Thursday, August 04, 2005

Korea Blogger on Hunger Strike

A few weeks ago I noticed that Christian's CINA blog had stopped being updated, which is rather strange behaviour because he normally updates it compulsively.

For the last few years, Christian has been, if you will, something of a pedestrian activist-reporter photographing and reporting on events that normally miss the mainstream in Korea's media, and even much of its independent media.

I always looking forward to reading his street level posts on topics ranging from the efforts of street vendors poor urban dwellers to resist displacement, nurses strikes, struggles by the disabled for safe and accessible public spaces, not to mention the migrant worker's struggle, which his has covered in more detail than anyone.

Albeit, Christian's english in his reports is often affected, partially because of his own peculiar brand of grassroots political ideology, and the fact that he is not a native speaker of english. Christian hails from Germany, and seems equally disillusioned with both german socialism and capitalism, making him something of an eccentric and his opinions a bit wild at times, but under it all, he has a genuine concern for documenting and assisting organized struggles against the social causes of human suffering, so much that it may sometimes cause him to neglect his personal life.

Which perhaps is what led to his recent arrest and detention. It seems Christian long ago let his immigration status lapse, mostly because he had run out of money covering protests in South Korea and was most likely afaid that if he left he would not be allowed back in. Inevitably, he was detained by police.

The following is a statement in English and Korean, dated today, documenting conditions in the migrant detention center where Christian is being held, and announcing that he is going on a hunger strike in the hope of improving conditions in the detention center. I hope it works.

Official Statement - 일인 단식 투쟁

Today, Thursday, August 4, 2005, it is exactly 4 weeks ago, that the National Human Right Commission (국가인권위원회, NHRC) was inspecting Mokdong Immigration Detention Center(*).

HNRC, of course, found a lot of violations of human rights here. The main complaints, made by inmates here:

- The entire space here, inclusive the common room, where the inmates spend there "leisure" time and have their fool, and floor between the cells, is permanent overcrowded. Detains call this "like chicken in cages" and "dead fishes in cans"

- The food is "more for pigs" - so many detains here. Even though since about two weeks some small things are changed, till now many detains get only rice and water soup, with small fragmants of vegetables.

- Fresh vegetables or fruits - never the detains, even the people, who have to spend mouths here, get.

- The sleeping places also are totally overcrowded (18 peoples or 16 peoples? is common), noisy, hard and extreme dirty.

Even though yesterday the blankets were taken to clean/wash, because of the daily change of detaines - most of them are arrested on their workplaces, without to get a chance for to take a shower - it should be done at least all 2 weeks, instead of once a year, or all two months, or so.

- The long term detains saw since their arrests no heaven, could not breath fresh air. There is no exercise possible here, so the detainment here, for example, is very harmful for the muscles.

- Until now the detains get no information about their rights here (some detaines, when they come here, even don't know, where they are).

- Since July 19 the inmates of cell №3 demanded their right of at least alternative breakfast. Instead of rice and water soup milk, bread and eggs. But the authorities here, now the 9th day are refusing to met this demand.

- And so on, and so oh...

Because of this terrible situation I have decided to go from today, August 4 2005 in a UNLIMITED HUNGER STRIKE until the immigration authorities solving this problems successfully.

Christian Karl

Mokdong Immigration Detention Center

* today it has been exactly 5 weeks that I have been detained here

공식성명 - 일인 단식 투쟁

오늘은 2005년 8월 4일입니다. 정확히 4주전 국가인권위원회는 목동 출입국 억류센터(*)를 조사했습니다.

국가인권위원회는 물론 여기서 많은 인권침해를 발견했습니다. 여기에 수감된 사람들의 주요 불만은 다음과 같습니다.

-여기의 전체 공간은 수감자들이 “여가”시간을 보내는 각 방들 사이에 있는 층별 휴게실이 계속 사람들로 꽉차 있다는 것입니다. 수감된 사람들은 이것을 “닭장 같다” 또는 “깡통에 죽은 물고기들”이라고 부릅니다.

-식품은 “돼지”를 위한 것-그리고 많은 억류자들도 그렇게 생각합니다. 심지어 2주전에 작은 변화가 있기는 했지만 지금까지 많은 억류자들은 단지 적은 야채 조각들에 밥과 멀건 국만을 받고 있습니다.

-신선한 야채와 과일은 한번도 몇 달 동안 갖혀 있는 동안 먹어보지를 못했습니다.

-잠자는 곳 또한 전체적으로 꽉차있고(18명에서 16명은 보통입니다), 시끄러우며, 불편하고 대단히 지저분합니다.

심지어 어제 담요를 빨기 위해 걷어갔습니다. 왜냐하면 매일 억류자들이 바뀌기 때문이고 대부분은 그들 공장에서 체포되기 때문에 샤워를 할 수 있는 기회가 없기 때문입니다. 1년에 한번, 2달에 한번 대신 2주 마다 한번씩 (뭘?) 할 수 있도록 보장되어야 합니다.

-장기간의 억류기간동안 신선한 공기를 마실 수 없습니다. 여기서는 운동도 할 수 없고 예를 들어 여기에 있는 억류는 근육에서 대단히 해롭습니다.

-지금까지 억류자들은 여기에서의 권리에 대해 아무런 정보도 얻지 못했습니다(일부 억류자들은 여기에 왔을때 그들이 어디에 있는지 조차 알지 못했습니다.)

-7월 19일 이후 3번 방 수감자들은 적어도 아침식사를 바꾸어 달라는 그들의 권리를 요구했습니다. 밥과 멀건 죽 대신에 빵과 달걀을 달라고 했으나 당국은 9일째 그들의 요구를 들어주기를 거부하고 있습니다.

-기타 등등

이런 끔찍한 상황 때문에 당국에서 이 문제를 성공적으로 해결할 때까지 오늘 2005년 8월 4일부터 무기한 단식투쟁을 진행하기로 마음먹었습니다.

2005년 8월 4일

크리스티앙 칼

목동 억류센터에서

* 오늘은 정확히 내가 여기에 억류된 지 5주째가 됩니다.


  1. I'd like to express my support and solidarity for Christian who has obviously been very important to the migrant workers' movement in Korea. I hope he is now getting good advice and solidarity from his comrades in the movement there. A hunger strike is a very major step to be taking, I can wish him the best of luck and hope he comes through this with his health intact.

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