Sunday, May 24, 2015

5.24.15 - Human Chain Rally for Henoko @Diet Building, Tokyo • Okinawan elected political leaders, John Junkerman and Catherine Jane Fisher among speakers

Okinawan elected political leaders for Henoko today in Tokyo
 (Photo: Photojournalist Ken Shindo)

The weekend has been a great weekend for peace and justice advocates. Oscar Romero was beatified.  The traditional conservative Catholic priest was assassinated (during Mass) 35 years ago, three after he became Archbishop of El Salvador—surprising many as he became the most outspoken advocate for the rural farmers under assault by a US-backed military dictatorship in El Salvador. Ireland has given full recognition and respect to our beloved LGBT family members and friends. The March Against Monsanto swept through 428 cities in countries. The Women Cross DMZ crossed the DMZ and powerfully countered the media men who would challenge their vision of peace and healing for Korea, still mired in a 65-year-war. 

And in Tokyo, today, May 24, the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament, Japanese people rallied to support Okinawa's quest for similar healing and to save one of the Ryukyu archipelago's few cultural heritage sites that survived the US-Japan ground war in Okinawa 70 years ago.  

Senator Keiko Itokazu
(Photo: Photojournalist Ken Shindo)

15,000 people gathered in Tokyo to form a human chain around the National Diet Building and to make some noise for Okinawa in protest of the Washington-Tokyo plan to landfill Okinawa's most beloved natural cultural heritage site, the coral reef and dugong ecosystem in Okinawa.

US military rape survivor, author, and visual artist Catherine Jane Fisher 

Filmmaker John Junkerman

This rally came on the heels of 3 days of mass rallies in Okinawa including the 35,000 protest in Naha last weekend. (The 35,000 official number for attendees reflects the legal limit for the stadium; according to attendees, many thousands more somehow squeezed in and ringed the facility, bringing the unofficial estimate to around 50,000...)

Speakers at today's rally in Tokyo included filmmaker John Junkerman and US military rape survivor, author and artist Catherine Jane Fisher. Junkerman's new film on Okinawa will be released in June, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the end of the US-Jp ground war in Okinawa. The Japanese translation of Fisher's book has been launched. (More on both soon, along with Gov. Onaga's visit to Hawaii and Washington this week.)

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