the countless number of people who strive for social justice. It now aims to be a city of peace and human rights.

Last May, it was a privilege for me and my classmates to join the opening of World Human Rights Cities Forum and the Gwangju Asia Forum 2015 in Gwangju. We participated in different sessions and visited historical places. Because it was the 35th anniversary of the Gwangju uprising, there was a huge parade and program at the downtown. Participating on that event was the most memorable part of this trip. I still get goosebumps when I remember the part where the families of the victims of the Gwangju uprising and the families of the victims of Sewol ferry incident went onstage and hugged each other. It was very touching and symbolic. I really hope justice will be served someday.

Here are the photos from the trip:

11017535_656460867821165_7819088981090426398_n
First time to ride the KTX!
11011965_1091992870818092_4767783019899263434_n
Arrived safely in Gwangju station

Human rights theme everywhere

20150517_154202

 

Forum

20150517_153027
Kim Daejung Convention Center, the venue of World Human Rights Cities Forum
11201906_1091992977484748_2521943871441904465_n
With the mayor of Gwangju
IMG_4003
Formal OOTD with ate Christine at the Gwangju Asia Forum 🙂
IMG_4001
Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. He was previously a UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in North Korea. I learned a lot from his session.
10835212_1091993297484716_1969754893827934299_o
Group photo with MAINS current and previous students

10411755_10153487146555116_545718776869848798_n

May 18 Memorial Park

IMG_4130

IMG_4132
Memorial for the victims of the uprising

 

The old cemetery

 

May 18 Freedom Park

20150517_164632
“recreation of the military training facility where citizens who fought for democracy against political soldiers during the Democratization Movement were imprisoned and where military trials were carried out”

 

May 18 commemoration (parade and program)

20150517_180937

 

20150517_212429
A moving performance calling for the raising of the Sewol ferry

Last but definitely not the least, the famous Gwangju dishes!

 

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close