[Kyunghyang Shinmun Daily Newspaper (17 November 2016)]
Professor LEE WONYOUNG says “Let’s make an international organization
of religious communities to monitor the NPPs in the world”
On June 2011, immediately after the explosion of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Dr. LEE WONYOUNG, professor of Suwon University (Department of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development) went to Germany to witness the very center of the international No-Nukes movement. During his visit of the city on the way to nuclear free society, a grand cathedral caught his eyes, leading him to think how good and effective it will be if the Vatican joins in this movement towards the nuclear free world.
Returning from Germany, he founded “Professors’ Association for No-Nukes” and played a leading role in the movement toward nuclear free society in South Korea. In the process, he encountered many questions and eventually he found the answers to those questions. But, there is always one question that cannot be solved in his mind: “What if the explosion of a nuclear power plant happens in China even though our society is nuclear free?” With time passing the blueprint for solving that question was made, and he showed it when I met him on 17 December 2016.
“None of 446 nuclear power plants all over the world is absolutely safe from earthquakes and terrorist attacks. UN has been helpless in that matter. The power of environmental organization and citizens’ association is different from country to country. Thus, a new international organization to intervene in each government’s way is required. The power from the religious world can give an answer. Global religious communities, united together, should watch and control the nuclear power plants until we reach the nuclear free world.”
Professor LEE will go on a pilgrimage on Buddha’s Birthday, 3 May 2017, for the establishment of a new international organization. This project is named as the ‘New Silk Road for Life and No-Nukes.’ Professor LEE planned it and took charge of its preparation. For two years, with various religious communities and those who desire nuclear free society he will walk to the Vatican through Japan and India. They will cross over the sea by ship or plane. The distance they will go on foot reaches to 11,000 km. Their pilgrimage will end on the Easter, 21 April 2019. On the pilgrimage, they will discuss about the dignity of life and nuclear free society and mourn for those who has been killed by the accidents of nuclear power plants with all the citizens of the world whom they meet on the roads of pilgrimage. They also plan to perform a ritual in the places of life destruction.
The highlight of this pilgrimage lies in the meetings of religious leaders. The pilgrims will have an interview with Dalai-Lama in Dharamsala, India as well as with Papa Francisco in the Vatican. They will also contact some religious leaders of Islamic countries. They will deliver the message that No-Nukes society must be reached and require them of participating in the establishment of international organization for the nuclear free world. Professor LEE said, “whether you believe in Jesus Christ or Buddha, you share the value of respect for life and recognition of the danger of nuclear power.”
What does religion mean for Professor LEE, a Buddhist? “Religion should basically function as a vessel to put in people’s desire. That’s why religion cannot but be most sensitive to the security of life and set out most actively to solve this problem,” he said.
However, by now it is questionable as to the possibility of founding an international organization with religious communities as leaders. With this question in mind, the preparation team for the pilgrimage is now drawing up the “Universal Charter of Life,” which declares to the world the principle that nuclear power plants are incompatible with life. It will be officially declared on the starting day of the pilgrimage after the international conference to draft the Charter in April 2017 in Seoul. The pilgrims will deliver the Charter to religious leaders they meet on their way to the Vatican.
The planning of this project, in some sense, was possible due to his being ousted from professorship at Suwon University. Professor LEE is one of the professors who were dismissed for their criticism of the president and the university foundation in suspicion of violating the private educational institution law. Since 2014, he walked 1,500 km crying for ‘nuclear-free society.’ During this time, the framework of this project has been made. Even though the highest court gave a decision that his dismissal should be nullified, he is still outside of the university since the university denied his reemployment. He said, “the encouragement from religious communities has inspired me to further efforts during my absence from school.” Thus, he thought, “All right! Let’s walk to the Vatican and, on the way, let’s meet with religious leaders as many as possible to persuade them to take a step forward for making the nuclear-free world.
Professor LEE is forming the ‘100 person-committee for the New Silk Road’ and is now informing people of this project through the internet cafe (http://cafe.daum.net/earthlifesilkroad). Soon, he will open the English and Korean websites to communicate with prospect pilgrims at home and abroad and stream on-line every step of the pilgrims’ movements. The preparatory committee for the New Silk Road for Life and No-Nukes will officially launch on 2 pm, 21 December 2016 at the Korean Press Center in Seoul.
Original Article>> http://news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?art_id=201611172111005
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