A daily ritual begins early in Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea, site of a joint U.S.-South Korean deepwater naval base. At 7 am every morning, activists at the entrance to the military base, begin a “100 bows” prayer. Police are lined up around them to make sure they don’t block construction vehicles. On this particular morning, this spiritual presence is augmented by Catholic peace workers, some of whom spent the previous night here in the raw damp. A mattress lies by the side of the road, occupied by Father Mun, one of the most famous radical priests in Korea. When he gets up, he is surrounded by an entourage of police who move with him as he walks, blocking his way if he tries to go too close to the road into the base. At one point, he shakes his cane at them, shouting in Korean that he is not a contagious disease to be quarantined this way.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.