Women from the Philippines, Japan and Korea attended a Global Women Leadership Exchange in Korea. They forged strong bonds through their shared expereince as women, and realized their collective efforts can make significant impact in healing conflicts in their region, especially the division of the Korean peninsula.
Below is a reflection from Filipina participant Attorney Rita Linda V. Jimeno.
This trip has actually been my third trip to Seoul, Korea. In my earlier two trips, I came just like any other tourist—did nothing except enjoy the sights, the shopping, and the good food. I have, of course, been reading about the periodic threats to peace in this region because of the nuclear tests being done periodically by North Korea but, like most other people, I did not think the problem was close enough to home for me to be concerned about. I did not realize back then that there are serious undercurrents that threaten the peace not only in this beautiful progressive land but in the entire Asian region and potentially, the world.
In this trip, I was jolted into many realizations. The most insightful and memorable for me was our trip to DMZ where, from a distance, we could see North Korea and imagine the pain, the poverty, and the suffering of the millions of people living there. I still clearly see in my mind the kilometer upon kilometer of barbed wires installed along the borders of South Korea to protect its territory from another invasion. As we listened to brief lectures at the DMZ, I remembered Dr. In Teck Seo’s words in the opening ceremony of this conference. He said: Korea is now the only divided country in the world and, because the division of the Korean peninsula was the product of international struggle after World War 2, Korea remains to be the conflict zone for superpowers in the world.
Indeed, Mr. In Teck Seo was absolutely correct when he said that Korea’s destiny is necessarily connected to the world’s destiny. Korea’s problem is everyone’s concern because history tells us that World War 1 and World War 2 happened because the world’s superpowers have taken sides and involved themselves in what started out as seemingly insignificant battles that happened in certain parts of the globe. If war breaks out yet again in Korea, we can all be sure that all the superpowers and their respective allies will again take sides and join the war. But this is an event we—the peoples of the world -- cannot allow because a nuclear war can eliminate populations and peoples in just hours or even minutes. The Philippines has much reason to be concerned about this threat because it is not too far from Korea. For that matter, the entire of Asia is virtually close enough to Korea if nuclear war were to break out.
It is not too late to move the world to promote peace and bring about the unification of the two Koreas to avert another world war.
But I realized in this conference too that it is not too late to move the world to promote peace and bring about the unification of the two Koreas to avert another world war. Dr. In Teck Seo believes that music, being a universal language can deliver messages of peace to open people’s minds and hearts that Korea—being linked with, and necessarily connected to, the world’s destiny—must be unified into one Korea.
Every woman—daughter, sister, mother and grandmother -- can make a difference in her own way by producing children who will be good global citizens and who will involve themselves in promoting world peace.
But the speech given by Dr. Nona Ricafort has suggested a way forward too. She said that education, peace, and parenting are so intertwined that if parents raise children who have learned the proper values, compassion and principles, they will become good global citizens. The youth will grow up guided by the tenets of truth, justice, freedom and the rule of law. This tells us that every woman—daughter, sister, mother and grandmother -- can make a difference in her own way by producing children who will be good global citizens and who will involve themselves in promoting world peace.
Ms. Keiko Kobayashi’s movie, Jun-Ai which means, unconditional love, has shown a way forward too. The movie’s essence is that love can overcome hate. Even races that used to be at war can learn to love each other for, after all, we are all children of one God and one Divine Providence.
Finally, as a lawyer and a newspaper columnist, I believe I can help promote the campaign for the two Koreas’ unification by writing articles about why Korea must be one. Those of us who are good in the use of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, tweeter, etc., must join in the campaign for the unification of Korea because this will bring us to the ultimate goal of world peace. With our joint efforts we can eventually build a universal consensus and public opinion strong enough to move not only North Korea but even the superpowers of the world to help achieve unification of the two Koreas.
How can this lofty and seemingly idealistic dream come true? We must remember, small drops of water continuously falling on a hard rock can eventually create a hole and even erode a rock. A smile sincerely given can melt an angry heart. As we have seen in Jun Ai, little good deeds done consistently and tirelessly can change a community, a society and even the world.
We must remember, small drops of water continuously falling on a hard rock can eventually create a hole and even erode a rock.
In our own little ways as women leaders, we can begin building a consensus and world public opinion that real and lasting peace is reachable and that a world like one family under one God is possible. Thank you to the sponsors and organizers of this conference. Kamsamnida!
Read Attorney Rita Linda V. Jimeno's recent post, "World Peace and Korea" published in her column in the Manila Standard.