By year's end, 228 homes and the public school built by residents of a South Korean village will be demolished and the fields they used to farm seized. This is being done to expand the U.S. military base, Camp Humphreys.
It's all part of the smaller U.S. military presence in South Korea that will see its troop strength reduced from its current 37,000 to 25,000 by 2008.
According to Medea Benjamin (a personal hero of mine) who traveled to South Korea in support of the dispossessed villagers, expansion of Camp Humphreys is part of the changing "role of U.S. forces in Korea from a defensive posture against North Korea towards a more flexible, rapidly deployable force for the wider Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. military refers to this as 'strategic flexibility'." And while there will be fewer U.S. troops, their capabilities will be enhanced technologically, as well as their golfing skills. That's because a lot of the land seized from the farmers will be used for a golf course.
But this isn't a story about a bunch of "inconvenienced" citizens. If governments determine a better use for your property than what you're using it for, be it to provide you and your family a living or a living space, governments will prevail, either by use of eminent domain or some other force. It's just the traditional "have-lesses" yielding to the "haves" and "have-mores" who are building a better world for us all.
No, instead, I only mention this for the delightful phrase Koreans often employ on occasions such as these. It's brought to us as a result of Medea Benjamin's visit to this South Korean village about to be erased from the earth for a par-72 past time. In English it sounds like this:
“Georgie Bushie Chigura Donada”
which translated means,
“George Bush, leave this planet!”
That gave me my first smile of the pre-dawn day. It's kinda catchy.
“Georgie Bushie Chigura Donada!”