The 5th Wind of Peace 2019, “World Youth Peace Pilgrimage to DMZ” organized by the National Reconciliation Committee Archdiocese of Seoul was held on August 16-22, 2019 with the theme;“Think together, share together and walk together for peace!” It was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Ministry of Unification of South Korea. The participants were 100 members (including 42 from Korea, 22 from abroad and staffs).
Walking along the route of DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) in South Korea such as; Goseong, Gangwon Province- Yeoncheon, Province) was an incredible experienced. I was emotional and painful to see the sites of the boundary which is divided by barred wire fence and we were accompanied by soldiers. Highly military guarded. Although I have heard of their war and separation between the North and the South, now seeing with my own eyes and going through its museum is really fresh touching and painful. I could feel their pain and enter into their shoes especially of those families separated by war and never meet again.
I realized that the South Korea by organizing such an event by involving the international youth itself is a huge message that they want to communicate to the world how important the peace is. Their quest for peace is immensely paramount. Building friendship despite our differences is very important and a need. I am deeply impressed. How I wish that the world leaders would hear the cry of their brothers and sisters and work for peace and harmony in the world. I hope that “The Wind of peace’ will be a ‘Wind of Change’ first of all our own hearts and especially in Korean Peninsula.
The thought which came to my mind as I walked along was the famous philosophy of M.K Gandhi of “Nonviolence.” To attend peace not through violence and retaliation but instead through peaceful means. “Nonviolence aims at winning the enemy through love and patients.” “The nonviolent resistor not only refuses to shoot the his opponent, but he refuses to hate him.” This is exactly what we want to do.
The phrase “not with blows, but with goodness and kindness” from the 9 year dream of our father and Founder St. John Bosco resounds in my ear and heart. In a "dream," John found himself fighting a large crowcrowd of rowdy lads who were cursing and carrying on abominably. He tried to stop them, but they refused to listen to him. Suddenly, a Man appeared, who motioned to John and said, "Not with blows will you help these boys, but with goodness and kindness!“
It was an amazing experienced though it was a mixed feeling. A feeling of pain to see the nation divided however, walking through the beautiful nature which is preserved because of DMZ created gives me the pleasantness, peace and joy. The beautiful and quite nature sites itself speak volumes of the tranquility and harmony.
The sharing of the two North Koreans was very touching. They are indeed crying for freedom and liberty. They are being denied of freedom of speech, living and even basic needs and freedom. It’s a pathetic condition that they are living. I pray and hope that the leaders of the North and the South will hear the cry of their people and really work towards bring unification on Korean Peninsula.
Peace to me is that it has to begin it ones mind and heart. Its like a ripple which begin in a micro level from within self to a family, friends, neighbors and than to a larger community and society and the whole world at large. May we shun any form of violence in our day to day life and work towards for peace and harmony in the world where we live as one family as brothers and sisters no matter our differences. Let our differences be our richness and beauty. This pilgrimage is a wake up call to each and everyone of us to be builders of peace and harmony in the world today.
By Sr. Agnes Gangmei, FMA
Missionary in Mongolia.