Oh Cheul Geun is wearing traditional funeral clothes.
Twice a day he mourns and sourrounds the 49 hectar construction site by taking three steps and then bowing to the ground. Always the same movement. Even in heavy rain and wind.
He is mourning the death of four things:
- The death of the sovereignty of Korea
- The death of Human Rights
- The death of democracy
- The killing of the Gureombi rock
Gureombi Rock is a 1.2 km long and over 250 meters wide lava coastline which is Koreas only wetland formed in a rocky environment. Its fresh water tidal pools provide habitats for a number of endangered animals such as the red-footed crab and the narrow-mouthed toad. The nearly extinct Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin lives in the waters close by.
In 2002, the coastal area where the US/korean naval base will be built, was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the waters off the coast were designated as a marine ecosystem protection zone by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Recognising the value of Gureombi coast, the Jeju Provincial Government designated it as an area of absolute protection in 1991, making any change to it effectively impossible. However, its protected status was lifted in Dec. 2009 by the Jeju Provincial Council.
Gureombi rock is very important for the locals, and many people worship the rock. Its water is believed to have a high spiritual value and is used for the worship of ancestors.
The rock used to be furthermore a playground for the children of the village.
The first blast on Gureombi rock happened on March 19th 2012.
All images ©2012 Carole Reckinger. Do not reproduce without written permission