DIAFF 6th (2018)
Svetlana Alexievich, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2015, visited Japan in the fall of 2016. At that time, she hoped to visit the site of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. SUH Kyung-sik accompanied her and looked around the site. SUH would like to introduce a documentary capturing Alexievich’s visit to the Fukushima incident site for this year’s Diaspora Film Festival. Along with the Reflecting on Fukushima: Minorities and Disasters , directed by Hideya Kamakura (aired on NHK ETV, April 9th, 2017), SUH will talk about how Alexievich viewed the phenomenon of Fukushima, and examine the history of the 20th century and the future of human beings with a wider and deeper perspective at the same time. Her representative works include Chernobyl Prayer (originally published in 1997) and this book has a subtitle, A Chronicle of the Future . She felt that the catastrophic aspect revealed by the Chernobyl accident will cover the future of the whole human race, not the hopeful ‘future.’ Alexievich saw the ‘future’ that she had anticipated in the past at that time in Japan. Humans can’t learn from the past. Have you ever had the evidence presented so clearly and simultaneously as this? Alexievich’s recent work, Secondhand Time , reminds us of ‘endless forests of agony.’
It seems like we are living in ‘the age of hatred.’ People from all over the world, who have been in more vulnerable states in the 21st century, are using ‘hatred’ as an escape route. Instead of fighting against the strong and the powerful, they are passing on responsibilities to the minorities and the weak. The minorities are the easiest target. In Korea, the targets are women, 5.18 victims, Sewol Ferry victims, gender minorities, and immigrant workers, but the immigrant workers are the group who are most hated among them. Trump’s win of the presidential election and the U.K.’s Brexit can also be interpreted as how the immigration hatred became political issues. In Korea, the aversion to immigrant workers goes beyond a dangerous level. In early 2010, many internet communities, which portrayed the hatred against the multicultural society, were launched and the exaggerated fear of foreign criminals continues to grow. The protests against the Chinese and Chinese abhorrence, triggered by the success of the films, The Outlaws and Midnight Runners in 2017 and were a meaningful counterattack against the hatred toward immigrants.
KANEKO Fumiko(1903-1928) was the spouse and comrade of PARK Yeol. However, Fumiko was not a supporter or follower of him. She was steadfast and fought for the individual independence from the state, and practiced solidarity with the oppressed, although she was a member of the rulers. She was an extremely rare woman in modern Japanese history. HASEGAWA Teru(1912 - 1947) is another distinctive person to remember. When she was attending the Women’s College of Education in Nara Prefecture, Teru learned the Esperanto language, read the autobiography of KANEKO Fumiko, and solidified the will of self-reliance and anti-war. In the meantime, she fell in love and married Liu Ren, a student from Manchuria, against the strong opposition of her family. She moved to Shanghai, China to join her husband in 1937. At that time, Shanghai was the center of the progressive Esperanto movement in the world. Teru threw herself into the movement of anti-war and national liberation with her husband. It was a bold move, leaving her ‘mother country Japan’ to ‘enemy state China’ and losing the identity of a ‘Japanese citizen’ and joining the universal group of ‘humanity.’ KANEKO Fumiko and HASEGAWA Teru are pioneers who are remembered by very few people even in Japan. I would like to share the stories of these two Japanese women who struggled for independence from the state and the stories around them, focusing on LEE Joon-ik’s film Anarchist from Colony at the Diaspora Film Festival.
It was always heart-breaking that newly coined words such as ‘Hell-Joseon’, ‘Soil-spooned’, and ‘N generation’ (*all referring to difficult lives of the young generation in Korea) represent the young people of today. In reality, freedom, passion, love, ideal, all of which once regarded as young people’s privilege now became a luxury dream. The director wanted to heart-warmingly console them in this film, the ones suffering to get a job, lost and discouraged to find what they really want. Even if your life is not receiving attention from others or some are saying your life is failed, there is no such thing as meaningless time. She wishes all young people in the world to be able to slowly look for their own little forest, regardless of the size or the density, with a little bit more comfort in mind. She says it is okay to do so.
This year, ‘Diaspora in Focus’ looks into certain trends in recent Korean films with characters who are lost without homes. Many characters dwelled in search of places to settle. But the journey is not easy for them, and the end of dwelling is another dwelling. People become refugees in the city and have been thrown into the constant situation of the diaspora. The youngest generation is the most vulnerable among them. The older generation that owns housing is expressing their desire to exploit the young generation, against the public rental housing policy. For the younger generation, the housing rights as human beings become the most urgent issue. We prepared ‘Diaspora in Cities: Where is My Friend’s House?’, a forum linked to ‘Diaspora in Focus,’ and we will discuss with the directors of the invited films about the immigration and residential issues of Korean youth as well as their experience and thoughts as the youth.
In last year alone, around 700,000 Rohingya people, described by UN as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, became refugees. They crossed the border to avoid massacre, rape, arson and plunder carried out by the Burmese army. They are even deprived of their Burmese citizenship and are just ‘surviving’ in the Bangladesh refugee camps. In Korea, we recently came to recognize the issue with frequent news coverage, but our awareness still stays at a superficial level. It is vital to mutually understand each other to coexist and harmonize over warm greetings. We need to face the lives of persecuted Rohingya people, sympathize with their dreams of a dignified future and the prejudice and hatred hidden in ourselves towards the Rohingya. In this forum, we will share stories of the Rohingya, which we haven’t heard from the news coverage. Stories filmed at Burmese and Bangladesh refugee camps, testimonies from the survivors and the life in South Korea as a Rohingya refugee will be lively shared.
The borders between countries are still solid, even in this 21st century when global migration is so common. When an individual crosses the boundaries of the nation-state, that person becomes either a citizen or a refugee. While those people who could not be citizens cross oceans, deserts, meadows, and cities, the citizens face the boundaries of cultures, religion, skin color, and language. After the Korean War, South Korean nurses and miners went to West Germany. For around 10 years
from 1966, about 10,000 Korean women were recruited by the Overseas Development Corporation and found employment at the medical care institution in West Germany.
Women who were around 20 years old by then chose to migrate to make a living for their family and their future. They were also eager to escape from the patriarchal order of Korean society, poverty, absurdity, and political persecution. The women experienced second socialization in the West German society, that was the scene of the 68 Revolution and pioneered various aspects of life beyond medical care.
They protested the withdrawal of the labor recruitment of the Western Germany government in the mid-1970s as it was de facto forced repatriation. In 1977 and 1978, they launched a nationwide signature campaign and won the right to stay. They declared that they are human and not objects. Furthermore, the women became the subjects of alternative culture beyond the mainstream culture of Europe, male, white, heterosexual, and middle class. They walked out of the fate of the past and set up a new place and space of life for themselves.
Advisor : YI Hee-young(Associate Professor, Daegu University)
After the March 1st Independence Movement, many Koreans left their hometowns and moved to Japan, Manchuria, China, as well as Russia and Europe. Many of them had to leave their hometowns against their will, and the places they settled in were also very barren. Through the life and literature of the people who had to leave the country, the Museum of Korean Modern Literature would like to examine the realities of the world that are unknown to us. There will be a special discussion session with writer SUH Kyung-sik and young novelist BAIK Sou Linne.
I ask ‘Why.’ Why do humans talk about being wrong, not being different? Why do humans kill other humans? The question remains. It gets confusing if it is the human nature issue or the religion issue that should embrace human beings and advance human beings. There is a refugee camp at Calais in France, and it was built in the 1990s during the Balkan War. Most people who lived were from Eastern Europe when it was built. After the Balkan Peninsula recovered little by little, African refugees began to settle in the camps. And as the Arab refugee crisis broke out in 2015, they also settled in this refugee camp. People compare the refugees to floods and refer to the camp as the jungle. Those events that took place during the two World Wars are still being repeated with conflicts and wars whether they are visible or invisible, continuous or discontinuous. The only thing that has changed is that genocide has become easier with the development of weapons. In the force of destruction and explosion, the fragile human bodies are scattered in the name of refugees. We didn’t get to move forward. Not even a step. And in Myanmar, the country of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the symbol of resistance and democracy, the Rohingya incident took place. She was the one who shouted ‘Freedom from fear’ against the tyranny of military dictatorship and drove democracy into Myanmar. But the violence against the ethnic minorities became more severe, and even genocide was carried out. She paradoxically informed that the age of barbarians is not over.
This exhibition re-constructs specific sections of an applauded exhibition produced and held at the Seoul History Museum in June, last year. It focuses on Korean nurses dispatched to Germany in 1960-70’s, who communicated with Korean society freely crossing borders of political and cultural differences and actively and independently involved in German society.
The exhibition is consist of 4 parts, starting with ‘Way to Germany’ which continues to ‘Life in Germany’, ‘Fights for the right to stay’ and ‘After the fight’. The former two parts highlights the moment they arrive in Germany and their lives afterwards. Photos of Korean migrant women will be
exhibited, including the ones taken at Gimpo Airport before they leave their families, German language books they had to go back to all the time to overcome the language barrier, and
the first cars they bought which enabled them to travel across Germany and enjoy freedom.
The latter two parts cover their fight for the right to stay against the West German government’s deportation policy between 1977-1978. Appeals and photos encouraging the campaign, video clips of the hearing with the West Germany authorities are exhibited to show the fierce moments of their fight. Adding to this, a piece of work by YAJIMA Tsukasa focusing on their social involvement even after the fight, and asking the contemporary meaning of their movement reflecting on gender and sexuality issues in the present.
Advisor: YI Hee-young(Associate Professor,Daegu University)