The knives are out again for those advocating for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Almost eight years to the day, I wrote “The Knives are Out For Those Who Challenge Militarization of the Korean Peninsula,” about Washington Beltway pundits and those on the payroll of organizations and corporations that make money out of the U.S. bureaucracy’s need for an enemy. These groups had focused their outrage and diatribes at Women Cross DMZ for organizing the 2015 trip to North and South Korea and daring to challenge the status quo of U.S. policy toward North Korea. Eight years later as Women Cross DMZ and other Korea peace advocacy groups are organizing a National Mobilization to End the Korean War July 26-28, 2023 in Washington, DC, the knives are out again.
The weekend before the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Global Women for Peace United against NATO representing women in 35 countries met July 6-9, 2023 for three days of peace discussions in Brussels, Belgium. I am writing with details of each of the excellent panels and webinars to provide a sense of the numbers of women from around the world who participated in the program. Six webinars provided opportunities for women and men worldwide to hear from community members who are concerned about the militarization of our world and wars that threaten the survival of the human race. We will continue to meet to strengthen our international/global solidarity and plan for actions July 9-11, 2024 in Washington, DC for the 75th anniversary of NATO.
At the intensive care unit at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, nurse Kelley Anaas has cared for a lot of people who have gotten sick with Covid-19 during the pandemic. “I took care of plenty of people who got sick at their work,” said Anaas, who has been a nurse for 14 years and is a steward with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). “I remember taking care of a woman five years older than me, who didn’t make it, who got her job working in a liquor store. Her family’s not gonna get a dime for the sacrifice she made and the choice she didn’t have. I saw the ramifications of that in a much more real way than, you know, lawmakers.” The surge of collective actions by workers in 2022 indicates momentum in the labor movement. Much of this resurgence has been led by workers on the front lines of the pandemic, who have been most at risk when it comes to health and safety.
On December 13, 2022, Women Cross DMZ Executive Director Christine Ahn received the Peace Summit Medal for Social Activism at the 18th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but not without controversy. As we all well know, not everyone — mostly politicians in the U.S. and South Korea — want peace with North Korea. In fact, Jin-tae Kim, the right-wing, conservative, hawkish governor of the province of Pyeongchang, where the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was held, declined to attend the conference, a conference about peace-making. South Korean news media sources stated that the governor reportedly believed that Christine Ahn was a North Korea apologist because seven years ago, in 2015, she led a 30-woman international delegation, including two Nobel Peace Laureates, to North Korea for meetings with North Korean women, not North Korean government officials.