Thursday, January 16, 2014

Democracy Now! interview with filmmaker John Junkerman on Okinawa

Amy Goodman began her Democracy Now! program on Okinawa today with an excerpt from Korean American filmmaker Annabel Park's five-minute video interview with Hirotoshi Iha, "The Heart of Okinawa."

Filmed in Takae in 2010, Mr. Iha explains why he became a peace and democracy activist and the deep meaning of the "Heart of Okinawa." In 1955, his six-year-old cousin, Yumiko-chan, was raped and murdered by an American soldier, who was quietly returned to the U.S. after conviction. The life-long activist then explains why the majority of Okinawans don't want the noisy and dangerous Futenma training base "transferred" to Henoko: "because we know the human cost of it."

"Okinawa’s Revolt: Decades of Rape, Environmental Harm by U.S. Military Spur Residents to Rise Up" then segways into an interview with academic and activist Kozue Akibayashi and filmmaker John Junkerman, who describes the massive expansion [on private property acquired by force and coercion] of US military training and bombing support bases on the tiny island during the Korean War and Vietnam War.  US military bases now take up 20% of the island. Junkerman explains that nearly seventy decades of US use of Okinawa for war training and war support has violated the spirit of the Ryukuan people, who are traditionally pacifist.

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