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A Year of Living Positively -Day 141

I am sitting in a Wabar with a beer and free wifi access. It's been a very productive day with my comrades.  I am relaxing before turning in for the night.

The guesthouse is good, though the mainly Korean and Chinese, and Kor-Am or Chin-Am young people frequenting it like to hang out in their dorm rooms instead of in the common areas, which makes it difficult to rest in your bed when they are about. I spoke to the girls sharing my dorm room about it and they cooperated so that I was able to get to sleep close to ten o'clock. I awok for about an hour around 12:30, but got a deep rest until about six o'clock this morning. 

It is comfortable in the guesthouse despite the fact that I am occupying the top of a bunk bed. They serve breakfast with eggs, toast, fruit and coffee or tea. The supplies and equipment are in good order, including the showers. 

Today, we had to wrap up the discussions with some pledges of action. After the regional reports were all presented and discussed, the AWC secretariat presented its report. Because their report only spoke of past activities but lacked an analysis and strategy proposal, the discuss of proposals for action lacked a framework and focus. The meeting organizers neglected to provide a synthesis of the reports, too, so that kind of contribution to the discussion of actions was missing. In the end, though, one of the regional committees came up with some points of strategy for organizing and campaigning. They presented it as or a shopping list of activities, but it actually amounted to an attempt at strategy because it incorporated a lot of the issues and previously stated ideas for action into one comprehensive draft plan. I think everyone felt relieved by that development. We left the work of amending and sculpting a final plan for future campaigning for the secretariat. They have a homework assignment!

For out group in South Korea, we accomplished some things. We developed our relationship with the AWC committee of South Korea, which opens up possibilities that they might join us and the ILPS. We also got consent from AWC-Korea and AWC-Japan to bring together international visitors for discussions about nukes and participation in peace actions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, those organizations will host international guests. Fantastic! Now, I can finally let pesky Stephen of the US that his long awaited invitation to come to Korea and Japan to meet activists and discuss his important concerns about problems in the nuclear energy industry. AWC Korea is preparing an invitation for him and his group. Yea! In addition, my and S' being there introduced the Canadian peace solidarity network on Korea, which was informative and encouraging for the activists in Korea, Japan and beyond, and worthwhile as a way to build the network in Canada. I will invite people in our netwok and ILPS organizations in Canada to participate in the Korea-Japan peace/anti-nukes tour. As well, it was a good event for building our contacts and knowledge.

Another thing is that an impromptu discussion of the need to organize women came up. Gloria and I made some comments when a delegate asked why special efforts were being made by migrant worker organizers to organize women. I spoke about politics being a male-dominated arena of masculine character, which is scary to women and hard for them to relate to unles their particular issues are raised. In other words, there are valid reasons why separate women's organizations are required. Gloria got quite braved and talked about the violence that women suffer and the suffering of migrant working women and marriage migrants in Korea.

Tomorrow, we will take action. There is a picket at the US Embassy, and a march to raise concerns arising from the Seowol ferry disaster. Actually, it will be May 5th tomorrow, which is Children's Day in Korea. As most of the 216 deaths were youths on a high school excursion, I expect there to be a huge turnout for this march and rally. Unions and others are demanding the government be accountable for having loosened regulations and lowered standards so much that disasters are more likely and rescue less capable. I will don my sneakers and jeans and take to the streets with all the protesters.

Yam wants to meet me in the afternoon. He is now a friend. He also wants to consult me about his research project. He is developing a questionnaire about education policy for foreign teachers. 

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